Dying For Christmas - Tammy Cohen

Jessica is kidnapped on Christmas Eve and her capture wants to spend the twelve days of Christmas with her, gifting her something every day, each gift worse than the last. He has his secrets, but so does Jessica, and he has no idea who he's dealing with.


Straight away it's clear what we're dealing with, our main character has been abducted and she is trying to tell us the tragedy she has endured under the hands of her kidnapper. Most thrillers don't start by telling you what has already happened and where we will end up, so this change of pace was exciting, I was looking forward to seeing how Jessica gets into this state. Despite this, I never warmed to Jessica. She reminded me of Alison in Blood Orange, we are meant to root for her and connect with her thought process but it was a struggle to get there with her. Her decisions didn't follow a straight-forward process and often confused me, which left me a bit bewildered.


Now, there are spoilers ahead because it will be difficult to discuss this without revealing some parts of the twist.


Usually I am the biggest fan in the world of unreliable narrators, they are often the biggest twist you could expect as we always trust the narrative to be true. This however, fell a bit flat. I got to about 60% of the way through this novel and thought "this definitely is going to be a case of unreliable narration" and low and behold, it was. Like I say, I usually love this kind of twist but I wasn't shocked by it this time round. Jessica's recollection of the events were brash and brutal and a touch unbelievable and instead of making me think "how could he!" I was thinking "how could he?" which planted the seed of doubt in my mind.


The idea of the twelve gifts was probably the most interesting aspect, I was looking forward to seeing what each one would be and what they would reveal about the kidnapper. As the story progressed it became the only thing I was holding on for and when they stopped I lost interest in the rest of the novel other than to find out why the whole situation started. It was good whilst it lastest but I wasn't blown away by the conclusion and I don't think 'Dying for Christmas' will stick in my head as a great read of the year.


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