Regular price: £18.79
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for £18.79
This was a fantastic premise for a murder mystery, especially as I came across mention of the phenomenon in the news at the time that I was reading the book. It appears that donated organs can have some residual memory from their previous owner; in this case, a faint memory of the murder that finished the life of Alexis and allowed her heart to be donated to Mia Germaine.
It's actually 20 years after her transplant that Mia starts to have flashbacks to the murder scene and she senses that this is not just a coincidence, but something that she feels compelled to follow up. Her investigation leads her to meet the victim's family and she teams up with Alexis's brother to investigate the murder, following Mia's clues.
I was listening to a well read audio version, narrated by Melanie Carey. The only problem I did have, was that, being a female narrator, it was a while before I twigged that the murderer was a man. Mostly it is Mia who tells the story but from time to time we do get the voice of the murderer.
An enjoyable read but, for me, there were just a few too may coincidences. I can't say more though, without spoilers. Even so, I definitely want to read the prequel novella, A Second Hand Lie.
A car accident, a father killed and his young daughter, Mia, saved by the transplanted heart she received from another twelve year old found murdered that same day. Twenty three years later, Mia, now enjoying a successful life and in a loving relationship, starts to have disturbing dreams, dreams of being strangled then stabbed, similar to the way two other young girls have died. Learning about the death of her doner, Mia determines to try to find the killer using her dreams as pointers to his identity.
Written mostly from the perspective of Mia herself, periodically there are sections as if written by the murderer, giving his feelings at the time as well as detailing his view of the killings. It is an interesting concept - is there actual muscle memory that can pass from doner to receiver of a transplanted body part? Unfortunately, this reader found too many problems associated with Mia's investigation to find this a satisfying story - from the apparent non thorough police investigation of the original murder of a twelve year old girl to the fact that the dreams would have been enough to reveal the killer's identity at least to Mia, even if she then didn't have further proof (If I could work it out well before the ending, surely someone with visuals would have seen it far sooner!).
The narration by Melany Casey is far more subtle, with the 'killer' voice resonant with a flat, depressant tone whilst that of Mia is animated with proper intonation and emotion. Well paced, also, it is a good performance and carries the story forward well.
My thanks to the rights holder of A Secondhand Life, from whom I received a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom, at my request, and this review is given freely. It was an interesting listen which posed intriguing questions but even despite this, and the good narration, I personally found it unable to sustain the level of mystery which I look for in this 'who dun it?' type of story. More cozy than the horror thriller that the subject matter and introduction would suggest.
What did you love best about A Secondhand Life?
This is a great book! I was caught up right in the beginning. So tragic to lose one of your parent in an accident. But to have to have a heart transplant to save your own life. This book was compelling .
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I’ve not read a lot of mystery books in the past. A Secondhand Life is a great mystery book in my opinion. It’s a whodunit that leaves you guessing until the end. Although there were times when I thought I knew who the killer was, I wasn’t really sure until it was revealed.
I never read the first book in the series and although ASL is labeled as the second book in the series, the book seems to have it’s own storyline. There’s no seemingly real dependency on the previous book and it seems to stand on its own. Which is good - I’ve listened to other books in a series without reading the preceding ones and had no clue what was going on. I’m curious why the second book was released on Audible before the first, but I’m sure the author has a master plan.
Beginning, and middle, I quite enjoyed the book.
But the end...
I’m the kind of person that if a mishap is done in the writing, it’s a blemish that I can’t overlook. Call it a bad habit. Call it OCD. Call it just being a pain in the ass. But the ending was kind of strange for me.
In the final battle, Mia was stabbed or cut in the throat. It was a serious wound. It was enough to make her get woozy at a certain point, and even stain a towel red quickly. But afterwards, there was no mention of it. It healed miraculously, and even in the ending scene when Mia and Brad were “getting it on” no mention of a scab or stitches or tenderness. Nothing.
Did it ruin the book? Of course not. The ending was great! But it’s like watching a movie and seeing the sound boom come down into the shot. It takes away from it. Cheapens it. Hopefully the author will make sure these prickly barbs are smoothed down for us OCD types in her future works.
Otherwise, she's a brilliant author.
Melanie Carey was a very entertaining performer. I loved the effort she placed into the enunciation of words. Her performance of the killer character was amazing. Her performance of male parts was the best I’ve heard yet.
This audiobook was gifted to me by the author in exchange for an unbiased review.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful