Breathe, and Release

Fiction - Mystery - General
248 Pages
Reviewed on 07/27/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Breathe, and Release is a contemporary thriller written by Katherine Hayton. Elisabet had no memories of the accident that left her lying in a hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit. From what little she was able to make out from the hospital staff, she had crashed her car, leaving her with a battered head that was still plaguing her with headaches. When the nurse shows in the man who is supposedly her husband, she eyes him dispassionately. His face is lined and folded, and his attitude towards her is cool and reserved. Her step-daughter, Kristen, is openly hostile and obviously resents her. When Elisabet is released from the hospital, Graeme drives her to the little house he's rented and expects her to keep house, cook and clean. When she borrows a small amount of money from his wallet to enable her to contact the outside world, his reaction is swift and brutal.

Katherine Hayton's mystery, Breathe, and Release, is a dark psychological thriller that follows the lives of two victimized women: one who is literally imprisoned in a cellar and the other whose loss of memory leaves her at the mercy of a strange and brutal husband. This is a gritty and fast-paced story that keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat throughout the entire tale. I was fascinated by the strange and dysfunctional relationship of Elisabet, Graeme and Kristen, and horrified by the plight of Lillian as she focuses all her strength and determination on staying alive long enough to be rescued. There's also a tidy police procedural going on throughout the story as the police attempt to make sense of the disturbing chain of events that link the lives of these women. Breathe, and Release is a well-written and superbly plotted story that maintains a high level of tension and suspense. It's highly recommended.

Roy T. James

Breathe, and Release by Katherine Hayton begins with the main character, Elisabet, waking up one morning with no memories. Her husband and stepdaughter visit her in the hospital and engage with her in conversation, but with Elisabet having more and more unanswered questions. She then tries Googling, manages to sneak a visit to her office, and asks others regarding her whereabouts in an attempt to rebuild her memory. She, on finding out from others where she lives, visits her home and surroundings. She finds herself under attack and has to call emergency services for help. How she uncoils these knots of ignorance, aggression and violence with the help of her improving memory, and in the process unfolds a few secrets, forms the bulk of the theme.

Breathe, and Release by Katherine Hayton is a good read. The nature of the mystery had to remain a mystery as the main actor, the heroine, is a victim of amnesia, and is shown appropriately so. In fact, I realized this only at the end of the book, when things became easier with Elisabet slowly getting better or responding to treatment. Though many of the elements of this story are made clear in the end, the distance Elisabet feels regarding her husband could have been elaborated on or justified more. A notable aspect of the book is that the author has chosen to follow a rather less beaten track. On the whole, a good read, with a different approach to a whodunit that can keep one engrossed.

Rabia Tanveer

Breathe, and Release by Katherine Hayton comprises the haunting stories of three women. Their lives are interconnected and relying on the lost memory of one of them. Elisabet does not remember anything about her life or herself. She wakes up to find her memories gone and cannot remember who she was and what happened to her. She lives with a husband who cares for and adores her, but as the time progresses the love is turned into hatred and the hands that touched her with caresses now inflict pain on her.

Lilian finds herself in an underground cell where she is hogtied and bound at the mercy of her captor. There is no escape and if she cannot find something to eat or drink, she is sure that she will die within days. There is no hope and she expects that she will die.

Kristen is living an equally hopeless life. When her parents divorced, her life took a nose dive and it got worse when her father married Elisabet. She had a breath of fresh air when they separated, but now she is back because of an accident. She does not trust anyone or the fact that she lost her memories. Can she be faking it?

Katherine Hayton wrote a beautifully complicated novel that appeals to the artistic sense of the reader. The story might sound too complicated with different narrative voices, but it is not. Elisabet’s story is intriguing, Lilian demands your attention, and Kristen has so many different facets to her personality. You think you know a character, but as you read the novel you will realize that you did not know him or her at all. That shows the skill and intelligence of the writer. Satisfying, engrossing and very entertaining. A goosebumps inducing mystery! I loved it. I would love to read more novels from this author. Kudos for a job well done.