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Catch Me When I Fall    by Nicci French order for
Catch Me When I Fall
by Nicci French
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've been a fan of Nikki French's for a while now, my favorite of her thrillers being Land of the Living. But I wasn't sure I liked her protagonist in Catch Me When I Fall. In fact, one wonders if anyone around her really likes irrepressible high flyer Holly Krauss - even her best friend and business partner Meg, and her laid back artist husband Charlie, an artist/illustrator who doesn't seem to be working much lately.

The opening, 'I died twice', certainly aroused my interest and pulled it through all that followed, despite my misgivings about the protagonist. Holly's her own worst enemy, an obsessive workahollic who spends long hours running her company, and then parties wildly. People love or hate her, often both at once. She sacks an employee, who threatens lawsuits and worse. She's stalked by a man she spent a night with, after too much drink and drugs. She gets into debt to criminals, who have ruthless collection methods. She terrifies herself as she spirals further and further out of control - 'I want to run away from me - loud, bright, nasty, messy, fucked-up me.'

Most of the tale is told from Holly's point of view, but late in the plotline, we hear from Meg as well, gaining an entirely new perspective. Fortunately, not everyone close to Holly is ready to give up on her, though she resists therapy and crashes hard. As we read, we wonder, is someone helping her fall and will anyone catch her?

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