Rapid Fallsby Published 01 Dec 2018
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
Forgive and forget? The past and present collide for two sisters who survived a tragedy—and must now survive the truth behind it.
It’s been twenty years since Cara’s boyfriend died in a horrible accident and her sister, Anna, went to prison. The tragedy has become a local legend, but Cara has moved past her grief to have a successful career and a happy family. Pity about Anna. Recently released from incarceration, she’s struggling with addiction, guilt, and shame—a shattered life. Cara’s forgiveness seems to be the only thing that helps her pick up the pieces.
But as Anna pulls herself together, her memories of that night on the bridge start to come into focus. And few of them match her sister’s.
As past secrets unfold and nothing is what it seems anymore, Anna desperately searches for the truth. But what if Cara doesn’t want her to find it?
"Rapid Falls" Reviews
My immediate thought after finishing this was, now THAT is how you write a psychological thriller! I’m blown away that this is a debut, Cowie’s writing is polished and sharp and she plotted one hell of a story, if this is how she begins her career as an author I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
This follows two sisters, Anna and Cara and flips between the late nineties and 2016. The girls were in high school in 1997 and were both in a tragic accident that killed Cara’s boyfriend. Anna’s life went down the drain afterwards, she spent time in prison and developed an alcohol addiction while Cara moved on and has a picture perfect life with her husband and daughter. Two very different outcomes and both women were interesting and complex.
The events leading up to the accident are slowly revealed in alternating chapters as you begin to piece together what really happened. Let me tell you, I thought I knew what happened and I was way off, this had a good reveal, a twist if you wanna call it that but it’s not a book that’s solely dependent on a shocking twist but instead was awesome all the way through. If you can’t tell, I loved this one and highly recommend it to thriller fans!
Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Upon reading the blurb for this book I immediately had a suspicion of what the entire plot would revolve around, including the so-called twist. Then I thought no way, it would be ridiculous to write a book that holds no mystery between it's covers. I mean, why would you write it? Why would anyone want to read it? That's preposterous, right?
So my next thought was wow, this book must have a twisty dark plot, the description only SEEMS straightforward. It's a trick! A sleight of hand! I'm about to be blown away!!
Again, why do I keep doing this to myself?
This was my Amazon First Reads choice for November 2018.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie had a slower pace than I was expecting, but WOW. The story kept me interested the entire time and it was a bit like watching a train wreck.
What it's about: Anna and Cara are sisters, and much to Cara's annoyance Anna seems to want everything she has. When Anna kills Cara's high school boyfriend on graduation night in a car accident, the family basically falls apart. Anna goes to prison for 3 years and their parents get a divorce; plus the story becomes a town legend and most occupants no longer want anything to do with the family. Flash forward 20 years later and Cara has a successful career and a seemingly perfect marriage that includes a little girl named Maggie. But Anna is a mess; she is an alcoholic that can never seem to stay sober for long and a string of bad boyfriends. Cara does the best she can to help Anna, but it never seems to straighten her out. But now Anna has a bigger problem as she starts to remember bits and pieces of the night she killed Cara's boyfriend. Buried secrets are all about to come out in this psychological thriller.
Rapid Falls is told all from the viewpoint of Cara who is the older of the sisters. This book is definitely mostly a character study, besides being a psychological thriller to the max. Cara is a very unlikable character that has pettiness, jealousy, and overall obnoxiousness as a few of her major qualities. But for some reason I was fascinated by reading from her perspective. She is that character that you love to hate. I actually didn't really care for Anna either, and I'm not sure I loved any of the characters, but this was not a problem at all.
Even though the pacing was on the slower side, I was still majorly drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down. There is so much deceit and lies, and the plot is a tangled web that slowly unravels. I also loved that the book moves between different time frames as you slowly get a full picture of what happened in the past. I have a feeling there will be some kerfuffle surrounding the ending for people, but I was satisfied with it and very intrigued with how Cowie pulled everything together. There aren't really any *major* twists, but you do get a couple surprises.
Final Thought: I am shocked that this is a debut novel because it was that good. Cowie is an amazing writer that managed to pull me into a slower paced book with no problem. If you like psychological thrillers and don't mind a slower pace I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
A special thank you to Amber Cowie for sending me a signed copy of her book. Also, thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Q & A Elevator Ride Interview with author, Amber Cowie. Fun and informative. Learn exclusive "behind-the-scenes details about #RAPIDFALLS and this new sensational thriller author! Dec 1. 💕 Thank you, Amber!
Terrifying and satisfying! 5 Stars + Debut novelist Amber Cowie delivers a “knockout” —dark and gripping new suspense novel of sibling rivalry (on steroids) and what happens when greed and jealousy take control. Two sisters with twisted relationships and long-buried secrets are at the heart of this smashing debut.
An intriguing "killer" psychological thriller— RAPID FALLS examines the explosive potential of dark secrets to destroy families, sisters, marriages, and everyone near to them. The author slowly and expertly reveals the (chillingly-real) truth that could be ripped from today's headlines.
Where nothing is as it appears.
Rich in place and character— loaded with lyrical prose and stunning metaphors. Complex and profoundly emotional, there is much beneath the surface of this domestic psychological suspense.
Two sisters are coping with the aftermath of a tragedy. However which sister is more sinister and evil? A dangerous game of cat and mouse betrayal where there may be no winners.
Meet the Piper family.
They are a family of four living in a small town of Rapid Falls. As small towns go, everyone knows everyone else’s business. Besides, the town has only one entry, a bridge over the Rapid Falls. A town named after its waterfalls. Most teens want to escape for a bigger and better life. How do they go about achieving this goal?
RAPID FALLS is written with two timelines: 1992-1997 and 2016-2017. Two sisters are craving attention. It all started with prom night. When past and present collide, the sparks ignite.
Cara and Anna. It was Cara’s prom night, and she has convinced Anna her sister to be their designated driver. Jesse was the town athlete and Cara’s boyfriend. After all, Anna was going to film school and Cara and Jesse would be getting on with their future.
However, things are not as they seem on the surface. Everyone is keeping secrets. That night ended in tragedy. Anna sent to prison for the death of Jesse (Cara’s boyfriend). There was a fatal car accident, and Cara saved Anna from the water and from drowning.
A family imploding.
Now, fast forward Anna has been released from prison and has a drinking problem. She is back living with her dad. She is self-destructive. Her dad has also turned into an alcoholic, and the mom left them behind for a better life. What happened to this family?
The town shuns Anna. She has served time for murder. A town favorite now dead.
Cara for some reason is always there to help rescue her. She has moved away. Married the rich guy, Rick. (she does not tell him about her past). She has a great job. The perfect life. The perfect wife. The perfect mother (Maggie). She cannot allow anything to disrupt her life.
However, Anna does not remember everything that happened that night. Cara may be hiding events of the night long ago. What if the truth is revealed? What if she remembers?
The truth is bloody good, and you will be holding your breath until the final scene! (it is a good one)! Your loyalties may change from the beginning of the book compared to the end. What happened prom night so long ago, and how far will one go to hide the truth?
WOW! Complex and emotional. From tough love, sibling rivalry, resentments, betrayal, obsessions, narcissism, alcoholism, addictions, dysfunction, denial, selfishness, jealousy, love, hatred, fear, lies, secrets, tragedy, revenge, survival, plus more. 🏆
Where nothing is as it appears in this twisty psychological thriller that will keep you glued to the pages to the explosive “hold your breath” conclusion (literally edge of a cliff).
Being true to one’s self. Duality plays a big part in the narrative, making this an ideal choice for book clubs and further group discussions. (a great reader group guide included). Rock-star quality writing.
I really enjoyed the strong metaphors as relates to water, the characters, and the town of Rapid Falls. Just as waterfalls can be beautiful, peaceful and mesmerizing; they can also be dangerous. As can be humans, animals, and families. They can turn toxic— a sharp contrast between good and evil (as the sisters). Darkness and light.
Cowie’s skillful characterization and her shocking final twist make this a “must read” standout debut suspense thriller, landing on my Top Books of 2018. You will be shocked to learn this is a debut. We can only imagine what is to come. 😍
An author to follow (she is so much fun on social media). RAPID FALLS is prime for the big or small screen. (fingers crossed) Delighted to learn there will be more books coming soon!
"RAVEN LANE (2019) and THE MINES (2020). Both are in the domestic suspense genre and focus on strong, but surprisingly complex, female narrators that find themselves in extremely complicated relationships with their loved ones and the world at large."
Upcoming: Read all the juicy details, and the inspiration behind RAPID FALLS. Learn more about this exciting new author with exclusive behind the scenes tidbits. Stay tuned for my extensive Q&A Elevator Ride with the Author coming Dec 1, 2019. (link to follow)
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For fans of Michele Campbell's She Was the Quiet One, Victoria Helen Stone's Jane Doe and Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter.
Also, fans of AJ Banner, Mary Kubica, T.Greenwood, and Heather Gudenkauf (some of my favorites) will enjoy this one. Move this author and RAPID FALLS to the top of your reading list! PS: The hardcover is stunning!
Oh, the misery! That about covers the mood of this story and my mood while reading it.
The writing is fine. I was initially pulled into the story, but it derailed pretty quickly.
For starters, the timeline is all over the place. The chapters alternate between 2016 (present) and 1997. The present timeline is told in first person present tense, and the 1997 chapters are told in first person past tense. That would have worked out fine had we stuck to those two timelines. But within the present tense, we have a constant, mind-numbing amount of flashback scenes going back to Cara's early teens. We actually spend very little time in the present. Much of this book reads like a YA novel starring a prickly, jealous teen.
To further complicate matters, the content is repetitive and full of dull, unnecessary detail. One-quarter into the book and I was already skimming multiple scenes.
Cara is not a likable character, making it difficult to spend an entire book with her. None of the other characters are well developed. We only get to know them through the narrow spectrum of Cara's viewpoint. She is not a person with much insight into or interest in other people, and so we're left with a lot of vague side characters who simply fill a necessary role in Cara's life.
The pace is maddeningly slow, largely due to all the repetition and flashback scenes.
The story is more uncomfortable angst than suspense. Nothing surprising happens. Clues are like flashing neon signs, making it difficult not to see the truth within the lies Cara spins. Some things happen at the end that made me shake my head. Despite all the time spent in Cara's childhood, the reasons behind the family dynamics are never properly fleshed out.
While I figured out the "who" and "why" early on, I made it to the end because I wanted to know the "how". I was also hoping for a big revelation from Anna to knock this story off its predictable path. I was disappointed on both counts.
The ending made me want to slap Cara's husband and father for being complete morons.
And, so, clearly I didn't enjoy the story. But reviews are just opinions, and you might have an entirely different reading experience.