Thriller: Falling, by Christopher Pike

Falling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kelly Feinman is an academic, married with a young daughter, but her life is on the dull side. So when the FBI recruits her to consult in serial murder cases, she decides to go whole hog and become an agent, much to the chagrin of her husband. Heroes are big in her specialty, mythology, and now Kelly grabs the opportunity to become one herself.

Matt Connor thought he had it all, until his girlfriend, Amy, dumps him. Now he can’t get over her, to the point where he is genuinely obsessed with getting revenge. His complicated plan works beautifully, for a while, at least.

Falling is the perfect title for this complex thriller, a metaphor, in all its meanings, for the situations that befall its characters. Kelly compulsively hurls herself headlong into impossibly dangerous situations, not caring who she hurts or deserts in the process. Revenge is not enough for Matt. When their lives become intertwined, they nearly lose everything in trying to achieve their hearts’ desires.

Falling is tense, and suspenseful, but some of its effects were dampened for me by the personalities of Kelly and Matt, who spend most of their inner moments steeped in self-pity. Each makes incredibly selfish, stupid choices and indulges in behaviors that can only be called crazy. Had Kelly only relied upon her partner and fellow FBI agents, and not perverted the course of justice, this novel could have been so much more real. Had Matt used the brilliant mind he’s supposed to possess, instead of his ego and emotions, he could have become someone. Author Pike’s roots in young adult fiction show in his language. Over and over he writes “it was as if” this or that, and his adult characters in this book think almost exclusively like teenagers. This could have tauter, keener plot without all the tiresome histrionics. But, it is an inventive one that successfully departs from the typical serial killer tropes.

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