Don't Even Breathe

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Pub Date 18 Apr 2019 | Archive Date 02 May 2019
Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer

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Description

From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past.

Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago.

Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act.

Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first?



Also available in the Maggie Novak Thriller series:-

A PLACE CALLED FEAR

THE OTHER CHILD

HER ONLY REGRET

From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past.

Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder...


A Note From the Publisher

Keith Houghton spent too much of his childhood reading science fiction books, mostly by flashlight under the bedcovers, dreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. When he was thirteen, his English teacher—fed up with reading his space stories—told him he would never make it as a science fiction writer. Undeterred, Houghton went on to pen several sci-fi novels and three comedy stage plays while raising a family and holding down a more conventional job. But it wasn’t until he started writing mystery thrillers that Houghton’s dream finally became reality. Though his head is still full of space stories, he keeps his feet planted firmly on the ground, enjoying life and spending quality time with his grandchildren. Houghton is the bestselling author of the three Gabe Quinn thrillers—Killing Hope, Crossing Lines, and Taking Liberty—as well as the stand-alone psychological thrillers No Coming Back, Before You Leap, and Crash. Please visit www.keithhoughton.com to learn more.

Keith Houghton spent too much of his childhood reading science fiction books, mostly by flashlight under the bedcovers, dreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. When he was thirteen, his English...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781503900912
PRICE $15.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 101 members


Featured Reviews

When it comes to murder-mystery crime novels, Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton is up there as one of the good ones. This is a genre I'm always very wary of reading; when written well, murder mysteries can be haunting and grip at your mind. But, unfortunately, this genre is also stock piled with books that just aren't good. Every murder mystery I've ever read at some point in time falls into into the same-old same-old cliches... and this book is no exception to that. Yes, I have admitted this novel does have its cliches, Like the classic "I don't have time for a personal life, I'm all tunnel vision work-only" detective, the "The best friend was the killer the whole time???!" trope, the epilogue/first chapter is the killer's thoughts, and the SUPER classic investigation-forces-detective-to-confront-her-past plot line. And yes, these cliches definitely weigh down this novel But, I will give the author credit still. For one, I was thoroughly entertained reading it, and as soon as Maggie found the "Leave me alone" note I definitely couldn't put the book down. Maggie, the lead detective in the story, is definitely very....intense. But, her character is well balanced out with Nic and Loomis's light personalities that give the comedic relief. One thing I loved about this book was the diversity. The cast wasn't cookie-cutter; it featured characters with vitiligo, characters born in South Africa, characters raised in New York streets, and all different sets of personalities: goth, preppy, intense, light, funny. The diverse set of characters brought so much life into this story, so many different backgrounds and specialties, I loved it. Overall, I would recommend this story. As far as cliches, I have never read a murder mystery that didn't fall into them; and Keith definitely makes it up with fantastic characters and chair gripping fight scenes.

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book. It was a thrilling read. I enjoyed reading it.

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Very good suspense book with a few good twists. Ending was a definite surprise. At times some of the book had to be skimmed because of all the typical police who did what but it didn’t take away from the story Good characters and plot. Would definitely recommend. Thank you netgalley for letting me give an honest review of this book.

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I really enjoyed this, Maggie is a great character, determined to find the killer of her childhood friend despite it making her face her past. Finding her friend who she thought had died 20 years previously makes her question everything she has been through. I really didn't expect the twist at the end!!

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Homicide detective Maggie Novak has caught a murder case, a woman whose body has been badly burned and whom has been identified as Dana Cullen, school counselor. But Maggie notices something on the body, something that makes her believe that the body may actually belong to her old friend from school, Rita, who supposedly burned to death twenty years before. Could Rita have actually been alive all that time? And if so, why is she dead now, in a manner identical to the one that was supposed to have killed her two decades earlier? Houghton captures all the weird and wonderful things we love to hate and hate to love about the Sunshine State, along with a gruesome murder and decades old murder mystery

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Thanks so much for my ARC copy. I loved it! I read it in one day - couldn't put it down! I didn't suspect that endjng! I hope there will be more of Maggie Novak.

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This book was brilliant from beginning to end! Lots of twists and turns. I am sure there will be another book to follow this one, certainly hope so.

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. While the story wasn't anything I haven't read before and follows pretty much the same MO as most mystery, suspense etc books, there was still something tickling good about this book. The best part of the book is the characters that Keith Houghton has created. His lead character, Maggie is intense but he balances here out with two other characters. The premise of the book is familiar to me, a hard homicide detective (Maggie) is called to investigate remains of a young woman. They identify it as a counsler but Maggie is positive its someone from her past who she thought was dead nearly 20 years ago. Her hunt for the truth reminds her of a HS trick and she's off an running on a case that she is took close too and is personal for her. Again, it follows the same format as most mysteries, with the obvious person being the twist, but the characters are interesting to read. Even though you can guess the ending, its still a very entertaining read!

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A suspenseful mystery full of twists. The characters are well developed. The plot is intriguing. Just when you think you have it solved, you're wrong. This is a good start to a new series. I can't wait to see how things develop.

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Don’t Even Breathe is a pacy, addictive thriller with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it that draws you in immediately. The prologue in which a murder is planned was enough to engage my reading senses then the author backs that up with a tense and beautifully plotted novel with little twists and turns leading you to a heart stopping finale. Maggie is a great character and there is a well formed supporting cast with enough misdirection to keep you guessing. Past and present collide and you are hooked in first page to last. A great crime read. I would not be disappointed if this were to be a series. Recommended.

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With a multitude of twists and turns DON'T EVEN BREATHE by Keith Houghton is a thriller with unrelenting action that will keep you reading long into the night. Main character, Maggie Novak is a believable character and is perfectly relatable. She may be an elite homicide detective, or "deathtective," as she calls herself, but she is also a person with a past. Maggie knows she has done terrible things and she wishes she could go back and change them, but knows she can't. Maggie has a man in her life, but she keeps it casual. He is a cute, surfer-type whose day job is working in the mental health field. He has a dog and I love that the dog's name is Spartacus. When Maggie's worst high school memory is brought to light, she has to not only find a murderer, but must also face up to the things she did back then. This story proves that high school may be long over, but often those memories affect the rest of a person's life. I rate DON'T EVEN BREATHE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am thrilled to have found a writer whose work I was unfamiliar with until now. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of his novels. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.

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A well written book and one that I enjoyed very much. One thing I particularly appreciated was that it shows the detectives using modern technology; too often, crime novels seem to be stuck decades in the past when it comes to showing photos to witnesses and things like that. So it felt very realistic and up to date. I did find some of the fight scenes a bit repetitive, and I saw the 'twist' coming from miles away. Nevertheless, I would definitely read another book in the same series.

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This book was right up my street. I was engrossed from the very start an couldn’t put it down. I could never predict what was going to happen or what way the plot was going which is a good thing as it keeps you wanting more. Having said that the ending was a bit of a let down. I was really expecting a great ending with plot twists I hadn’t even thought of not your average plot ending that you have read before. It had the potential to be great. On another note loved this authors style of writing an I would definitely read more from this author. Still a good read but just a let down when it came to the ending...

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A gripping and intense read. I was very excited to start this one since the blurb had fascinated me. It was an easy book to read, the characters were interesting and I wanted to know more about them, the more the story went on. I would recommend this book to my friends!

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I loved the detail and well developed characters. The story does make you realize how a high school prank can affect an entire army of people. I did see the end coming but did not want to put the book down!

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I've read all of Mr. Houghton's books, and must say he's among my favorite authors. Why? Because all the boxes on my "must have" list are always checked. Intricate, intelligent plot? Check. Evocative characters? Check. Believable, logical dialogue? Check. Satisfying ending? Check. What are you waiting for? Go read it!

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Great book will be reading other books by this author. Will also recommend this book to others. Great read! 5***

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I have read all of Keith's books. All are well written and keep your attention from the very beginning. This book is no exception. Excellent in my opinion.

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Whether an unpopular opinion or no, I feel that Don't Even Breathe could have been much better than it is. The author relied heavily on a confession from Maggie late in the final act but instead of being drawn into the alluded mystery I grew irritated and eventually bored by all the clunky mentions of what had happened years ago. The reveal was too little too late and the expected twist too nonsensical to take seriously. I prefer at least a reasonable amount of believability in police procedural novels. This killer would have needed supernaturally good luck for this series of events to work, as well as a terribly inept police force and medical professionals working the case. None of these options makes for gripping reading. I did find my immersion broken often, and wish that the more natural relationships between characters, such as Loomis and Maggie, had been allowed to shine. While I'm sure there is a market for it and others will surely love this book, I found it all a little too far fetched to be really enjoyable.

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A relatively decent police-procedural by Keith Houghton. The prologue is gripping and succinctly draws the reader in from line one. However, the pace of plot slows dramatically going into the first few chapters as more focus is placed on detailing police work and internal dialog. The characters are decently developed but lack a natural cohesion with one another. It feels as if the character’s description versus their actual portrayal is in conflict with one another. In addition, veteran readers of this genre may find Houghton’s foreshadowing presumptuous, leading to an easy depiction of the plot twist. Overall an okay read. 3 stars. Thank you to #NetGalley for this ARC of #DontEvenBreathe in exchange for an honest review.

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Whoa! 5 stars for this one that really had me floored. Nothing like a brilliant thriller with spine-chilling events! There's nothing like a detective with shadowy past and a point to prove. Maggie Novak is one kick-ass detective! All characters in this book are so damn interesting, I couldn't keep this one down! It has all the salient points of a solid good thriller: Murder, check. Nail-biting suspense, check. An extraordinary detective, check. A remarkable partner, check. A good mix of freaky & adorable characters, check A well-written, twisted plot, check. A you-didn't-see-it-coming ending, check! I eagerly look forward to more of Ms Novak. Hands down one of the best I've picked from Netgalley. This book has definitely piqued my interest in Keith Houghton's other books and sure as hell I'll be reading them as soon as I can get my hands on them. I'm very happy I picked this up. Very unique of the book to have chapter headings! Thanks to Netgalley, Keith Houghton & the publishers for an arc.

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A fairly enjoyable read. The writing could be a little clunky at times, and I had the ending figured out at about 75% through, but prior to that it was nice and twisty. Looooots of exposition after the climax that I could have done without-sometimes less is more, and I prefer not to have my explanations spoon-fed. But overall, a solid and easy read. I wouldn’t say no to another Maggie Novak novel!

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I don't know what it was, but this cover just drew me in. I found the main protagonist really likeable with her sassy attitude. The writing was easy to read, it flowed well. I found myself just reading on without a second thought. Great book, will be looking out for more. Thanks to NetGalley, Keith Houghton and the publishers.

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DON'T EVEN BREATHE is the real deal! A new set of characters is introduced and I hope they will be written about in the future. They work wonderfully together. This plotline grabs you within the first five pages and keeps tugging at you throughout the book. Over and over I thought I knew where the story was headed only to be totally surprised. Last night I had to finish the book, I had to know the ending even if it came at 3:45 am!! It was well worth the loss of sleep.

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Don't even breathe is a fast paced crime thriller from Keith Houghton. The characters are funny and well thought out. The reader is engrossed from the first line itself and The mystery and pace of the narrative keeps the pages of the first half flowing even though the second half was a bit predictable and repetitive. Maggie Novak is an experienced detective who is known to cover all her bases and keep her focus in the worst of times, but when she finds a dead body of her long lost friend who was supposed to be dead 20 years ago, her past comes tumbling down. While trying to untangle this particularly gruesome case, can Maggie keep herself safe from her past.!? Predictable yet enjoyable, Dont even breathe was an interesting read which had both dark intricacies and humorous dialogues. My rating : 3/5

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2.5 stars I'm not quite sure about how to feel about this book. I enjoyed the whole mystery-solving thing and that first chapter certainly hooked me right in, but ultimately there were some thing that bugged me. Firstly, I don't think the writing was bad, per se, but I don't believe it was for me. Although, it surprised me at some parts and I actually was enjoying it for those said parts, at times it felt too choppy for me and, although I can see where the author was headed with that, I don't think I liked that. Some parts were convenient and the ending kind of felt rushed and mediocre if you think about all the set up that was going on. The thing that I didn't like most, though, was the main character, Maggie. Not only did I not like her as a person, but I felt that if she were such a good cop we would have been shown that? To me she was alright at best and I kept getting put off this book because of her towards the end of the story.

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Don’t Even Breathe is a pacy, addictive thriller with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it that draws you in immediately. The prologue in which a murder is planned was enough to engage me then the author backs that up with a tense and beautifully plotted novel with little twists and turns leading you to a heart stopping finale. Maggie is a great character and there is a well formed supporting cast with enough misdirection to keep you guessing. Past and present collide and you are hooked in first page to last. A great crime read. I would not be disappointed if this were to be a series.

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This was the only book by Keith Houghton I had not read and it did not disappoint. The story is interesting and the characters have depth. I did work out the twist half way through but still was quite a good read.

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This thriller starts thrilling with a gripping prologue that draws you in. The mysteries of the past make for some interesting possible motives, but ultimately the solution is too far-fetched, Maggie's guilt-trip not as believable as it should be. It seems as if the author was trying to put some much discussed issues like bullying and bias against homosexuals into a story that ultimately has nothing to do with these issues.

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A classic crime suspense novel. I always enjoy a good crime book with a strong female lead character. The author did a great job describing Maggie’s fight scenes. I could completely envision them. I struggled a little bit with the criminal and why it actually happened. Seemed a bit unbelievable. The reasoning and the crimes just didn’t seem to match. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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From the first sentence! I was hooked from the first page. I love this book. My criteria for a 5 star book is not arbitrary. The book has to grab me right away, getting to know the main characters, plot building with surprising twists and end with a complete ending. It does not leave me hanging. This book meets everyone! I had to know how a murder was going to happen. The characters developed with the plot. Every time it seemed that I was being lead in the direction of "who," another twist occurred. This continued to the end. Twists dropping like watching dominoes fall. When I was given this book to read and review, I was excited to read another book by Keith Houghton. I have read all books by him. All 5 stars for these books from my Goodreads page, starting in 2016. I expected another and was not disappointed. Usually I would have finished this book in a day. ,i was not able to do that with this book. During the time I received the book and just finished, my husband's mother died and 2 weeks later my mother died. At times when my brain and heart where on overload, i needed some alone time. I picked up this book and read. It drew me in and I could be transported away for awhile.

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This is definitely a 'you can't put this book down until it's finished' type of read. From the start I loved the whitty characters, comic relief and gripping mystery that was unfolding. There was something about the style of writing that really drew me in, Keith Houghton has an amazing tone that had me gobbling up page after page to get to the end. I loved the story line and the character development of Maggie - but the only fault I can find was small loose ends of her interactions with her personal life (steve, her sister, etc) or the story line of other characters like Tyler and Lindy. If this becomes a series, I think that leaves it open wide for more development in those areas. It definitely was an awesome read, and i recommend it for anyone looking for a thrilling mystery. Thanks to Netgalley and Keith Houghton for this awesome read!

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I really loved this book. I’m going to admit, I love all of Keith Houghton’s books. This book like his others, grabs you from the start. I didn’t want to put it down. He makes the characters real. You know what they’re thinking and feeling. And, be prepared for some surprises. Enjoy!

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Detective Maggie Novak sees a burnt body on a beach who looks exactly like Rita, her best friend when they were kids. Rita, along with her entire family, died in a house fire 20 years ago. They had all been identified, so how could this be Rita? Did Rita somehow survive the fire? If so, why has she been hiding all these years? If not, who is this person? Follow along as Maggie uncovers the truth about the body on the beach.

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The start of a new series I am anticipating with Det Maggie Novak and colleagues. I have not read this author before but reading this book would prompt me to seek out other books he has written. Maggie in particular is a great character and there is a well formed supporting cast with enough misdirection to keep you guessing. This is a book where past and present firmly collide (with a bang! and I was certainly left hooked from the very first page to last.

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I have read all of Keith Houghton’s books and they just get better and better. I could not put this down and sometimes had to purposely put it away from me so I could get on with things like life and sleep. The story is brilliantly written from start to finish ( I hate finishing a good book ). If you want a really good thriller this is a must READ.

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Loved this book! The good I loved the story and The twists I loved that it touched on high school bullying from an adult perspective. Don't we all have things from that time that make us sad, or affect our behavior now? I thought the characters were 3 dimensional and I was rooting for them. The bad The surfer bum psychiatrist boyfriend confused me. Why even bring him in? And I felt like there was more to that story that I was missing..like in a previous book? I debated between 4 and 5 stars. But since I had trouble putting it down, I rounded up. Thanks to net gallery for an advance copy to read.

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One of the better murder mysteries that are being released at the moment. A real page turner, got my heart racing and in places sat on the edge of my seat and holding my breath. Tapping my kindle faster and faster. I read this book in one sitting, I HAD TO KNOW. Hence I was reading late into the night. This book is full of cliches but in a good way and it certainly did not spoil my reading pleasure. Almost five stars and highly recommended. I would like to thank the author, Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.

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Don't Even Breathe was addictive from the beginning to the end. Full of Suspense and twists that kept me reading long into the night!

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Don't Even Breathe is a great thriller with lots of twists. This is the first I have read by this author and I will be reading much more. I enjoyed the writing and the characters.

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Enjoyable thriller with good characters,a fast paced plot and some surprising twists. Bitchy young girls and what happens when they grow up.

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I was very excited to read this book as I have read others by Keith Houghton and loved them but unfortunately this one fell short for me. The beginning started out great and I was super excited but then the book slowed down until a little more than half way it picked up again and was a page turner. I know from previous books by this author there a twist at the end and usually you can't see it coming but in this book the twist and ending was predictable. Character development was okay but I didn't fall in love for the main character, Maggie but I did enjoy her partner Loomis. Because I've liked other books by this author, I would give this series another try.

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The story is about Maggie a Florida homicide detective trying to figure out who really killed Rita? The trouble is that Rita her high school friend had died twenty years ago in a fire. So it’s Maggies job to figure out what really happened? It is a great book with twists and turns and a surprising ending. Definitely grabs you and does not let go until the end. I highly recommend this addictive book - Don’t Even Breathe!

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Same old cliches that so, so many thrillers fall into - however, Don't Even Breathe is still an exciting read/ride. Maggie Novack is a Florida homicide detective who finds the charred remains of a woman who Maggie feels like is her childhood friend - who died in a fire 20 years prior. There's flashbacks to high school and the mean things that girls do to each other. This is a cliched story but it's still worth reading. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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One of those books you just can’t put down, twists, turns and entirely unexpected happenings. Love Maggie the complicated, dedicated to justice cop. She has past demons to confront though. The perpetrator is not a nice person at all but you can see why they set out on a road to revenge. So many possible suspects has you guessing right up till the very end. Super read.

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I've loved each one of Keith's books I've read and this one is no exception. Great new character, Maggie, and it will be good see how see develops in future books. The book keeps you guessing, with a great twist in the tale. Definitely looking forward to the next book.

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Homicide Detective Maggie Novak is called to the site of a horrific crime - a woman's body has been found charred. But when she hears the woman's identity, Maggie spots things that tell her it is instead her best friend Rita from over 20 years ago, who supposedly died in a home fire with her entire family. And Maggie also remembers why her friendship with Maggie ended all those years ago ~ a cruel prank that she pulled on Rita.But how is it possible that Rita is here now? Well done mystery that kept me guessing till the very end. Thank you #Netgalley!

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My rating: 2.5/5 After seeing the attention grabbing cover and title, Don’t Even Breathe, I thought I was in for a scary, spooky story, but this was not the case. I would better describe Don’t Even Breathe as a police procedural. Unfortunately, instead of keeping me on my toes, I found myself often bored while reading the lengthy inner dialog and felt the characters’ relationships were unnatural and forced. There were many mentions to events that happened years ago thrown in in a way that made the story feel jumbled. I had a hard time connecting to the book and ended up skimming scenes not pertinent to the plot. I also found myself growing irritated that the police didn’t think of possibilities that seemed almost obvious early on. The ending was a little far-fetched for my liking and there was an overly long explanation at the end of the book that really was unnecessary, given that the climax was clear enough. It was not my favorite book, but every reader’s experience and tastes are different and what might not be for me, may be for you.

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Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton is one of the best thrillers I've read this year! I have never read any of his other books before so I was pleasantly surprised. Maggie Novak is a homicide detective in Florida. She is called to the scene of a horrific murder off of a trail the local teens call Devil's Landing. She is shocked when she recognizes the burned corpse of her high school best friend, Rita. Even more shocking is the fact that Rita supposedly died in a house fire with her family when she was 17! Is this really Rita? Where has she been all these years? The ID they find on Rita has a different name. To find the answers Maggie must dig deep into her dark past. This was an exciting read and each chapter left me wanting more. I read feverishly to get to the thrilling conclusion. Definitely put this one on your TBR list! Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an early read of the new Keith Houghton novel. I thought it was good but not up to his Gabe Quinn outings - which I loved. There were some interesting characters and a few great twists towards the end but it was almost as if the 'seasoning' was lacking. Nevertheless I, as always, will look forward to the next adventure provided by Mr Houghton.

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new exciting detective series and as usual houghton delivers, with a fast paced thriller with twists and turns, that make it hard for you to put the book down.

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I didn't really know what to expect going into this, the first novel in the Maggie Novak series, but I was very impressed. There are surprises in every chapter and putting it down comes with great difficulty. Maggie is a likeable, affable protagonist who certainly knows her own mind and develops at her own pace. The plot is well constructed and complex but not overly so and the fast pace and clear, readable style will make this a hit with crime aficionados. Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer for an ARC.

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I was good and geared up to intensely dislike this author when I first started this book. It opens with 2 teenagers headed out to the woods, the young man with murder on his mind apparently and this stunning description of the young lady: "her long smooth legs seemed to bend in the middle without any hint of knees, and her elbows seemed equally inconspicuous. Lindy Munson was a living, breathing Barbie doll and although her curves were subtle, she knew how to make the boys notice them." *Insert eye roll of MASSIVELY EPIC PROPORTIONS. Oh. Great. Another male author that's going to reduce the women in his book to tits and ass, with ridiculous trite descriptions like her boobs jiggled like bags of jello and she stared off vacuously in the distance while her butt sashayed blahblahblasayblah. *Insert I was wrong, and I'm glad I kept reading. Our main protagonist, Maggie, is a damn gem of a detective. She's strong, persistent, influenced by her flaws, but not destroyed by them. Houghton does a really fantastic job of differentiating his characters with truly unique voices and personalities. A lot of authors just aren't good at that. In a lot of books, the characters blend together and they have to continuously insert descriptions prior to dialogue for you to keep straight who's who. Maggie Novak is her own person, as are the other players in this series (since this was marked as Novak Book #1, I'm truly hoping for more to follow). Don't Even Breathe is a piece of art. Novak finds a burned body, and a purse nearby with a license. The picture on that license turns out to be the face of a woman she knows for a fact burned in a house fire 20 years before. She knows because they were best friends before a horrible prank tore them apart. The name on the license isn't her friends name though, and what follows is a cat and mouse game of switched identities, a frame job, more dead bodies and a kidnapping. This book is a twisty turny thriller and was a heart racer to read. Right up there with the best authors in this genre, cannot wait to read more from this author!

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I read Before You Leap recently - excellent book, enjoyed the writing. I was excited to read this book - and wasn't disappointed. Some areas lagged but overall I was very pleased with this book. The ending had an incredible twist I enjoyed and did not see coming. Excellent read.

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Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton Paperback, 304 pages Expected publication: April 18th 2019 by Thomas & Mercer Goodreads synopsis: From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past. Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago. Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act. Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first? *** 5 Stars This was a really good book. I marveled as the detective did the work to figure out why the victim she was sure she knew had a different name than on the driver’s license in her pocket. This was intricately detailed and amazing. Also a new author for me, so I am glad to find a good one to check out more of their books. I thought the ending might be the usual suspects but I was genuinely surprised by how original the ending was. Good job! The writing was stellar and almost like I was watching a movie than reading a book. Spine-tingling suspense at its finest. Definitely a thriller to check out. You won’t be disappointed. I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

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This was more of a slow burn murder mystery than a fast paced thriller. I don’t know if I would even consider this a thriller but the element of mystery was thick throughout the whole novel. The writing style was simple but engaging and it hooked me in from the first chapter; however, Maggie’s narrative was filled with heavy introspection that often times brought the pace down to a crawl. From the beginning, you get the sense that the plot is more complex than what it seems on the surface, and I was constantly left wondering how the different storylines would tie in together. Maggie’s character was very intense. She was a typical detective, strong and determined with her focus reserved solely for work, and who allowed herself little to no time for a social life. While I found most of her relationships–whether with her boyfriend or father–to be strained and a little detached, I really enjoyed her partnership with Loomis and I thought they made a great team. His character brought a welcome levity to the story and I looked forward to the more active scenes that involved him, and less of Maggie’s inner dialogue. For much of the novel, there were hints of a terrible incident in her teen years that changed everything in her life and was (what she believed to be) the cause of all the ensuing devastation. This was so built up that when the incident was explained, I was disappointed with its execution–it was vague and patchy and fell short of my expectations. I'm unsure if I was entirely convinced of her detective work either. It seemed that half the time a second party would be filling in the blanks and connecting the dots for her. But what I found most surprising (and a little irritating) was that, for as re-known a detective as she was, she didn’t realize how her theory of ‘whodunit’ made very little sense. Everything clicked for me at the 80% mark and although the showdown itself felt a bit rushed, I thought Keith Houghton did a good job pulling it all together for a reveal that was a little surprising but not entirely unpredictable. It was a good lesson in how certain acts in high school, particularly related to bullying, can spread its poison well into adulthood. This was my first read by Keith Houghton and while it was filled with the typical elements of a detective murder mystery, I enjoyed it enough to be want to pick up another of his books. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publishers Thomas & Mercer for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Really enjoyed this. I was engrossed in the storyall the way through.. Would definately ready more by the same author. Can't wait for the next one.

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An edge of your seat mystery thriller. Maggie is trying to solve a murder that has personal connections for her. The author does an excellent job of displaying the menace and evil of the killer. With each word you read and page you turn, you feel the tension increase as the danger lurks nearer. There is nail biting suspense as you question the motives of each character and wonder are they killer or victim. This is a thrilling start to a new series that shows excellent potential.

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Love the way the book draws you in so quickly, great characters and the subtle twists, another fantastic book a must read, can’t wait fir the next in series

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Fantastic thriller! I couldn’t put this one down! My first novel by Keith Houghton and I can’t wait to see what else he has in store. I could t breathe waiting to see what would happen next!

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** spoiler alert ** 3.5 stars This was an entertainining read. Never have I heard homicide detectives called deathtectives before,and I'm wondering why it's not a thing!!! I found a lot of this book implausible,not least the fact that as soon as it was said "Rita and her family died" ,I was thinking witness protection,yet it took the police 3/4 of the book to get there. Would you really move back to the area you'd been removed from? Would you harbour a grudge that far from childhood?? Do I care? Not really. Because I liked our main characters,and I liked the style of writing,and it was decent paced and I didn't guess who the murderer was straight away. That's pretty much what I'm looking for in a book. So I'm happy.

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A good book with everything you want from a crime book, intrigue, suspense, shocks and crime ! A definite read.

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I really enjoyed this book. Strong characters and a lot of suspense. This is a well written page turner. I hope that there will be more of Maggie to come. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.

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This was a great mystery and one that definitely kept me flipping the pages. I couldn't figure out who done it and I kept chasing the same line as the MC Maggie, trying to get one step in front of the bad guy. This would have been a solid 4 star book if it hadn't all been a bit too.....neat? There were just a huge whole string of coincidences that held the whole plot together and I just couldn't quite make the leap with the story like the Deathtectives did. I did enjoy Maggie and her struggle to be who she is now and try to make up for who she used to be. I liked the plot and it moved quickly. I'd definitely read more from this author.

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From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past. Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago. Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act. Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first? Don't Even Breathe is a great thriller with lots of twists. You are thrown straight into action from the beginning. Lots of suspense and twists that keep you gripped until those final pages. Love the new characters and can't wait to see how they develop and evolve. Looking forward to more of this series. Recommend reading. I would like to thank the author, Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley for the ARC.

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This is a well written and entertaining story, full of twists and mysteries. There are some logical problems, but a very good plot for a first in a series.

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The author wrote a thriller that started with a bang and just kept going! The twists kept coming, so I couldn't put it down. I cannot wait to read more from this author!

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Dont move. In fact, don't even breathe. Both a quote from the book and how I felt while reading this book, I couldn't look away or stop thinking about it. An enthralling, fast paced story from the start right to the finish. I always find a thriller book more interesting when I'm rooting for the detective to solve the case and that was how I felt about Maggie, I was 100% team Maggie from the start. There also aren't that many secondary characters in the book which I really liked too, the story doesn't get confusing but wow you get so many twists and red herrings. Although the author has made it sound like this is just book 1 in a series with Maggie as the main character, you get a proper ending and conclusion to the case this book is about which is always a plus for me. An earlier contender for the best book I'll read this year for sure. 5/5

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Summary:    Detective Maggie Novak and Ed Loomis find a charred body in the woods. Det. It disturbs Novak looking at the body. The victim is identified as Dana Cullen, a school counselor. But for Maggie, she knew her Rita her best friend from high school. But Rita died in a fire accident 20 years ago. Maggie becomes emotionally obsessed with the case. Will she be able to solve the mystery around Rita or Dana’s life?   My take on the book.    I finished this book in one sitting and that’s a rarity for me. The prologues entice you and keep you hooked to the book from the start.    This is my first book by the author. I did not know what to expect.  And it was brilliant.   Maggie Novak is the lead detective. The character was a typical female lead we see on TV or read in a book. She’s all engrossed in her work, not giving time to her relationships. But both the detectives are likable characters. There’s good depth given to most of the characters. There’s some amount of background info for each (recurring, I suppose) characters.   The book sails through the chapters with engrossing suspense and mystery. The pace of the book is perfect. The author has done a good job with the setting. And how each of these elements reminded Maggie of her school days. The words painted a perfect setup of Orange County.   That brings me to the subtle theme about teenage bullying and how sometimes it put a scar for life. Sometimes as a kid we don’t realize how strong our words and actions can hurt. But the author good job in highlighting the topic.    The ending was a complete surprise. I am sure readers who are crime fiction fans will eventually realize the culprit but only towards the end.    This book will not disappoint you.    My rating for the book 4 out of 5 stars.  Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for giving the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I loved this book. It was a great, fast-paced thriller with a fantastic main character. The main character was well developed. The ending was quick and twisty with a great culmination. I would definitely recommend this book and will be looking up more Keith Houghton books.

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DNF 40% I was sucked in with the first chapter. I thought it was creepy and eerie and setting us up for an intense read. But by chapter 2 I felt I wasn't reading the same book. I kept trying to get into it but really found the mystery uninteresting. The dialogue between the cops is also a bit tacky for my taste -- like a TV police procedural, which pulled me out of the fiction. I just couldn't get invested in the characters or the plot.

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I read this book in 2 days , I would have finished it sooner but life for in the way. This was a well written fast paced thriller with plenty of twists to keep you interested . I loved the partnership between Novak and Loomis . A five star read that I would recommend

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What a good read. Maggie Novak is a detective with memories of her past haunting her. Her best friend and whole family die in a house fire. 20 years later her dead friend turns up, dead again. Maggie has to explore her past and find out what has happened to her friend and her family.with many twists and turns this book makes you think. If you enjoy a good mystery then this is for you. Thank you netgalley for letting me read and review this ARC.

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A new series featuring Maggie Novak as a homicide detective in Florida where the plot evolves around things that happened 20 years earlier when Maggie was 17 years old. For most of the story we are told tiny glimpses of something awful having happened that now has consequences all these years later. But that’s all we get - tiny little hints and then finally in the last chapter everything is revealed. There’s so many scenarios with a lot of them being musings of Maggie of what could have happened that it’s almost impossible to keep track of what is real or not. It is a quick read and keeps boredom at bay but that’s the best I can say about this book. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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"LINDY MUNSON MUST DIE" "Long before she’d agreed to go on a date with him, Tyler had known he would kill Lindy Munson. One day. Somehow. Preferably slowly. For years, whenever Tyler had thought of the girl with the sallow complexion and the snow-white hair, he’d fantasized about doing something bad to her—probably from as far back as the sixth grade and the very first time she’d caught him studying her from across the school cafeteria. Long-legged Lindy, with her teasing personality and her annoying popularity. A throat that was ripe for strangling. Back then, Tyler had meant nothing to her. Not even an irritation. Something less than human . He’d been invisible, her gaze penetrating right through him, as though he didn’t exist. It was a look of absolute indifference that had gobbled up every bit of his universe, until all that had remained was Lindy the Langolier eating into his brain. Tyler couldn’t recall the exact moment he’d decided to kill the most popular girl in school. The cafeteria incident had been the first of many, with Lindy’s continued aloofness consuming him through the years. What would it take to make her notice him? " Tyler had asked himself this question countless times during the past four years of high school, usually when he was lying awake at night and visualizing all the ways he could make Lindy see him. He’d lost track of how many abduction scenarios he’d planned out in fine detail, and what he’d do to her once they were finally alone together." ******** Don't Even breathe  by Craig Houghton starts out loaded with suspence and continues to build to a breath holding, heart stopping, terrifying conclusion! I enjoyed the storyline, the characters, especially Florida homicide detective Maggie Novac, and the twists and unexpected events in in this book. This is a true psychological thriller! This is my first experience with this author thanks to NetGalley and I'll be interested in reading more of his works. With thanks to NetGalley, Thomas and Mercer publishing, and Craig Houghton for this advanced digital copy for me to read and review.

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Interesting premise but the book itself was only so so, light reading, overly gory and the emotional storyline didn't carry the weight it should have to have it been meaningful. I also really dislike the formula of inside the killer or possible killer's mind as a first chapter and then on to the story with the main character.

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Edge of your seat mystery thriller with plenty of twists and turns. This was a real page turner from beginning to end. I loved the strong female lead. The author dies a great job showing the true evil of the killer as well. The plot was originally, the writing was very well done and the book over all was menacing. With each page you read your feelings the tension building until you reach the heart stopping ending.

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Having previously read an earlier work ‘Crash’, which I loved, I had high hopes for this new novel and was not disappointed - it could even be a better written, deeper thriller. Thrown right into the mystery, it kept gettin better and better.

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Thank you for sharing the book on NetGallery! This book was very interesting but a little hard to read. I was expecting something different instead it was very police-filled. Monologues were too long and I found myself skipping some words or lines while reading to get to the next part... Overall a good book, but not the best, hence the 4 stars.

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Maggie Novak is a detective in Orlando. She is called in to a murder in the woods. When she finds the body badly burned she also finds that is her childhood friend that she thought had died years ago. This novel was so interesting and with so much action. I am so glad to hear there will be more stories with Maggie Novak.

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Brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy. Make sure you clear your day as you won't be able to put down "Don't Even Breathe "

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I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This mystery/thriller novel brings to mind the reasons why I feel in love with the genre in the first place: the high intensity that sits on the heart throughout every page; the heart-pumping questioning the theorizing that takes place from beginning to end; the satisfying and yet sometimes puzzling endings that make you want to read more from this character when the ride ends. This book hit all of these notes and more for me as a lover of mystery/thrillers. Keith Houghton started the story off with a bang and ended with one as well. The plot was captivating and interesting. Towards the end it became a little messy with some confusing details, but overall the story was clear. My biggest worry about male authors writing female characters, especially ones that are supposed to be strong headed, is that the male authors will play the females too safe. Houghton did a phenomenal job with Maggie, who was both head strong and had her soft spots too. She has made mistakes, and owns them, but keeps them secret from others because she's insecure about people perceive her in one way or another, like many women do. She was interesting, dynamic, and the true driving force within this story. The atmosphere within the novel was just right for me: intense, but not suffocating to the point where all I am focusing on is the atmosphere. Things felt intense where they needed to be, and didn't where the intensity wasn't needed. It was a great balance that is often hard to do with thriller novels, which are expected to be at 100% intensity every second until the end. Overall, with a minor hiccup towards the end, "Don't Even Breathe" is a wonderful start to a series that I will definitely be looking for the next book of. Houghton's writing has inspired me with my own mystery/thriller, and is truly a great example of ones that are done well within the modern writing realm. Rating: 4/5 stars

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So glad to be given the opportunity to read this book before it was published. Excellent ! Everything seems so obvious, all the clues point to one person as the murderer. Is he or is he being set up ? The victim looks very familiar to the detective, but it can't be who she thinks it is since that person died 20 years ago in a fire. A full on fast paced murder mystery. Loved it !

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This author tied the past and present together in a twisty unforgettable way. I loved the character of Maggie and her investment in this case. Get ready for a roller coaster ride. Many thanks to Thomas Mercer and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was an excellent tale with a great storyline. The characters were likable and this was a page turner. I would recommend this book.

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I absolutely loved reading "Don't Even Breathe!" This book had it all, for me. It had a complex and intelligent plot, memorable characters, believable and logical dialogue and a hugely fulfilling and satisfying conclusion. I am so delighted that I have discovered another favourite author! Very highly recommended. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel at my own request from the publisher via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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3.5 stars I liked the book. Seemed a little predictable and lagged in the middle. Will read more by this author.

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This was a fantastic tale with a great story. The characters were good and this was a real page turner. twists and turns a pleanty! I would recommend this book.

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I wanted very much to love this book. The main characters were connectable and enjoyable. The story starts on good footing but never reaches the finish line. Most of what I want to say about the book would be to basically give spoilers and I try to avoid that as much as I can. Essentially it’s yet another version of King’s “Carrie”, a concept entirely too predictable in my opinion but with bullying being a current hot topic I’m not surprised to see it popping up again. What really throws this version off is the censored style of writing. For instance, at one point a murder has a gun pointed at a naked woman and as ‘his gaze moves up and down her body” his hand moves toward his crotch. Five minutes later, same lascivious murder tells woman angrily to shut the “heck” up. In a few short paragraphs we go from Rated R to PG. By 80% I had figured out the who, what, where, when, and why. What surprised me was that none of the story characters had done so. There are multiple reveals but let’s focus just on the crime that starts this story, the dead body of a friend who should have been dead twenty years before. STOP. At the end comes a big reveal about this woman, but the story has a glaring error that no medical examiner with so much as a high school education would have missed. If as you’re sorting clues you happen to notice the error as I did then reading the rest of the book is quite a yawn fest and eye rolling-ly awful. From that point on it reads like a young adult novel. I wish I could give it a better review but it just couldn’t hold up under scrutiny. Thank you to NetGalley and Publishers for allowing me to read this title. My apologies for delayed review. My health is still not well.

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Good, quick read. DON'T EVEN BREATHE will make you think about any cruel thing you did in high school and you will want to seek out the victim and apologize for your misdeeds. How the past comes back to haunt us in unexpected ways. Lots of great plot twists and Sheriff Maggie Novak is a good , strong protagonist. I look forward to seeing her again.

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One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!

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I found the premise of this book very interesting. A detective is called to a crime scene on Halloween, with the scene seeming like from a horror movie, only to discover that the true horror lies in the victim. With a secret from twenty years ago, and a victim that should never even been alive to this day, this story was promising. While I did enjoy reading it, I couldn’t help but feel like there were some things that were left a little less than satisfactory. And the characters could’ve used some polishing up, I somehow couldn’t connect with them with the intensity that I wished to fully enjoy this book. All in all, this was a good read, one that’s easy and quick if you’re in the mood for a thriller. I won’t say this was light hearted, sine there were issues that the characters dealt with that are quite something in real life too. I’m adding three spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.

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Elevator pitch: The past you try to leave behind will take you down. What I liked: Plot! I repeat it: the plot. It is refreshing to read a thriller that leans heavily on its narrative construct and delivers a real puzzle. The first two chapters offer a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and watching how logically it all comes together is gratifying. A lot of thrillers these days rely too much on the psychological struggle of the protagonist and forsake the story. Don't even Breathe delves into the guilt and shame of the very sympathetic Homicide detective Maggie Novak, without forgetting to build a fictional case, not relying solely on the troubles of the hero. Maggie Novak is a straight arrow, competent, and determined, The return of a capable female lead. Hooray! The beginning of Don't even Breathe is the gripping part, the story tapers a bit towards the wrap-up, but the last action scene has enough tension and evil characters loaded with malice to slide in between the goalpost ( I guess I still have football on the brain). What it is about: Homicide detective Maggie Novak and her partner get called to a crime scene, where they find the charred remains of a female. Soon Maggie discovers these belong of her former best friend in high school. The problem: Rita died in a fire twenty years ago. And how come a budding psychopath and the most popular girl in school, he intended to kill, were the ones that discovered this body?

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An addictive thriller with a plot line that draws you in and leaves you wanting more A tense read but well worth it

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This fast-paced, well-plotted crime book was the perfect read for a lazy Thursday. I really enjoyed Maggie’s character and enjoyed following her as she raced to solve a mysterious death in her hometown.

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This book started out really well, fast paced and completely engrossing. However, it tapered off significantly and I found myself skimming the text to get to the end. It was just a bit wordy and seemed to drag on. Good twist at the end, i think I would read another book by this author.

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A clever police procedural with multiple twists and turns, this was a fast and fun read. While I did predict several of the twists I still enjoyed myself along the way, and I would read more featuring this character, Maggie Novak or other books by this author. I enjoyed the Halloween setting and the way that the past and present timelines of the story came together. I read and reviewed a copy courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton. This is a crime thriller about Maggie Novak, a cop who comes upon a woman who has been found dead and burnt. This is a normal day working as a homicide detective, but when she sees the ID of the victim, she realizes that she knew this woman. Not only that, but she was her best friend who died twenty years ago... Considering how many crime dramas are out there, I still enjoyed this. It was easy to read and had all of the fun bumps and turns that you hope for in a crime mystery. I can't say that it changed my life or blew my mind, but I'm going to be happy to pick up the next one.

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There is nothing better than reading a story with a great character and Maggie was a great one. I was able to connect with her and the story held me on every page until I finished it. I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a fast thriller read.

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This one wasn't for me unfortunately. These sorts of books are a let down recently. I need to be more selective in what I request going forward.

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More of a police procedural rather than a gripping thriller like it makes out. Really disappointing. This really needs more of a description in the blurb to determine the tone for this book.

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I really enjoyed this book, gripped me from the first page, loads of twists and turns, highly recommend it x

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First, a big thank you to the publishers at Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley for this ARC of Don’t Even Breathe. I must apologize for the extreme lateness of this review. Don’t Even Breathe was released in 2019, but I wasn’t able to read it then. I finished this in just a day though, so I think that will tell you how much I truly enjoyed it. Don’t Even Breathe takes place in Florida through the eyes of Detective (Deathtective) Maggie Novak. On Halloween night, a murder interrupts her night out with her sister and niece and takes her to a place called Devil’s Landing. It’s here that she begins her trip back into the past, 20 years past to be exact. Full of twists and turns up the wazoo, you really won’t see this ending coming! Even though you think you have everything figured out in the first chapter, you’ll find that you’re wrong, or are you? I was glued to my seat while reading Don’t Even Breathe. I especially liked the fact that the entire book was told from one single viewpoint, only because so many books are done with several viewpoints these days, which can sometimes be exhausting and confusing. The story was smooth sailing with one narrator. I loved her perspective on things as well. She was someone I could easily respect and look up to. 4/5 stars, and again, I deeply apologize for the lateness of my review.

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Once caught up in the intrigue, Houghton pulls you through the story, like a trawlerman draws in all the fish caught in his net. An entertaining read

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Not read any of this author before, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved this! A well written, and thought out rollercoaster of a thriller!

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