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Although I generally am found reading chick lit, I occasionally enjoy a bit of heart thumping suspense and who better to turn to than one of my favourite authors, Joy Fielding? She is an American writer who I first discovered about twenty years ago and her books have kept me on the edge of my seat with my heart in my mouth ever since!
Still Life is the latest book og hers that I have read and I really enjoyed it and yet again the suspense was brilliant. It is also an unusual story and I found the story line fascinating. At the beginning of the book we meet Casey Marshall who seems to have it all. She is rich, beautiful and has both a successful business and a doting husband. However, after having lunch with her two best friends one day, she is mown down by a car driving at fifty miles an hour. Lucky to be alive, she ends up in hospital in what appears to be a deep coma. What nobody realises though is that although Casey does not seem to be responding to anything she is actually able to hear everything that is going on and this makes her privy to some quite startling conversations.
When Casey first starts hearing things she is extremely disorientated and does not know what has happened to her. It is only by piecing together the snippets of conversation that she hears, that she is able to work out what has happened. She is shocked by the accident that has befallen her but even more shocked when she overhears the detective working on the case telling her husband, Warren, that the police do not believe that what happened was an accident. Even worse is when she overhears her would be killer discussing what went wrong. She realises that it is only a matter of time before another attempt will be made on her life, and therefore she needs to try everything in her power to regain consciousness before it is too late.
I found this book totally compelling from the very start and I could hardly bear to put it down as I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. My heart was often in my mouth when I was reading because the way that Joy Fielding builds up the suspense is so good. I thought it was particularly clever that all of the action took place beside Casey's hospital bed and later in her bedroom at her home. Everything is pieced together through the conversations that Casey hears so you never know what is going on elsewhere.
The reader also only finds out who is the perpetrator the same time as Casey and is probably as shocked as she is. Also, not knowing what is going on outside the room adds to the fear and supense that something might happen at any minute. The story definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and also kept me guessing. Even though Casey is probably the most inert character that I have read about, she does make a great central character as the reader really does get inside her head. Also, she does have a few flashbacks which help to understand what her life is and was like previously.
If you have not read any of Joy Fielding's books before, I would definitely recommend them and Still Life would be a very good one to start wit,. The paperback is currently available on Amazon for £5.59 (February 2011).