This review is part of the Do Not Become Alarmed blog tour.
Title: Do Not Become Alarmed
Author: Maile Meloy
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Viking (6th July 2017)
When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety.
One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.
What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.
(Blurb taken from Penguin.co.uk)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
DO NOT BECOME ALARMED is the latest book to come from Maile Meloy. It’s a standalone novel that tells the story of a group of tourists who are on a cruise in Central America. Liv and Nora are cousins who decide to take their husbands and children away together to celebrate the holidays. After days spent aboard the ship they start to feel restless so they decide to leave the ship, and take part in one of the activities organised by the cruise liner. Unfortunately a series of small mishaps lead to a larger disaster for the women: their children go missing.
If you are looking for a thriller that will keep you gripped until the end, then DO NOT BECOME ALARMED should be on your to-be-read pile. Meloy tells an engrossing tale that will capture your imagination. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, though Liv and Nora are the main narrators of the story. Meloy paints a story that goes from a blissful relaxing holiday, to a tense terse nightmare as all the characters struggle to make sense of the situation. This book is definitely a must read for fans of the thriller genre.
The book starts slowly, but it quickly picks up. Although the narration is split between the characters, Meloy keeps the narrative linear so the story is easy to follow. The split narration works really well as it quickly builds up a broader picture of events as they unfold in the book. Allowing certain characters to narrate a chapter also helped to flesh out the characters, as it give us (the reader) insight into them we wouldn’t otherwise get. DO NOT BECOME ALARMED touches on a sensitive topic; although there is little detail of the act itself, and I think it was handled in a believable manner. One of the most interesting aspects of this novel for me was seeing how different characters reacted to the same situation.
Liv and Nora are the main characters of DO NOT BECOME ALARMED, they’re cousins who grew up with each other for a while and as such are very close. I thought Liv and Nora were very interesting in how different Meloy made them in terms of both looks and personality. They are a real contrast. I think because the book focuses so much on them and their elder children, their husbands and younger children kid of felt a bit flat in comparison. Although we do get chapters narrated by both Benjamin and Raymond, we don’t get to know them as much as we know Liv and Nora. I also found the contrast between the American families and the Argentinian family they encountered on the cruise interesting.
DO NOT BECOME ALARMED should be on the list of everyone who enjoys thrillers. Meloy’s plot is frighteningly believable, and as such will have you turning the pages until you find out what happens. It’s not a book for everyone as it deals with some sensitive topics – the most obvious being children going missing – but even with that I think DO NOT BECOME ALARMED is a chilling summer read.
Meet the author…
Maile Meloy is the author of the novels Liars and Saints (which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and chosen for the Richard and Judy book club) and A Family Daughter, the short-story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, and the award-winning Apothecary trilogy for young readers. She has received the PEN/Malamud Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was chosen as one of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Los Angeles.
If you want you can pre-order DO NOT BECOME ALARMED on Amazon*, or on The Book Depository.
* This is a link given to me by the publisher.