A Gift For Dying By M.J Arlidge – A Review

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication Date: 7th March 2019

I have to be honest and say that I hadn’t read any M.J Arlidge books until A Gift For Dying came into my life. When I posted an image of the book on social media it quickly became apparent that he has a lot of fans! Mostly down to his series of books involving DI Helen Grace.

This standalone thriller tells the story of teenager Kassie who has the intrusive and dubious ‘gift’ of being able to see how and when a person will die by looking directly into their eyes. When she bumps into a man on the street one day and looks at him as he helps her up off the floor, she sees and feels his imminent gruesome death at the hands of a serial killer.

When this man’s death does indeed pan out the way Kassie predicted she initially becomes a suspect and is referred to psychologist Adam.

She explains to him the background of her gift and how it works. How her mother refuses to accept it or speak about it and how she struggles to come to terms with it.

Initially Adam treats Kassie as he would any of his other patients until he becomes embroiled in Kassie’s life and becomes a little to close to her gift.

When more and more people begin to suffer at the hands of the evil serial killer, people Kassie accurately predicts the murders of, Adam has to question what’s right and wrong and has his patient boundaries well and truly tested.

Told via the various view points of Kassie, Detective Gabrielle Owen working on the case and the serial killer himself this is a fast paced, punch you in the stomach kind of thriller that I love.

The many threads of relationships are expertly woven by the author and characterisation is on point. I don’t usually like to read a teenage girls viewpoint on anything but Kassie is such a troubled and complex character and she really worked her way under my skin. She’s isolated in her gift, reliant on drugs to keep her on as even a keel as possible, struggling at school and experiencing a difficult relationship with her mother.

Adam has his own family issues and heartbreaks to deal with which in turn make him extremely vulnerable and prone to make some very questionable decisions where Kassie is concerned.

I always love a thriller which shows you the perspective of a killer. A faceless, nameless person who infiltrates people’s lives in the most brutal of ways. Is it weird that I found myself hoping for a serial killer chapter because I enjoyed getting inside his mindset so much?…..who knows!

What I do know for sure is that this book, (even though it’s a stonking 400+ pages), is so deliciously fast paced and heart stoppingly good that it held me captive.

There were various points in this book where I became the human version of the hands around face, wide open mouth of shock emoji. I love it when I’m taken by surprise! When you literally let out a noise and want to immediately discuss what you’re reading with someone!

I will say that some of the murder scenes are very graphic and gory. If torture and pain are not your bag (hey, no judgement!), then I’d maybe give this one a swerve……or just read it through your fingers!

I think having read A Gift For Dying I will most definitely have to pick up some more of M.J Arlidge’s work. I really enjoyed his writing style and would heartily recommend this standalone to all thriller efficianado’s.

Thank you to the publisher and Tracy Fenton for having me on the blog tour.

See you soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat. Xxx

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