It all Falls Down by Sheena Kamal

Reviewed by: Mojomums reviewer Jo

What they say: Growing up, Nora Watts only knew one parent – her father. When he killed himself, she denied her grief and carried on with her life. Then a chance encounter with a veteran who knew him raises disturbing questions Nora can’t ignore – and dark emotions she can’t control. To make her peace with the past, she has to confront it.

Finding the truth about her father’s life and his violent death takes her from Vancouver to Detroit where Sam Watts grew up, far away from his people and the place of his birth.

Yet no matter how far away Nora gets from Vancouver, she can’t shake trouble. Back in the Pacific Northwest, former police detective turned private investigator Jon Brazuca is looking into the overdose death of a billionaire’s mistress. His search uncovers a ruthless opiate ring and a startling connection to Nora, the infuriatingly distant woman he’d once tried to befriend. He has no way to warn or protect her, because she’s become a ghost, vanishing completely off the grid.

Focused on the mysterious events of her father’s past and the clues they provide to her own fractured identity and that of her estranged daughter, Nora may not be able to see the danger heading her way until it’s too late. But it’s not her father’s old ties that could get her killed – it’s her own.

What we say: “I was quite excited to read this book as I enjoy thrillers but was completely unprepared for the style of writing I encountered, which was gritty and uncompromising. Not your typical easy read. In some ways that made it refreshing but I did struggle, particularly in the first few chapters, with getting to grips with who the characters were. The lack of chapter headings didn’t help as I would have found it useful to know which character I was reading about rather than get two or three pages into the chapter before I twigged.

It also took me several chapters to understand what was going on. There are quite a few characters and a couple of simultaneous storylines which, alongside having to navigate through the chapters and work out which character was being written about, made it trickier than my usual read to get a handle on what was happening.

I found that none of the characters were particularly endearing. However, they were interesting because of this and because they were atypical. Both protagonists had flaws which made them more human and neither was portrayed as a hero, which I liked because it made them more complex and more realistic.

The book refers to the Sixties Scoop which, had I not recently listened to a podcast about it, would likely have been lost on a significant number of (particularly UK/non-Canadian) readers. A footnote or similar could be helpful here.

I can see how this book would appeal to some audiences. However, I personally was not gripped by it and could happily have taken or left it all the way through. I found the storyline and actions of some of the characters rather unrealistic, which didn’t endear me to the book. I would suggest that those who like thrillers give it a go because it’s slightly different, but it wasn’t one I’d read again.”


It all Falls Down by Sheena Kamal is available from many high street bookstores and online from Amazon.

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