• The Mafia does not approve.
Hold Still Book Cover Hold Still
Tim Adler
February 7, 2016

“I photographed the moment of my husband’s death.” So begins HOLD STILL, a nerve-twisting thriller that promises to be Murder On the Orient Express for the Snapchat generation.

How much do we really know about those we love? Kate is visiting Tirana, Albania with her husband Paul, a much needed break from Paul’s website business which lately seems to be of growing concern. “Hold still,” says Kate, taking a picture as Paul steps onto the balcony. “We’ll always be together,” Paul responds. Suddenly there is screaming below and a blaring car horn. Kate stares down from the balcony at the broken body of her husband lying dead in the street.

Overcome with grief, Kate can’t accept the truth of her husband’s tragic death, and she replays the incident again and again, searching her pictures for a vital clue to what really happened. When she meets the enigmatic Priest at a grief support group, they journey together into a dangerous world of violence and secrets as Kate realises what Paul really meant when he said he would never leave her……

Whodunnit? Well… Actually it’s pretty obvious.

I love a crime thriller. I love dissecting the book and trying to figure out who did what, who killed who and what the big twist will be. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but i’m usually pretty good at getting it right. I just love being genuinely shocked by a plot twist and the heart stopping moment of a true crime thriller.

You see, there are two unofficial types of crime thrillers: The ones where you have no idea what is going on until the big reveal, and the ones where you know who right from the offset.

Unfortunately Hold Still is the latter.

Billed as a fast paced thriller, it follows the story of Kate, who photographs the moment of her Husbands death whilst visiting his home country of Albania. Kate becomes obsessed with searching the picture for clues and it soon becomes clear that she didn’t even really know her husband at all. The blurb really grabbed my attention and I had such high hopes for this book, but it just fell a bit flat. There was very minimal character development, the plot was weak and cliché and to be honest I saw the supposed big plot twist coming from the end of chapter one.

The first half of the book wasn’t too bad, it built up a small amount of suspense and unanswered questions. The second half was a bit of a train wreck. Kate gets abducted by the Albanian mafia but everything happens so quickly it’s all a bit of a blur. She gets abducted, she tries to escape, she does escape, she gets caught again, she finds out a big secret, she tries to escape again. All of this happens within the space of a few chapters. I know thrillers are supposed to be fast paced, but this turned into a bit of a anti-climactic sprint to the end of the book. It felt like Adler was trying to get as much of the plot in as quick as he could to finish the book. It was horribly rushed.

Really good crime books are hard to find because the reader, especially me, will try and figure out what the big plot twist will be. Its part of the fun and the appeal of reading them. Unfortunately Hold Still just doesn’t have enough of a punch to be able to compete with the big leagues. It is a shame, because the plot seemed promising, it just didn’t deliver.