If I Die Tonight
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original
Reminiscent of the bestsellers of Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben—with a dose of Big Little Lies or Stranger Things—an absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense from the author of the highly acclaimed and Edgar Award-nominated What Remains of Me and the USA Today bestselling and Shamus Award-winning Brenna Spector series, in which a seemingly open-and-shut police case with a clear-cut hero and villain turns out to be anything but simple.
Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever.
Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who'd rushed to help.
As Liam Miller’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?
The case quickly consumes social media, transforming Liam, a local high school football star, into a folk hero, and the suspect, a high school outcast named Wade Reed, into a depraved would-be killer. But is Wade really guilty? And if he isn't, why won't he talk?
Told from a kaleidoscope of viewpoints—Wade's mother Jackie, his younger brother Connor, Aimee En and Pearl Maze, a young police officer with a tragic past, If I Die Tonight is a story of family ties and dark secrets—and the lengths we'll go to protect ourselves.
Praise For If I Die Tonight: A Novel…
“Gripping.” — Oprah.com
“Right now, Alison Gaylin is at the very top of her game, crafting exhilarating and audacious crime novels that are both rich in character and rivetingly told. Her books are, quite simply, not to be missed.” — Megan Abbott
“This is mind-blowing suspense from an exceptional writer.” — Alex Marwood
“Alison Gaylin keeps astonishing me. The only thing I know for certain when I pick up one of her books is that I’ll love it. If I Die Tonight continues her winning streak with its timely, twisty and utterly human take on the way we live (and die) today. One of the best crime novelists, bar none.” — Laura Lippman
“Alison Gaylin is a great storyteller.” — Mark Billingham
“Superb…Each plot point weaves perfectly for a poignant story strengthened by its attention to characters…If I Die Tonight never falters in its excellent illustration of people on the edge, and it joins the ranks of those mysteries that will prove to be one of the best published in 2018.” — Associated Press
“The action never stops, and sometimes the darkness feels as if it’s creeping into your own home.” — Suspense Magazine
“The perfect thriller for a weekend spent indoors, If I Die Tonight will challenge your own belief in your intuition.” — Bustle
“Gaylin’s skill at character development is in the spotlight, featuring a diverse cast of characters whose actions ring true — whether they are adults behaving badly or teenagers experiencing the perils of growing up in the social media age…you won’t be able to turn away from this page turner.” — RT Book Reviews (top pick)
“Excellently executed suspense that will leave you thinking past the final page.” — Book Riot
“Riveting… The story is masterfully told in different voices from a well-developed cast of characters. Fans of Megan Abbott and Wendi Corsi Staub will relish this one.” — Booklist
“The novel’s lasting impact comes from its indelible portrait of people in crisis.” — Publishers Weekly
“Alison Gaylin’s skillful balance of tension and intimacy will appeal to fans of psychological and domestic suspense, and the questions she raises about parents, children, and bullying have rich potential for book clubs.” — Library Journal
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062641090, 384pp.
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
About the Author
Alison Gaylin is the author of the Edgar-nominated thriller Hide Your Eyes and its sequel You Kill Me, the stand-alone Edgar-nominated What Remains of Me, and the Brenna Spector series: And She Was (winner of the Shamus Award), Into the Dark, and the Edgar-nominated Stay With Me. A graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she lives with her husband and daughter in Woodstock, New York.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. There are many parents in If I Die Tonight: Jackie, Bill, Helen, Pearl’s father Milton and her Aunt Ruth, Ryan Grant’s parents, Sheila and Chris Miller… How does each deal with the challenges involved with raising their children, and how would your assess their ability as parents?
2. Is it more difficult to raise a child who is an outcast? Do you empathize with Jackie in her struggle to raise Wade?
3. How do you feel about the role social media plays in the book? Do you see its impact as entirely negative, or are there good aspects to it as well?
4. There is a lot of talk about how social media affects kids. But as the first chapter’s description of Jackie’s Facebook usage shows, grown-ups use it just as much. How has social media changed your life and the way you perceive the lives of others?
5. The book is told through four different points of view (with one more at the end). Who did you relate to the most and why?
6. How does fame, the pursuit of it (and the avoidance of it) play a role in the book? (Thinking specifically here of Aimee En, but also the idea of social media fame/infamy, as experienced by Liam/Wade).
7. In the book, how does social media distort people’s perception of facts?
8. How did you feel about the way things ended for Pearl and Jackie specifically? Do either or both of them have an improved understanding? What do you think will happen to them both in the future?
9. What role does the small-town setting play in the book? Do you think Wade would have been condemned as quickly if it were to take place in a city?
10. What challenges does Jackie encounter as a single mother raising two teenage boys? How does she cope with those challenges?
11. How does raising teenagers today differ from raising them 20 years ago, and how is that shown in the book?
12. There is a lot of cruelty in the book via social media (Wade’s suicide note on Facebook gets more than a thousand likes). But it is also a place where people are able to express their grief over Liam. Do you feel that social media numbs our senses or makes us more expressive?