For those of you who read my blog regularly you’ll already know that I am a huge Tammy Cohen fan and it is only due to unforeseen circumstances that this review wasn’t posted prior to publication of her latest psychological thriller They All Fall Down on 13 July 2017. The good news is that if you want to read this in eBook format it is currently at the exceptionally low price of 99p.
The setting of this latest novel is in a private psychiatric clinic and right from the off there is a feeling that Hannah isn’t there of her own volition, but quite why and what happened before is left in the shadows. This isn’t the only mystery though, two women have died at the small clinic and Hannah is worried that they weren’t the suicides that everyone presumes. The problem is Hannah clearly has problems and she’s not being taken seriously by anyone, least of all her husband Danny who is becoming increasingly frustrated with what he thinks is her continued paranoia.
Once again Tammy Cohen has the pace absolutely nailed down. Now I’m somewhat a connoisseur of psychological thrillers, I know the wily tricks authors play to keep the facts hidden in order to ensure their twists give the maximum punch to the guts, and I confess this knowledge has tarnished the more amateur examples, but in this instance, there were enough clues given so that any twist felt far less artificial. Our main narrator, Hannah, by the very fact of her setting can be considered to be unreliable but we have other narrators including her fabulous mother Corrine. Corrine is so desperate to help her daughter no matter what she has done but she is also a realist who isn’t going to blindly go charging in without testing some of her daughter’s theories, so she turns detective. As always with this author all of the characters are carefully drawn, one where each time we meet them we learn a little bit more, sometimes coming to a different conclusion. This is particularly difficult with some of the issues Hannah’s fellow patients suffer from and I have to confess while racing through the book, I was also just like Hannah trying to leave the confines of the claustrophobic clinic.
If twists and turns enhanced by the fabulous pace aren’t enough to tempt you to read this, I must also mention the dialogue which is absolutely pitch perfect. With so many of the interactions between the characters betraying something which is key to the storyline, particularly those between the doctors and patients – those group meetings rang so true and at times the words on the page cut deep and I winced as the subjects battled both internal and external demons.
One of my issues with some books in this genre is the reliance on twists which is now the selling point rather than the original notion which was to explore the psyche, to my delight They All Fall Down manages both, we have the time to reflect on actions of the characters, and how their emotions can lead to them acting in the way that they do, but we also have some brilliant twists which in this case weren’t the ones I was expecting at all.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Black Swan who kindly sent me an ARC of They All Fall Down, and to Tammy Cohen for writing this brilliant novel.
First Published UK: 13 July 2017
Publisher: Black Swan
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Books By Tammy Cohen – aka Tamar Cohen
Writing Historical Fiction as Rachel Rhys
A Dangerous Crossing (2017)