Book Review: Dying for Christmas (Tammy Cohen)

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Jessica Gold is preparing for Christmas by finishing her last minute shopping; while taking a break from the hustle and bustle, she meets a handsome and charming man, Dominic, and is surprised when she finds herself agreeing to go back to his apartment for a holiday drink. Once she arrives, she realizes how much of a mistake she has made. The handsome Dominic is not charming at all. He is a sadistic psychopath, hell bent on keeping her captive through the Christmas holidays. As each day passes, Dominic presents her with another gift, more twisted than the last. Dominic’s world is full of secrets, but maybe Jessica has a few secrets of her own…

 Dying for Christmas is a holiday, psychological thriller written by Tammy Cohen. This is my first experience with a Cohen novel and I feel like it will not be my last! The novel takes place over the twelve days of Christmas, as a psychopath mentally, physically, and psychologically tortures Jessica and her struggle for survival. Cohen is able to write a seriously twisted read; after an initial slow beginning, I found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what was going to happen.

Jessica narrates a majority the novel, as she explains her harrowing ordeal being held captive. The rest of the story is told through the eyes of Kim, the lead investigator on the case as she tries to hunt down Jessica and then piece together the events of her captivity.  This narrative style kept me wanting more; between wanting to find out what was happening with Jessica to seeing how far away the police were from finding her, I felt completely anxious.  There were also plenty of red herrings and bits in the story that had me consistently guessing and second guessing. The second half of the novel is filled with many twists and turns that left me shocked; it was completely unexpected.

The novel has been compared to Misery meets Gone Girl; after finishing this novel, I completely understand this and would have to agree.   I do not want to say anything more in fear of ruining the twists, but I would highly recommend this novel.   If you are looking for a light, holiday read, then this will not be it; but if you want a twisted read (that can be read around the holidays or any time of year) then I would advise you to pick this one up!


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