Over the course of three novels, Alex Finlay has quickly established himself as the go-to author for propulsive and escapist summer reading thrillers. His 2024 release, If Something Happens to Me continues this tradition and capitalizes on his skill at writing twisty plotlines with fast-paced prose.

Ryan Richardson is the central character in If Something Happens to Me. Five years ago, Ryan’s girlfriend, Ali, was forcibly taken from the car where she and Ryan were having a romantic evening. Ryan was violently hit over the head and only remembers fleeting moments of the scene and vehemently denies any involvement in her disappearance.

Unfortunately, the authority’s focus and public opinion was not in Ryan’s favor, turning his life into a living hell. Ryan makes the choice to change his name and distance himself from the horrible memories. Until one day, on a trip in Italy, he gets the news that Ali’s car has been discovered submerged in a lake not far from where the kidnapping occurred. In the car, two dead bodies and a note in Ali’s handwriting saying “If something happens to me…” As if that weren’t enough to open old wounds, Ryan sees in the distance, within the Italian crowds, the face of the man he only briefly remembers seeing that fateful night when Ali vanished.

Was he right all along?

Meanwhile, a new sheriff’s deputy in the small Kansas town rocked by this case finds herself on the front-line of a murder investigation—albeit not the one anyone was expecting. And a mobster in Philadelphia is confronted with a tragedy of his own, one that just might tie all the pieces of this puzzle into one unbelievable truth.

Alex Finlay uses multiple points of view to propel readers through this tangled web of lies. Short chapters and a writing style that virtually casts a spell over readers make If Something Happens to Me a one-sit read. The term summer blockbuster was created for works like this—compelling enough to lure readers away from other activities, but light enough to not require intense concentration.

Alex Finlay deploys some literary slight-of-hand in his telling of If Something Happens to Me.  It’s a technique that has been used—to varying degrees of success—several times in recent years, but fortunately here, the speed at which readers consume the novel help to make this decision feel closer to inspired storytelling, rather than a manipulative tactic designed to create a false shock.

One thing that is often overlooked in the analysis of the works of Alex Finlay is the overall moral and message each of his books holds. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the action and adventure of his twisty plots, that one can miss how each book contains a solid basis of true emotion leading to growth potential. In If Something Happens to Me, it seems the lesson is that everyone makes mistakes, and we can either condemn people for them forever or we can give them a chance to learn and evolve from those misguided choices.

What is abundantly clear is that picking up an Alex Finlay novel is never the wrong decision. This is a talented writer who knows the type of book he excels at writing and consistently provides that his many fans.

BUY LINKS: If Something Happens to Me by Alex Finlay

Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.