If I Die Before I Wake, debut novel by Liz McMullen
Rarely does a novel captivate me, grab my attention within the first few chapters, and keep me spellbound from beginning to end. Liz McMullen’s novel, If I Die Before I Wake, did just that. For a book to have the capacity to touch this writer on such a deeply personal level seems remarkable enough; however, given that the novel possesses a paranormal nature, makes that connection quite eerie. Perhaps Liz McMullen has a touch of witchcraft in her writing. Needless to say, before even reviewing the plot, I admit that I absolutely love the book. It will be on my shelf to be reread, with a few other novels that strike a personal chord.
Certainly If I Die Before I Wake contains all the elements of a good paranormal horror novel: death of a beloved grandparent, an heirloom that bridges the real world and the world in-between, ghosts, witches, darkness. These elements are well crafted into a storyline that reaches beyond the standard paranormal horror tale, not just with the addition of an extremely sexy lesbian romance, but in how McMullen links the pieces together. McMullen develops a highly symbolic tale beginning with the title, (the main line of a prayer that many children recite in order to ward off nightmares,) to the names of the characters, which symbolically connect to that prayer, as well as to the necessity for uttering such words. In doing so, a magical sense of continuity evolves. In this writer’s opinion, the ability to create such a sense of connectivity, not as allusion, but in such a subtle manner that one wouldn’t even notice unless struck by it, goes beyond simply being good authorship, but wonderful story-telling.
While Liz McMullen may already have a great following in her blog, The Liz McMullen Show, she should continue writing novels. Her following will continue exponentially if she does so. She definitely had a fan in me.