Book Review: Catch Me When I Fall by Nicci French

Happily married Holly Krauss is a dynamo of nervous energy as she runs a successful business and juggles the responsibilities of daily life. On the surface she appears to have it all but beneath the bubbly façade is a darker figure, an uninhibited woman who indulges her reckless side. Holly’s life starts a rapid downward spiral after a wild evening resulted in a meaningless one night stand with Rees, a sadistic stranger who kept certain “mementos” of their tryst.

Holly continues creating serious enemies as she unceremoniously fires one of her employees, insults clients and after yet another disastrous night of over-the-top behavior, looses a small fortune in a poker game. She doesn’t have the resources to repay her mounting debt to the loan shark, Rees and one of her clients is stalking her and the dismissed employee is looking to sue Holly’s company. She proceeds to alienate Meg, her best friend and business partner and begins to suspect her husband is having an affair. A brutal confrontation not only puts Holly into the hospital overnight but eventually triggers a complete mental lapse which results in her finally being diagnosed as bipolar. Is it any wonder she attempts suicide?

Her unsuccessful suicide provides a much needed wakeup call which prompts Holly to attempt rebuilding what remains of her life. Deeply in debt, plagued with doubt and desperate to reestablish trust with her husband, Holly is blindsided when the worst happens. It will be up to Meg to sort through the mess and maybe, just maybe prevent a terrible crime.

This suspense thriller is straightforward although the reader can’t help but figure out Holly’s problem from early in the book. Pacing is generally even with low key tension ever present in the background. Key protagonists aren’t particularly warm as they maintain emotional distance from themselves nearly as much as each other. Rees’s motive to further degrade Holly is questionable as blackmail is quickly ruled out and his character isn’t developed to enough speculate further. The ending is satisfying though predictable and while not French’s best work, overall this is an enjoyable read.

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