If She Dies
by Erik Therme
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter
was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two
years in prison. It didn't make Tess’s pain go away.
Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she's been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.
When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.
Or so she believes.
I slouch further into the driver’s seat as Eve exits her apartment complex across the street. Today, she’s wearing jean shorts, sandals, and a blue tank top; blonde hair pulled into a crooked ponytail, her electric-pink backpack secured firmly over both shoulders. Eve turned twelve a few weeks ago, and since that day, she walks the six blocks to and from Chandler Middle School alone. She’s a few minutes later today than yesterday, but last Friday she was so early I almost missed her leaving. That won’t happen again.
Eve stops just outside the complex doors and tilts her head upward. Her mother, Meg, is raining down an angry stream of words from the screen-less window one story above. I can’t make out what’s being said, but I do manage to catch a single word riding the mild May breeze: ungrateful. There was clearly an argument this morning, maybe about laundry that wasn’t folded, or unfinished homework, or a dishwasher that wasn’t unloaded, or one of a thousand other things a mother raising a twelve-year-old daughter alone can stress over.
But Eve is a trooper.
She patiently listens to every word with her head raised, not talking back, not crossing her arms, not reflecting her mother’s anger. I think to myself: what if today’s the day? What if something unthinkable happens to Eve this very morning and she’s never seen again? What would Meg do with that guilt? How would she live with herself, knowing her final words to her daughter were angry and bitter over something trivial and inconsequential?
My review: She watches the 12-year-old girl as she leaves the apartment and heads to school. She can’t take her eyes off her. She can’t help but wonder what if…she dies.
It’s not right that someone else gets to keep their daughter, while Tess Parker doesn’t. Someone has to right this wrong.
Written in a compelling diary narrative, story is of a woman still grieving over the loss of her daughter’s death and is a crumpled soul locked in a shell of her former self. The girl she follows around belongs to the man that killed her daughter. Intrigue.
Overall, Tess summarizes the odds and ends of her drab daily living while keeping tabs on the girl. Slow and easy, story settles into a low-grade monotony. It deals mostly with her grief, loss, and minute desire to get back to her life. The reader’s curiosity is once again piqued with the stranger letters she gets and the vandalization of her daughter’s tombstone. Still, I thought it be more exciting. The writing is good and it’s a nice story with mild suspense.
My rating: 3 stars
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Therme will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn
winner via rafflecopter during the tour.