"If I Should Die", the newest book by longtime author Jennie Hansen, is a book that must be saved for when you have a long block of reading time. I promise you, once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down.
To start off with, the title and front cover picture are both very ominous. A woman is looking out the blinds at someone or something.What is out there? It is so intriguing that you can't wait to dive into the book. Without unnecessarily repeating the back liner of the book, the novel is centered around main character Kallene's search for her missing friend Linda. This storyline is very similar to a true story that has been in the headlines here in Utah. A woman goes missing and the husband is the main suspect. Jennie does a great job of introducing many possible murder suspects. Is it truly the husband, or the creepy neighborhood handyman, or the ex-con who committed rape and murder years ago? As you read, there are so many reasons to put suspicions on each of these men. There was one point I was even starting to suspect one of the "good" guys, a police detective. The way the story was going, I was suspecting everyone! I must be a pretty suspicious person. In the end the murderer is someone I hadn't considered until the very end...so nice job Jennie!
To lighten the story a bit, there is a fantastic love triangle. The reason it is fantastic is because of the wonderful men that Kallene has to choose from. She dates both the very handsome and charming police detective Scott, and Linda's very good looking and personable brother Jon. Both men are very jealous of the other, which in turn makes them both work harder to win over Kallene. I would love to have this same problem that Kallene had of trying to choose between these two wonderful men. You will find yourself bouncing between liking Scott, and then Jon, and then Scott again, and then Jon. I liked Kallene'e strong character through most of the story, until she made a very poor decision at the end. You should have heard me yelling at her in my family room to not do something and that she should know better. I bet that you can't wait to read what Kallene does.
The part of the story that really touched my heart, was Kallene's relationship with her young neighbor Parker. He is neglected by his working parents and turns to Kallene for guidance and comfort. I don't want to say too much more, but I know you will also have a soft spot in your heart for Parker.
For those of you that are impatient, you may not like this book. The story's clues take awhile to surface and you must be patient and let the story unfold. In other reviews, readers have felt the pace of the story was slow at the beginning, but I didn't feel that way. There is a lot of character development that takes place, and the action is not always the driving force. Kallene's workplace and her job situation is focused on a lot. Though you may wonder, what does it have to do with the main part of the story? My main thought on this is, it shows that amidst trials we unfortunately have to continue on with our every day lives.
With the review copy of the book came a sheet with a Q & A with Jennie. Question #2 asks:
What is the message of this book?
"This book is primarily entertainment, though I suppose it could be a reminder not to make assumptions. It also stresses the importance of getting to know a potential mate over time and that marriage is too serious to jump into without serious consideration. It's also about loyalty between friends whether the friend is an adult or a child."
I recommend this book to readers who love a good murder mystery, those who like a really good love triangle, and those who cherish stories of loyal friends. I know that you are dying to run out and buy this book now. Just be prepared for a ride with lots of twists and turn, when you read "If I Should Die".
You can purchase this book at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Deseret Book.
To learn more about Jennie and her books you can visit her blog and her website.