Before I Wake by Steven Spruill

Pros: decent enough storyline

Cons: but a dull subplot and unlikeable characters

Some good. Some bad. That’s my quickie review of Before I Wake by Steven Spruill.

Meet Amy – she’s the head of Emergency at a big hospital. She’s got a big problem on her hands. Some men are dying of heart attacks, men who shouldn’t be dead. Otherwise healthy men with low risk factors. So why are they dying? And why are the deaths happening to men who are all similar in terms of career, height, and eye color. Worse of all, Amy’s own father fits the profile to a T.

On top of that, Amy’s having the same nightmare over and over – it relates to some repressed trauma from when she was a kid, but she just can’t remember what it was. And yet, as bodies start piling up, she’s convinced that the key to all of this lies in those long-forgotten memories.

So, the storyline is decent. There’s enough mystery to keep readers guessing. And a host of potential suspects.

But there were also flaws.

First, there was the character of Amy. I disliked her, for several reasons. First, she makes some really dumb moves, taking some really dumb chances – things that per her and her loved ones into unnecessary danger.   Secondly, there’s a romance angle tossed into the book, that I really hated. Put simply: Amy hops into bed with someone way too quickly for my taste, and without really considering the consequences.

Then there was a subplot about a stolen statue that I found completely ridiculous. It was dull, not needed, and should have ended up on the editor’s floor.

There was another subplot about the financial problems of the ER and the possibility of its closing. Though not related to the main story, I did find this tangent interesting.

Lastly, the “big reveal” at the end was more like a puff than a bang. When you get right down to it, the motivation behind the bad guy’s actions was ridiculous. I just didn’t buy it. I don’t accept he would have gone through so much trouble for the reasons I was given.

So, Before I Wake by Steven Spruill is just an “ok” book. Not the best, not the worst. Get it if you come across it at a garage sale, but don’t spend too much… It’s just not worth it.

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