A Gift for Dying by M J Arlidge | Blog Tour Review |#AGiftForDying

Published by Penguin
Available in ebook, hardback & paperback (7 March 2019)
480 pages
Source: Review copy provided by publisher

About the Book

The gripping new thriller from M. J. Arlidge, Sunday Times bestselling author of the Helen Grace series.

Adam Brandt is a forensic psychologist, well used to dealing with the most damaged members of society.

But he’s never met anyone like Kassie.

The teenager claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Obviously, Adam knows Kassie must be insane. But then a serial killer hits the city. And only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn’t realise how deadly his faith might prove…

My Thoughts

This is my first read of a book by this author, despite collecting some of the Helen Grace series and what a fantastic book to start with and even better, it’s a standalone.

Kassie Wojcek is a teenager with a gift – or a curse, whichever way you want to look at it.  She can look into someone’s eyes and see their death – how and when.  These premonitions bring her into contact with psychologist Adam Brandt when she is held by detectives after an encounter with someone in the street.  Kassie is no stranger to the police having a string of offences to her name including theft, assault and drug use but Adam feels a connection to the troubled girl and decides to try and help her. He is not really convinced by her claims but he wants to find out more and in trying to counsel her, he finds himself caught up in events of which he could never have imagined. 

Meanwhile a serial killer is stalking and picking his victims from the streets of Chicago, torturing and killing them in the most terrifying and gruesome of ways.

A Gift for Dying was one of those books that I didn’t want to put down.  My proof copy was 470 pages but it has short snappy chapters which just beg you to read on for just a bit longer …..and despite the graphic detail of some of the murders (which did make me wince a bit) I was addicted to it and desperate to find out what happened next.

Of Polish origin, Kassie lived with her mother, in a run-down part of town. She skipped school, took drugs and had an attitude but nevertheless there was something vulnerable and engaging about her and I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her, even if at times my cynical head wondered if she was actually involved in the crimes somehow. I think it was her loneliness that affected me the most, she had had no one to turn to, her mother didn’t really care and had washed her hands of her because of her truancy and drug taking. She struggled to cope with the burden of the visions and wanted to help although quite often that help was misinterpreted as something else.

The story is told from various points of view including Kassie, Adam, the detective and the killer, to give a complete picture and character insight. The detective in charge, Gabrielle Grey seemed to be rather out of her depth here and was facing an uphill battle to find the killer before another victim was claimed. I did think she was too blinkered at times however this all adds to the cat and mouse suspense of the story. When I got to the last 30 pages or so, there was absolutely no way I was going to put this book down – and that ending was just incredible – a real fingernail biter of a climax.

If you like your crime dark, then this fast paced, graphic killer thriller should hit the spot.  I thought it was great and certainly want to read more by M J Arlidge.  I suppose I should start by hunting out those Helen Grace novels…..

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the tour.

About the Author

M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years, specializing in high-end drama production, including the prime-time crime serials Torn, The Little House and Silent Witness. Arlidge also pilots original crime series for both UK and US networks. In 2015 his audio exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a Number One bestseller.

His first thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek, Love Me Not, and Down to the Woods.

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