Author: Jessica Barry (pseudonym for American author Melissa Pimentel)
Series: None- standalone novel
Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, everyone assumes Allison Carpenter is dead.
But Maggie, Allison’s mother back home in Owl Creek, Maine, refuses to believe them. Maggie knows her daughter – or she used to, anyway. For the past two years, the two women have been estranged, and while Maggie doesn’t know anything about Ally’s life now – not even why she was on a private plane to begin with – she still believes in her girl’s strength, and in their love for each other.
As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers about the world Allison has been involved in. What was she running from? And can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?
Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a heart-stopping, propulsive thriller about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and the ones they love.
Review: I’d heard the buzz about Jessica Barry’s debut novel, “Freefall”, for a few months and I’m so glad I finally listened to the audiobook. Like a master fisherman, this book subtly and smoothly lured me in; hooking me so soundly that I finished the book in two days. The message I took away from this book was that life is short and we need to reconcile with those we love before we lose the opportunity completely and have to live with regret. The second bit of wisdom I gleaned from the book: look beyond the perfect surface, especially with people, because you might not like what you see. I would recommend “Freefall” to anyone who enjoys reading about complex relationships and who enjoys not being able to spot major plot twists before they come (the minor ones you can figure out).
What I appreciated most about this book was the relationship between mother (Maggie) and daughter (Ally). “Freefall” drops you into the action immediately as we witness Ally fleeing for her life following a plane crash, and then simultaneously watch Maggie’s devastation and disbelief at the news of her daughter’s death. Alternatively narrated from Ally’s and Maggie’s point of view, I was immersed into the honest and regretful recounting of their motivations and subsequent actions that led to their estrangement. It felt as if I was witnessing a therapy session or reading their private journals. I pitied Ally, and my heart broke for her as I learned of the unhealthy path she chose. At the same time I cheered on her survival instincts and hoped she’d be able to make the amends she now discovered she wanted.
The second aspect I appreciated about this book was the well-timed one-two punch of unsuspected twists and pulse-racing action that blindsided me. I was lulled into Ally’s and Maggie’s narrative, nearly forgetting the “bad guy” was getting closer. The book was like whitewater rafting. First your bumping along, navigating large rocks while having a pretty good time. Then all of a sudden your stomach drops as you’re thrust into a roaring rapid and you’ve got a white-knuckled grip on your paddle. “Freefall” is a great ride that finishes strong. So why did I give this book 4 stars instead of 5? For the first third of the book it read more of a contemporary fiction book (a really good one) than a thriller. Sure there was some suspense and foreshadowing, but that portion of the book went a little slow for me.
“Freefall” audiobook was narrated by by Hilliary Huber (one of my all-time favorites), Karissa Vacker, and MacLeod Andrews. Their voice acting was outstanding and added to the thrill and enjoyment of this audiobook.