Michael Koryta's novels have received the highest praise from critics and colleagues alike, and his stories have run the gamut from crime noir to thriller to straight-up horror. That being said, he has never created a character as unique as Tara Beckley ... Nothing will work out predictably, and readers will be glued to their seats and as powerless as the unmoving Tara Beckley while one explosive event after another plays out before them. If She Wakes is a clever thriller with a highly unique set of circumstances and characters that, in the hands of Koryta, makes for one dynamic read.
Koryta again shows his affinity for smoothly melding sophisticated action with solid character development — even when one of the individuals is in a coma ... not only works well as a quintessential thriller but also as a tale about rebuilding one's life and not giving up on one's self amid insurmountable odds ... Koryta is such a polished writer that his plots zip by as he delves into the amorality of Dax and the humanity of Abby and Tara, whose personality emerges, despite being paralyzed. Believable twists propel the tense If She Wakes as it moves to a surprising finale.
Koryta puts the reader in Tara’s shoes for some truly claustrophobic chapters in which her predicament is made all too clear ... While staying in Tara’s tortured mind is harrowing enough, Koryta throws in a few other characters and a half dozen plot twists to ratchet up the tension even further ... Koryta keeps the action fast and furious, tempered with his characters’ determination to persevere against all odds.
... intense, inventive ... Koryta makes clever use of technology ... He structures a plot that accelerates like one of Abby’s beloved race cars. But it’s the human element, the stories of two young women trying to reclaim their lives, that makes If She Wakes so compelling.
It's a measure of how good this book is that the chilling, masterfully sustained suspense is only one of its standout achievements. Koryta never brushes off anyone's death; he makes you feel for the victims. The relationship between Tara and her sibling is beautifully nuanced, full of revealing details going back to their childhood. And Koryta’s fans will surely appreciate the suggestion of a sequel ... Koryta has never been better than with this knuckle-biting thriller.