Growing up in a very Catholic background, the notion of an afterlife has always been present in my mind. Many people say that just being baptized will grant you a place in God’s realm while others claim that if you reject Him, you automatically go to Hell. Personally, I’m not a religious person but the afterlife has always been something that fascinates me and I love reading books that integrate that idea into the story.
In Chain Reaction we get a preview of what could happen to a person after death.
Kate Maple wakes up to her body by the river, neatly placed on a blanket and wonders how she came to be dead. Her memories are fuzzy, she can only remember things like people she’s frequently in contact with, and snippets of her life while living. As she waits by her body, hoping that someone will take notice and take her away, she finds herself reunited with an old flame who died a few years prior to her and is instantly grateful for his help with her new identity.
As she’s finally found and her family contacted, a burning need to find out why she was killed and by who leaves her mingling with the police and their investigation.
When I first read the summary for this book I was really interested in the “insight into what it could be like to be ‘on the other side'” and I took note of the things Kate would do. As a spirit she was able to teleport by just thinking about who she wanted to see, she could talk with her mother and sometimes others would be able to sense her, she could see people’s memories, and to an extent, influence our world. But as I kept reading this book it started to deviate from ‘the other side’ and became more of a mystery/investigation novel.
I became more invested in her murder and whenever Kate would start to talk about the afterlife and her spirit romance with Graham (the old flame) I’d just want to skip it because we never got anything I felt was significant or interesting, like, where there consequences about interfering/contacting the living? Even Graham felt like an afterthought as we were only reminded a couple times of his presence.
I hadn’t even known that he was a love interest until he’d kissed her and Kate began talking about how they could have been something had they still been alive! And that was somewhere halfway into the book. There wasn’t anything before that moment that could have presented Graham as a love interest and by saying he was an old flame, I felt the author was taking a shortcut with their relationship. A sort of, just accept it for how it is deal.
In terms of side characters, I was confused as to who they were half the time because more than one character shared the same name. For example, Kate’s boyfriend was named Tom and I had established that in my head, however, near the end of the book we’re introduced to another officer who pursues the killer. His name also ends up being Tom and I had to go back to see if maybe I hadn’t mistaken the boyfriend’s name. The same happens with at least two other characters.
Overall, this was an interesting read and I’m glad I picked it up but my biggest issue was formatting. From the beginning the real world and the afterlife didn’t mesh well and we could see this with how Kate’s POV would be randomly (it felt like) inserted into the third person dealings of the investigation. Aside from that, I did enjoy the story and the backstory of the killer/how that ended up being interwoven with Kate’s life. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming because a few pages into the story my only thoughts were who else could it be? I just hadn’t figured out how it was going to be told.
I ended up giving this book a 3 ☆s on Goodreads for an It was OK rating. You can find this book on Amazon for $14.99