Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

A review of the psychological crime thriller novel Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler.

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Don’t Wake Up is the story of Alex Taylor, an accomplished and highly successful doctor, who wakes up strapped to an operating table. Not knowing how she got there or why, she soon realises the man in the operating theatre with her is not a doctor. After this intruder forces Alex to make an impossible choice, she is once again knocked out. This time when she awakens she is in the familiar surroundings of the hospital where she works. This is only the start of her problems, however, as one by one her friends, colleagues, and even her boyfriend struggle to believe her.

I decided to read this book because of the tagline – “The worst thing that’s ever happened to you…and no one believes it’s true.” – which sounded intriguing.

The book starts off well but soon descends into a confused jumble of genres. It reads as if it were chick-lit with the odd dead body thrown in to try and encourage you to believe this is actually a thriller. Neither is it a medical drama or a police procedural novel. There’s so much emphasis on what the characters are eating, drinking, wearing or cooking that the plot line gets completely lost.

The plot itself is contrived and totally unbelievable. The behaviour portrayed by the police officers is ludicrous and quite insulting to boot. It implies that female officers sleep their way to the top or rely on their looks to achieve success. Laura Best, the female police officer, conducts a witch hunt against Alex just because she thinks her boss fancies her.

The main character, Alex, is whiny and annoying. She spends most of the book feeling sorry for herself and believing that everything that happens is a direct condemnation of her actions. Alex is irritating to all the people trying to help her then grumbles when they walk away. I’m surprised her friends stick around as long as they do.

The male characters are not even two dimensional. Her partner, Patrick, comes across as a controlling bully. The police officer in charge, Greg Turner, is an ineffectual leader who allows himself to be pushed around by DC Best.

Don’t Wake Up is the debut novel of Liz Lawler, a former nurse, who seems to have quite a low opinion of doctors, or is perhaps incredibly jealous of them.

With two dimensional characters, a totally unlikeable main character, a nonsensical ending and an episode of gratuitous violence towards an animal, I wouldn’t recommend this book at all. I’m glad I only paid £2 for it.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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