Book Review: Every Breath by Ellie Marney

WARNING: DO NOT READ AS THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK, UNLESS YOU DO NOT MIND SPOILERS OR YOU HAVE ALREADY READ THE BOOK.

So, after at least two weeks of no posts, I finally have something to share with all of you. It is yet another book review, and this time I’m looking at Every Breath by Ellie Marney. It’s a mystery book (I seem to be reading quite a few of those types lately but hopefully I will have something of a different genre for the next review) and I’m actually impressed by it. Here’s the summary so you know what’s going on in it:

“Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…”

Plotwise, I actually liked it. There were some unexpected plot twists, and the romance between Mycroft and Rachel is a shaky one in the beginning, starting as friends/frenemies, but they eventually bond over the things they have in common with law and forensics and such, being able to talk to each other and work together to solve the case as well as kindle a romance which felt a bit intense. I could sense that they cared for each other—heck, Rachel even states approximately halfway through the book that she cares for Mycroft when he accuses her of not caring for anyone or anything. So, romance was definitely well-written in the book for me.

Rachel is the heroine who is sick of the life she has right now. She wants to get out of it and do something, do something that she wants to do instead of being stuck with her family in this city she barely knows. Mycroft, meanwhile, knows literally everyone in town, even the homeless people, but he wants to get out and do his own thing too, holing himself up in his room to investigate mysteries and do bunches of experiments. Both were well-written, and showed development. Mycroft seemed to be more frenemy-neighbour-like at first when with her, but eventually he seems to grow closer to her and be more respectful to her (as he was even insulting her at times early on in the book, calling her a ‘country girl’ and such). Rachel, meanwhile, developed in the sense that she learned her street smarts (as she came from the countryside, not the city) and also develops a respect for Mycroft not just for his abilities but also as a person.

What really struck me in this book, however, was Mycroft’s reactions to Dave’s death, as well as the deaths of his parents. Mycroft reacts really badly to Dave’s death at first. He’s known this person for a good few years and now to find him dead really sucks for Mycroft. He vomits at the sight of Dave’s corpse, and gets into a huge sort of rage whenever anyone mentions the deaths of either Dave or his parents and uses it against him. He goes and loses it, wrecking his entire lab in the process, and he can’t just flip a ‘calm down’ switch and calm down instantly. He needs time to get through it. Also, when struggling with his family troubles, when the school principal nearly suspends him he just shuts down and breaks down instantly, something that usually wouldn’t be seen from him usually being calm and composed around things and more physically dangerous situations. These reactions make me believe that the deaths of his parents and Dave, as well as his troubled past and current family situations, have obviously given him trauma and that any mention of the deaths or troubled family situation in a bad light becomes triggers for him. By the end of the book, he seems to start to heal, but I doubt he will simply ‘get over it’ and I think that these sorts of reactions in the book will be explored further in the next books that take place after this one if there are any books that come next after Every Breath. I think the reactions to the deaths were quite realistic, and overall that was the part of the book I loved the most because it just felt so real.

Besides the main plot, there was the subplot of Rachel and Mycroft balancing their lives with the murder case that they were investigating. Both of them come from broken homes—Rachel’s family is trying to support themselves and they can barely manage with the finances, while Mycroft has lost all family but his aunt, who neglects him and does her own thing instead of caring for him—and both are so sick of the city and just want out of it, waiting to turn eighteen so they can be legally adults and therefore do whatever they want to do. The tension of both their families struggles (mostly in Rachel’s case though) really gets to them, and boils over them in a fistful of a rage, screaming words, and the threat of getting into worser situations than they’re already in. It felt so realistic that I could feel myself getting just as angry as Rachel and Mycroft did during those situations, and I thought it was well written overall.

If there is anything in the book that actually annoys me, though, there are two things.

1. The tagline on the cover of the book: “What if Sherlock Holmes was the boy next door?”

I know that it’s not necessarily too related to the story, but still. There is NO CHARACTER specifically named Sherlock or Holmes or Sherlock Holmes. The closest you get is ‘Mycroft’ but that’s the name of Sherlock’s brother for crying out loud! Saying that ‘Sherlock Holmes was the boy next door’ when there is no character actually named after Sherlock Holmes in the book is kind of like scamming somebody with a package of supposedly sugar-free mango chips when sugar is listed as the first ingredient after mangoes on the back of said package. It was a bit sad.

2. I understand that the culprit was forcing Rachel and Mycroft to go literally into that lion’s den, but seriously you’re going to make them climb said fence to get in?

Even if Rachel and Mycroft are fit teenagers, that is pretty high fence. No one would be able to climb it that easily and then climb back over it, especially if they are bleeding and injured. That was the most unrealistic part of the book for me, honestly. What would have been more realistic was if the culprit that committed the murders forced the two in by having gotten the keys to the den beforehand, unlock the gate for the both of them, and then lock them in, forcing them to pick the lock to get out. That would have been WAY more realistic.

Overall, I have to give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars because although characters, subplot, the main plot were great, those two things that I just mentioned just really annoyed me that much. Otherwise, this is a pretty good mystery genre book, and I’d recommend it to anyone that likes mystery books.

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