Friday, July 20, 2012

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

One Breath Away follows a hostage situation at a school. Well, maybe. There's at least one man with a gun. Or is it a knife? And what does he want? It's hard to say, because no one really knows. What we do know, is that there is a man (at least one), in the school taking people hostage.

The whole point of the book is that as each different character tries to figure out who the mysterious gunman is, we learn more about the gunman. There is a whole host of characters in this book, from Meg (the police officer) to Holly and her kids Augie and P.J, the reader is treated to a bunch of varying voices.

And even though each character sees a different part of the story, the author has managed to keep the identity of the criminal a secret till the end. Each character narrates the story for a short while, and what they know is very limited. As the reader, I probably had the "birds-eye view" of the whole story, but I was still missing some crucial information (because no one know that). I did, however, manage to guess who the ciminal was correctly, although that may be because I've been doing the Merely Mystery Reading Challenge and hence, have been reading too many mystery stories lately.

While the plot was strong, what really shone were the characters. All of them spoke in a different voice, and by the end of the book, I'd come to love all of them. That didn't mean that I wasn't intensely annoyed with some of them though.

At the start of the book, I really didn't think much of Holly and Augie. Holly just sounded like an ungrateful daughter, who was aware that she was acting like a brat (and she's the mom!). But that may be because I also had the perspective of Will (Holly' father), so I knew that things weren't as bad as she made it seem. And Augie, well, like mother like daughter. She was equally stubborn and way too sensitive for her own good. But her love towards her brother was so strong it won me over in the end.

In conclusion, this is an excellent book. You should read it if you have the chance :D

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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