Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book will shudder through you like the slow way cold creeps up your sleeves and under clothes to chill you to the core, where bone is. And blood. It comes full circle in a way that holds you until the very last possible moment, then leaves you feeling whole and empty at the same time. A beautiful paradox. I found the message and the meaning quite profound and worthy of rereading. Not many books are that good, but Drowning Instinct, sure as hell is that kind of book.
It's a book that doesn't point fingers. It takes an alarmingly honest look at all the people involved in a story so complex, it's like a watch that has to slowly tick away the pages until it's unwound enough to fall apart in front of you so you can see everything and understand and know what the writer was trying to say. It's a beautiful journey, full of fully realized characters that draw you in the way a blade hovers over skin, waiting to cut deep and draw out the blood.
I was mesmerized by this story, and not just because Ilsa takes the time to choose each and every word carefully, or that I've added at least 25 new words to my vocabulary, although, I love that part, too. I loved the premise, the way the story was structured, the way Jessa tells the entire truth to the detective and where it ends, finally. I'm even okay that it wasn't all wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end. It was real, the way life is, and left several things unknown and exposed like a raw nerve. I like that Ilsa trusts the reader to fill in the gaps, to ultimately decide how these characters, and their stories resolve. I think she did her job and presented the stories as honestly and truthfully as she could, and I love the part I played as the reader in joining in the story, too.
By the end, I was pulled under the surface. And, I'm not sure if I struggled against it, or if I looked calm, the way a person does when they're drowning. It is instinctual, after all.
I want to read this book again, to peel back even more layers. It was so wonderful and delicious and powerful. Full. Of. Life.
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