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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Breathe, and Release is a contemporary thriller written by Katherine Hayton. Elisabet had no memories of the accident that left her lying in a hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit. From what little she was able to make out from the hospital staff, she had crashed her car, leaving her with a battered head that was still plaguing her with headaches. When the nurse shows in the man who is supposedly her husband, she eyes him dispassionately. His face is lined and folded, and his attitude towards her is cool and reserved. Her step-daughter, Kristen, is openly hostile and obviously resents her. When Elisabet is released from the hospital, Graeme drives her to the little house he's rented and expects her to keep house, cook and clean. When she borrows a small amount of money from his wallet to enable her to contact the outside world, his reaction is swift and brutal.
Katherine Hayton's mystery, Breathe, and Release, is a dark psychological thriller that follows the lives of two victimized women: one who is literally imprisoned in a cellar and the other whose loss of memory leaves her at the mercy of a strange and brutal husband. This is a gritty and fast-paced story that keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat throughout the entire tale. I was fascinated by the strange and dysfunctional relationship of Elisabet, Graeme and Kristen, and horrified by the plight of Lillian as she focuses all her strength and determination on staying alive long enough to be rescued. There's also a tidy police procedural going on throughout the story as the police attempt to make sense of the disturbing chain of events that link the lives of these women. Breathe, and Release is a well-written and superbly plotted story that maintains a high level of tension and suspense. It's highly recommended.