**4 Goodreads Stars**
When I read the synopsis for Dylan Young’s Before She Falls, I was intrigued. This book is one of the several books I’ve read this past year that examines how social media can be unleashed for evil. The books that come to mind include Britney King’s The Replacement Wife and The Social Affair, Nick Clark Windo’s The Feed, Laura Marshall’s Friend Request, AV Geiger’s Follow Me Back, and Kathleen Barber’s Are You Sleeping. Given these times, I do often wonder what would happen if social media and the internet ceased to exist.
How would we learn to communicate with each other again? Would we be better off?
Dylan Young’s Before She Falls makes me believe that yes, we might be better off without social media. It involves the deaths of mostly young people that appear to be inspired by a social media challenge called the “Black Squid.” The Black Squid challenge specifically targets people who are depressed, lonely, isolated, and experiencing suicidal ideations. The challenge helps accentuate these feelings, encouraging participants to commit suicide. As the book describes,
“This was the destruction of a human being from a distance. A sick and twisted game with death as the prize.”
I appreciated the author’s knowledge of the entire forensics process. As someone who has a tad bit of knowledge in this area (such as how to identify human remains), I could tell the author knew what he was writing about. I also liked that the author paid close attention to character development. This story was not merely about a crime, but also the people who were trying to solve it. Anna, the lead detective in the story, had an interesting and intriguing back story that intersected with the case she was trying to solve.
Overall, this is a really strong read that made me think twice about the “power” of social media. Thank you to Bookouture, Dylan Young, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Before She Falls!
Kimberley was a beautiful young girl with the world at her feet.
Before she fell.
Before she was gone.
When Kimberley Williams jumps off Southerndown Cliff, her family and the close-knit community are shocked. What would make her take her own life when she had so much of it left to live?
Detective Anna Gwynne is assigned to the case after it becomes clear that someone made Kimberley jump. Someone had been sending Kimberley messages, saying they would tell everyone her secret…
Then Anna realises there are others, all being sent the same messages, all with their lives at risk. To find the truth she will have to confront her own past, the lies she’s told about her childhood and the demons hidden there…
Can she save these innocent lives?
What is the secret they’re all dying for?
An absolutely gripping thriller that will hook you from beginning to end. If you love Val McDermid, Angela Marsons and Robert Dugoni, you won’t be able to put down Before She Falls.
Dylan Young grew up in a mining village in South Wales before boarding a train for university in London. A career in the NHS followed, but the urge to write never went away. Three dark psychological thrillers for Random House emerged in the late nineties, two of which were made into BBC films. Over the last decade, under different pseudonyms, he’s written children’s books and an adult contemporary fantasy series. But his liking for crime (writing) never died. Book 1 in the Detective Anne Gwynne crime thriller series, The Silent Girls, and Book 2, Blood Runs Cold, are available now.
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