A few weeks ago, I took to some of my book related Facebook groups to find a Christmas book with a thriller element. Dying For Christmas is one that was recommended to me.
Jessica Gold is Christmas shopping in London, when she meets Dominic Lacey in a coffee shop. Dominic invites Jessica to his home, but when Jessica arrives, she realises that Dominic has something much more sinister in mind than a Christmas drink. Will she be able to escape and enjoy Christmas with her family?
Dying For Christmas is written in alternate chapters: in the first person from Jessica's perspective, and in the third person from the perspective of Kim, the ambitious police officer investigating Jessica's disappearance. Whilst it took me some time to acclimatise to this style, I found it effective, as it gave me insight into Jessica's life, and highlighted that Jessica's abduction may not be all that it seems. The mystery surrounding the plot intrigued me, and encouraged me to keep reading.
As the investigation into Jessica's disappearance develops, we learn from her family and colleagues that she is a very private person, who could perhaps be described as a "misfit." This increased the air of mystery within the plot, as I found it hard to relate to Jessica. However, the distance Cohen places between the reader and the characters also meant that I found it more difficult to sympathise with her. It was necessary to suspend my belief in the plot at times; for example, the idea that someone of Jessica's age would have the naivety to accept Dominic's invitation, which made some parts of the novel slightly frustrating to read.
Approximately half way through Dying For Christmas, Cohen reveals a twist, which creates intrigue as the novel reaches it's conclusion. However, this also feels slightly convoluted, and at times, I found it difficult to keep track of what had happened and why.
Overall, I enjoyed the sense of mystery in Dying For Christmas, but found it difficult to engage with the plot in places, and this left me feeling slightly underwhelmed with the novel as a whole.
Dying For Christmas is available from Amazon.