Read Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler Online


Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.The man who stands over her isn't a doctor.The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.And then she meets the next victim.So comAlex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.The man who stands over her isn't a doctor.The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.And then she meets the next victim.So compulsive you can't stop reading.So chilling you won't stop talking about it.A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller....

Title : Don't Wake Up
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781785770586
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Don't Wake Up Reviews

  • Kaceey
    2019-02-09 10:32

    A well-crafted thriller!Dr. Alex Taylor awakens to find herself alone in an operating room. Strapped down to the operating table with only a sheet covering her otherwise naked body, she has no idea how she got here. Why is she here? Suddenly she sees someone in the room with her. When she calls out, the person behind the mask just stares at her. Why won’t anyone help her? All she has to do is answer one simple question."What does NO mean?"When she finally comes-to in the ER, everyone around her oddly treats her as though nothing happened. Was it all a dream? Why won't anyone believe she was attacked, maybe tortured....maybe raped? Soon there are other victims. Yet everyone still refuses to believe her story, or the probability that these other victims are related to her attack. Not her boyfriend, colleagues nor the police. The author does a great job of keeping the tension ratcheted up. I felt a buzz as I was reading and was constantly kept on my toes trying to figure out who was behind these attacks...what motive could they have? And just when I thought I had it – nope! A little drawn out at times, but over all a very good read. A true thriller!Thank you to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Liz Lawler for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.

  • Sarah Joint
    2019-01-17 06:24

    The opening to this book actually made me feel a little sick imagining myself in the same predicament as the main character, Alex. It was scary, definitely started off with a bang. While I was impressed with the sick feeling the author managed to induce, it took me awhile to get seriously into the book... but once I was, I didn't want to stop reading. I found this book to be nerve-racking and unpredictable, and the last 25 percent is a complete roller coaster and actually stressed me out.Alex is a very accomplished person at the age of 28, a well respected doctor. She's intelligent, driven, and successful. She is the kind of person people look up to... so when she suffers from an attack and no one believes her, it's harrowing. Though she's been tied to an operating table and taunted, maybe violated, she's found dumped in the hospital parking lot relatively unharmed. No one believes her crazy story because she doesn't have any injuries or any injection marks even though she insists they should be there.When a young woman who'd been missing is brought to the hospital, she says something to Alex that makes her think she went through a similar experience. Her colleagues and partner are worried she's losing it. She has started drinking more than what could be considered healthy... maybe her story is true, but maybe she has simply snapped and needs psychological help. More incidents start to happen without explanations, and she finds herself alienated from nearly everyone.More alone than ever, she's easier prey for the psycho after her... or is she unknowingly her own worst enemy?I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Bonnier Zaffre, thank you! My opinion is honest and unbiased.

  • Rachel Hall
    2019-02-08 11:21

    Shockingly poor, with an increasingly preposterous plot and an awkwardly abrupt narrative, Don’t Wake Up is comparable only to the misery of a six-hour wait in A&E surrounded by inebriated football hooligans. For me, this novel sums up everything that is wrong with the over populated female friendly psychological thriller market.. far fetched scenarios, unlikely occurrences to satisfy the twist component and inane decision making by unconvincing characters devoid of both consistency and logic. That Liz Lawler’s narrative is unwieldy adds to the overriding feeling that Don’t Wake Up is an amateur attempt at capitalising on the relatively unexplored territory of dark and unsettling medical mayhem. When twenty-eight year old Bristol based doctor, Alex Taylor, wakes up in theatre with only drapes covering her modesty, strapped to the operating table with her ankles in stirrups and two large cannulas inserted into her arms, her medical training kicks in. Struggling to drag herself from a sluggish lethargy obviously induced by anaesthesia she finds a masked figure looming over her who she assumes is a doctor, although she fails to recognise the voice. As the mystery voice threatens to staple her lips, she is told that her coil has been removed and that she is due to undergo a vulvectomy (removal of the vulva). Her only chance to halt the planned treatment comes when she is asked the question, “what does ‘no’ mean?”, the intimation of which is that saying ‘no’ whilst dressed like a strumpet is equivalent to saying ‘yes’ and leading a man on.When she reawakens for a second time however, Alex finds herself greeted by two of her closest colleagues; her boss and senior consultant, Dr Caroline Cowan and her best friend and senior nursing sister, Fiona Woods, who are insistent that she was simply discovered in the hospital car park and suspected of being hit by a falling branch in the gale force wind. They attribute her confusion and panic to concussion and are mystified by her assertions that she has been raped. Despite their reassurances Alex insists on reporting her alleged abduction and rape to the police, for which no supporting evidence is found. Riddled with inconsistencies, the first fifty pages were enough to show me that Lawler’s developing plot owed more to being selective with the information she presents than overtly up front about the circumstances. Naturally no one believes Alex and whilst several close colleagues connect it to the unprocessed trauma of an incident a year back, knowledge of which is a closely guarded secret.Despite this harrowing event Alex is convinced by her arrogant boyfriend of a year, vet Patrick Ford, to hightail it to Barbados for a week’s respite during which time she fails to mention the incident and is intimate with her partner, which is laughable. Back on home soil and Alex’s claims return with a vengeance and it becomes clear that both Patrick and her colleagues think she is losing the plot and suffering from post-traumatic stress. As she attempts to return to her demanding job, her colleagues reticence to engage with her and their obvious disbelief exacerbates her paranoia and as she struggles to cope she turns to both alcohol and diazepam to manage her fears. Two weeks later the emergency admission of a pregnant nurse and the young woman’s death bed words lead Alex to believe that she has been a victim of this same attacker. Reporting the death as suspicious, the police start questioning Alex’s sanity and after the blame for near-fatal drug error is laid at her door and she is present at another suspicious death, Alex wonders whom, if anyone, she can trust, and how to establish her own innocence. As she begins to suspect that the only answer is to proactively search out the psychopath intent on destroying her life the stakes become ever riskier.As a central protagonist I was convinced by Alex’s insistence of the initial episode but it is is the rapidity of her swings in mood and distress that smack of unconvincing. From sitting fully clothed in the shower addled by vodka and taking daily doses of diazepam in order to keep some semblance of calm, Lawler manages to follow up each tale of woe with Alex needing very little persuasion to go to a nightclub or evening out with colleagues, and her seamless transference of romantic interest does nothing to make her situation more believable. The characters were largely one-dimensional, and the police and medical staff largely unprofessional, from SIO DI Greg Turner who goes weak at the knees over Dr. Taylor and is unwilling to even countenance her potential involvement, to immature DC Laura Best and her attempts at a single-handed character assassination of a talented medic, going out of her way to dig dirt and intent on claiming her scalp. From biased cops to doctors under the influence, the moral of this story seems to be steer clear of anyone working for or operating under the guise of the emergency services. The premise of Don’t Wake Up on which the novel is marketed makes it sound like the plot has some element of substance, so despite the woefully inept opening chapters I persevered. Comically bad, the plot and execution is dire but nothing can mask the fact that there is little sleight of hand in evidence and for readers to even imagine these incidents are the work of a increasingly delusional Alex takes a massive suspension of disbelief. Seeing as these incidents did manage to confound the entire CID personnel I was clearly alone is seeing through this transparent plot and whilst clear medical know how is evident and well researched the police response (personal wild goose chases, hours of navel gazing and muck racking) is risible.When the elaborate motive is revealed it feels desperately unlikely that a person would go to such extraordinary lengths to destroy someone’s career and sanity and stretches the bounds of credibility immensely, given that the risk reward ratio is stacked against a successful execution and that it relies on the perpetrator having superhuman powers and infinite resources to hand. Apart from the early insight into how rape crisis victims are handled and what an utterly degrading experience such a process is, Don’t Wake Up, has few redeeming aspects and my rating reflects the neatly tied up loose ends which by and large answered most of my remaining questions, although one or two still admittedly linger. Although Alex is belatedly referred to a psychoanalyst to help her tackle her problems, this line of thread is largely untapped despite its obvious potential and felt like a missed opportunity. Abysmal writing, inane plot and come year end, a reading lowlight!

  • Linda Strong
    2019-02-14 07:04

    When Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up, she finds herself tied to an operating table. She has no memory of how she got there, nor does she know why. There is a man standing over her ..asking one question. When Alex awakes for a second time she is in the hospital, with her colleagues surrounding her. She was found knocked out in the parking lot next to a broken tree limb. She is unhurt other than a bump on the back of her head. But no one will believe her amazing story.Her family and friends insist it never happened. After a while, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.Then a pregnant nurse goes missing. When found and brought to hospital, she is no longer pregnant and what she says to Alex before she dies leads Alex to believe that this woman was abducted and killed by the same man who torments her memory.And there are other bodies ... and all have a connection to Alex. Is Alex a victim? Or is she a serial killer, as the police suspect she is?This is a well written psychological thriller that will have you scratching your head and wondering what's real and what isn't. The ending comes fast and furious. The characters are cleverly described and not everyone is who they say they are. This is an excellent debut novel by this author.Many thanks to the author / Bonnier Zaffre - Twenty7 / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  • Liz Barnsley
    2019-01-29 14:14

    This was a fast read for me, in many ways your typical psychological thriller but it was superbly menacing and I give it extra points for being quite unpredictable - not necessarily on the "whodunnit" level, although Liz Lawler does a great job of obfuscating things - but more because it didn't feel at all like things would necessarily work out for our main protagonist. Did all come good in the end? Well you'll have to read to find out.It has that addictive quality that I look for in this genre, certainly a page turner, also intensely creepy at times. Imagine you are assaulted but nobody believes you. Imagine then that at every turn you are looking more and more unbalanced but you know that you are not. That is an intriguing layer to Don't Wake Up, I also give points for the fact that the characters mostly behaved reasonably given the circumstances. If I had one bugbear it was one police officer character that was way too caricature but I won't say more because everyone reads differentlyOverall Don't Wake Up is a great read, especially as a book to sit down with when you just need to read totally in the comfort zone - I have no problem recommending it to fans of this genre, whilst it may not offer anything unique, it is accomplished writing and a banging good story.

  • HollyB
    2019-02-15 06:21

    4.5 STARSReviewed on May 5,2017 / Publication date May 25,2017 This book gripped me from the first page! Alex is the main character. She wakes up blinded by bright lights and discovers that she is in her own hospital and her body is covered in drapes. Her arms tied down with velcro. She freezes when she discovers that she is naked and her ankles are held up in stirrups. Very mysterious circumstances. Someone in a surgical gown is handling surgical instruments. Alex asks him "What is wrong with me." He replies in his creepy voice, "nothing is wrong with you."I loved this thriller and the pacing is very good and some of the scenarios are pretty terrifying (waking up naked with your feet in stirrups and some creepy guy walking around)!!

  • Carolyn
    2019-01-18 06:02

    In this high tension medical psychological thriller Dr Alex Taylor finds herself in a living nightmare. Drugged and abducted in the hospital car park after work, she wakes up to find herself immobilised, naked and strapped down to an operating table in an operating theatre with a masked surgeon standing over her threatening to do her harm. After she is later found unconscious, fully dressed, she is told there is nothing wrong her and she must have suffered a bump on the head. No one believes her bizarre story and when other strange things happen and other people die she becomes the suspect. With no one standing by her, not even her colleagues and boyfriend Alex begins to wonder if she is going insane. This book will grip you and keep you guessing as it hurtles along towards the end. Even though I had difficulty buying into the theory of why Alex would be killing people and why her friends would abandon her so easily, I didn't see the ending coming until quite late in the book so overall that makes for a pretty good thriller (and a promising debut) as long as you don't mind suspending belief just a little bit. 3.5★ With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Bonnier Zaffre for a copy of the book to read and review

  • Zoe
    2019-02-05 11:11

    Fast-paced, gritty, and disturbingly creepy!Don't Wake Up is a character-driven psychological thriller that highlights how fragile the mind truly is and how easily someone’s behaviour can be questioned, misinterpreted, manipulated, and used against them.It is, ultimately, a story about jealousy, revenge, hatred, violence, and murder.The characters are multilayered, vulnerable, and at times believably unreliable.  The writing is well done. And the plot unfolds rapidly and has a nice balance of suspense, tension, suspects, and surprises.Overall Don't Wake Up is a compelling, well-written debut for Lawler that once started will keep you intrigued and entertained until the very end.Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bonnier Zaffre - Twenty7 for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at

  • Lee
    2019-01-23 10:12

    I enjoyed this book right from the beginning. It has a fast pace and kept making you question what was going on which always intrigues me when this happens, quite unpredictable with a mysterious edge. Bodies are piling up and it all becomes quite addictive. A well developed thriller which builds to a very exciting end. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for an honest review.

  • Eva
    2019-01-29 10:25

    Don’t Wake Up kicks off with the stuff of nightmares when Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill operation, nor is she being attended by a run-of-the-mill doctor. The person standing over her has far more sinister motives. He makes her a disturbing offer but when Alex wakes up, she’s unharmed and nobody believes her story.If the first chapters don’t make you move to the edge of your seat, then there’s something wrong with you. It is downright scary as it plays on quite a lot of people’s fear of waking up during surgery. But then to realise there’s something even more horrifying going on, well I may just have had a heart attack right then and there.This is one incredible tense and gripping storyline. With an intricate plot and a potentially unreliable character, it takes you on a wild ride to figuring out the truth. It’s easy to see why Alex isn’t believed and slowly but surely she finds herself without support as her boyfriend and colleagues become convinced she’s having a breakdown.This is a dark and disturbing story with an unstoppable but very intelligent evil person running the show. Liz Lawyer managed to make me suspect just about everyone and even though I felt the actual reveal was maybe a tad far-fetched, I was completely engrossed and couldn’t put the book down until I’d reached the quite satisfying end. The plot is brilliantly constructed and incredibly clever and it will have you hooked from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyable read!

    2019-01-24 12:02

    Dark and intense, engaging and unpredictable!Dr Alex Taylor finds herself in a horrific, true life nightmare, when she wakes up to find herself naked and strapped up on a operating table and has no idea how she got there. A masked surgeon with ominous intentions is threatening to do terrifying things to her unless she answers this one simple question correctly..." What does 'no' mean?"When she wakes up again in the ward of the hospital in which she works, after being found unconscious in the hospital car park, fully clothed and with a mere bump on her head, her version of events seems far-fetched to the police, her colleagues and even her beloved boyfriend.Soon, there are more questionable and suspicious incidents and we are left wondering if Alex is having a breakdown or is someone intent on destroying her. And if so, why.From the outset, this captivating read had me feeling anxious with my heart in my mouth during this original and oh so frightening opening, playing on ones fears of waking up helpless and unable to move on a operating table.This read will keep you on your toes, having you wonder what is real and what isn't, having you speculate whether this will turn out well for the protagonist.With the many twists, turns and red herrings, everyone was a suspect at one stage. I was delighted that the 'who' in the 'whodunit' took me by surprise as the author slapped me in the face with it!With the suspense building as a result of a disturbing and seemingly unstoppable person pulling the strings, I drank up the intense, nail biting and unpredictable ending, it's conclusion hitting the sweet spot.The only niggle I had was that I found I had trouble believing Alex's loved ones and the police were so quick to dismiss her version of events, so quick to think the worst of her.Despite that, I am so pleased I got to read this clever, disturbing, tension-filled medical psychological thriller, and I look forward to reading more of Liz Lawler's work in future.Thank you to Netgalley, Bonnier Zaffre Twenty7 and the author for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
    2019-02-02 09:06

    Saw this one on Netgalley and I thought it would be an interesting break from the norm in terms of it being a medical thriller on top of everything else. That being said, I still didn’t know what to expect with this book.Don’t Wake Up is a very fast-paced book with plenty of action. Set in a hospital environment, it follows Dr. Alex Taylor in the aftermath of a horrifying incident that has happened to her. When those around her think she’s lying, and things start happening, she finds herself in a very scary place. There is more than enough going on and then there is the added drama that Dr Alex Taylor seems to be bringing on herself.I don’t want to say much more because I think it’s always better to let the reader see what the author is aiming to do. I quite enjoyed the book, although in parts I found it a bit far fetched. But then again, it was a fun read from start to finish. It will keep people reading and guessing for sure!Recommended!

  • Selene
    2019-01-16 11:12

    3.5 starsGenre: Mystery & ThrillerSetting: Bath, EnglandPOVs: (view spoiler)[Shifting, 3rd person (hide spoiler)]Triggers: Yes. (view spoiler)[Animal cruelty. (hide spoiler)]Alex Taylor is a highly skilled physician with a great career and a fiancé who matches her equally in education and status. Her life seems fairly comfortable until the moment when she's kidnapped and strapped to a table in a somewhat familiar environment. She endures the torment of being bound and taunted, but is then released without knowledge of how she was kidnapped or why she's freed. Her mental deterioration soon becomes a liability to everyone around her.This story had a strong start, shifted into a slower pace, and was more drama than thriller until the last 20% when the police procedural aspect became more exciting. Detective Inspector Turner and Laura Best were intriguing, but they seemed more like simple-minded characters and less complex. The final reveal sort of fizzled out for me, but I liked this debut novel. I especially liked the hospital setting, the medical jargon, details of the medical procedures, and the main characters, including Nathan. ◈ Looking forward to reading more of this author's work. **ARC provided by Bonnier Zaffre via NetGalley.

  • Sara M. Abudahab
    2019-02-06 12:12

    Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up one day strapped on an operating table, she realizes that she is naked and that she was anesthetized, she can only see her surgeon's eyes since he has a surgical mask on, she asks him if she had been in an accident and he declines, then the surgeon asks her "what would a "No" mean?" and lets her struggle to answer then Alex dozes off.After that she was found unconscious on the street, the doctors examined her and she has no signs of a recent surgery not even any needles marks!So was she abducted? did she just make all this up? or was she hallucinating? I really enjoyed this one! couldn't stop reading I started 5 hours ago I just wanted to get an idea of the story but couldn't help but finish it. It was a good thriller, got me to gasp a few times, and had an unexpected ending, but I have to add that there were few moments/plots that had no sense at all.Anyway, I think I tend to overrate books that I read in one sitting, so I think if I read this over days I wouldn't have given it 4 stars.But if you want to read it, it's currently available on Netgalley :)

  • Lori
    2019-01-31 10:15

    Not the best or worst thrilled I’ve read. I was annoyed throughout at how so many crazy things kept happening to this poor woman and no one would believe her version of what happened. Not colleagues, the police or her boyfriend. I found it unbelievable that no attention would be placed on anyone other than her. Some obvious things were overlooked & if I noticed them I am pretty sure a seasoned detective could see them. It was somewhat suspenceful and did Keep me turning the pages. 3.5.

  • Morgan
    2019-02-02 14:20

    What a premise for a thriller! Waking up to discover you're incapacitated, naked and prepped for an unknown surgery, with a doctor/killer about to cut you open--then waking again fully intact with no one believing what had happened. It's still quite the premise, but one that isn't fully explored and exploited in this particular novel.I believe one of the hooks is that with no evidence to support the kidnapping/surgery, the reader along with supporting characters is also supposed to be wondering at Alex, the protagonist's, mental state and whether it could truly all be in her head. However, even that is never fully played up to its truest potential; there is never a doubt left for the reader that she isn't telling the truth. It's a bit of a disappointment because that could have been an added component to keep a reader guessing and nervously turning the pages.Right around the half way mark I correct figured out the whodunnit part of the story, which only left the why for me to look forward to. I still found the book to be a page turner even as the action unfolding became more and more outlandish. Had the author played up the unreliable protagonist idea, this could have been so much more nerve wracking! By the time we finally get to the climactic reveal (yep, I was right), the why and how was just friggin ridiculous. It lost a star for me right then and there. It just felt that the author had such a great "what if!" but no real idea how to fully execute it with a strong story. Instead, this ending came across as cobbled together, rushed, and in the end not satisfying. This was a likable (never good or great) book for me throughout, but one that ultimately took a nose dive with its ending.ARC provided by NetGalley

  • Figgy
    2019-02-04 12:02

    The blurb sounds interesting and enticing, curious even, but I warn you, dear reader, that it does not accurately represent the events within the novel. Even the title doesn't really fit with the story.There are so many things wrong with this book, rendering it one of the worst books I can remember reading. But it's getting lots of rave reviews, so what do I know?The writing itself is horribly clunky and awkward, telling the reader what is going on rather than showing them, and often spelling things out several times, while keeping other things hush, hush and obscure when they're not particularly juicy in the first place.The rest of this review can be found HERE!________________Oooooooookay. Proper review to come.This is going to be fun... or painful... or cathartic... or all of the above?Honestly, probably one of the most poorly-written books I've read in at least a couple of years (Killing Monica springs to mind and the next-most-recent, next-most-painful read).So much didn't make sense, through lack of conviction. Characters were dull, flat, and hard to believe, the plot was hard to believe, it would possibly best be looked at as a parody/social commentary on the "Me Too" and "Time's Up" movements, on the different ways people react to it, and the ways that women from one camp treat women from another. But the writing here is too poor to make it worth reading for the social commentary alone.________________Okay... at 50%, I am no longer going to quote typos and grammatical errors in statuses, because it's all too much.I'm still going to point out where the character does or says or thinks stupid things, but again, maybe not every instance. Ugh. Can this book be over, now? I need to finish this today.

  • Tracy Fenton
    2019-01-31 13:18

    Alex Taylor is a well respected doctor who is professional and totally dedicated to her profession. Waking up in the first chapter Alex finds herself tied down on an operating table about to undergo every women’s nightmare. Don’t Wake Up is utterly gripping and gallops along at a break neck speed ensuring the reader is both captivated and horrified at the same time.Some of the scenes are extremely graphic and deeply uncomfortable to read and imagine and I did have to pause to take a moment several times throughout the book. The author manages to create a thrilling psychological story which kept me questioning Alex’s sanity and version of events throughout.

  • Roy
    2019-01-25 14:20

    The blurb/premise sounded so promising and exciting. The plot wasnt drawn out well, and characters were really too slow to put all the information together to solve it. The main character and he demons/psych issues with regards to dealing with what happened was the most intriguing part of the read. The police character was way too cliched, its what you expect from a typical police character. Solid debut with alot of potential.

  • Joanne Robertson
    2019-01-16 10:12

    I am not a huge fan of the taglines used nowadays describing how books WILL make you feel! I feel it's a challenge and one I'm usually able to dispute very quickly! But here I have to totally agree with the tagline used alongside the title of Don't Wake Up as the first chapter is addictive, gripping and downright scary as hell! My pulse rate must have been through the roof and I nearly needed a doctor myself!Several people had recommended this book to me saying it was a perfect example of my kind of book and I have to say that they are right! Once I picked this up that first chapter grabbed me by the throat and refused to loosen its grip no matter how hard I tried to shake it off. I defy anyone to not be affected by the nightmarish scenarios that Alex has to live through here. The question is will Alex be believed and if not, how much danger will it take to change everyone's opinions. Her lover, her colleagues and her friends all think she's having a breakdown so, slowly and surely, they slip by the wayside as Alex loses their support and possibly her own mind.Liz Lawler is going to be a name to look out for in the future! I loved her easy going and engaging writing style and her ability to totally immerse her readers in the lives of her characters. There were so many twists and turns here I was dizzy with indecision about who to trust and have to admit I had no idea who was behind this vicious campaign against Alex, or why, until it actually slapped me in the face! It then kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat even to the very end.I loved experiencing this "nightmare in book form" and feeling unable to wake myself up from the hold it had over me! Some of the graphic and realistically described hospital scenes had me crossing my legs in fear (you will understand why when you read it!!) and at times I wanted to put this book down but it became physically impossible to do so until I found out the truth.A thoroughly enjoyable and highly satisfying psychological thriller!

  • Annika
    2019-01-30 12:16

    What a gruesome mindfuck of a debut novel by author Liz Lawler.I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started this, but certainly not a psychological thriller as gripping and torturous as this turned out to be.It was so painful to witness the protagonist, a strong, ambitious doctor's seemingly perfect life spin out of control so easily in the span of a few days after being abducted by an unknown perpetrator. Frustrating to witness her lose her fight and question her own sanity when no one supports and believes her, dismissing the following threats and terrorisations as delusions or bad jokes.I felt incredibly bad for Alex, even more so when I started doubting her myself.The mystery was brilliantly woven, making me suspicious of basically everyone, even the lead character herself. I was captivated from start to finish and love-hated each and every second of this little masterpiece.Kudos to Ms. Lawler. I haven't been this much into a crime thriller for a long, long while.ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat)
    2019-02-02 11:24

    The premise of Don’t Wake Up really intrigued me, but I unfortunately found the execution to be lacking a little.Upon starting, the first chapter really had me hooked. I was so curious as to what really happened to Alex! But as the plot progressed, there were so many potential storylines and red herrings introduced, the middle of the book got to be a bit muddled. It was almost as if the story couldn’t make up its mind which direction it wanted to go in.Most of Don’t Wake Up is told through Dr. Alex Taylor’s perspective. Although I felt it took a while to really get to know her, once I did I found her to be an interesting and complex character and I empathized with her, wanting to reach into the book to help her. In addition, there were some sections of the book told through other characters perspectives. In some cases, these points of view added depth to the story, but others only served to add to the length of book without furthering the plot. These transitions also weren’t always clear right away, which disrupted some of the reading flow.Ultimately, I did like this story. It was a unique take on the currently all too common psychological thriller. While the overall story was satisfying, it was slower paced than I prefer and probably could have used additional editing to tighten everything up. As this is Lawler’s debut novel, I see promise for her future work and look forward to seeing what she does next.*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Christine
    2019-02-12 14:29

    Don’t Wake Up plays into our primal fears. Imagine waking up, bound and at the mercy of evil. Disturbing does not even to start to describe the fear. Nightmarish.The story itself is all about a successful doctor, working in an Accident and Emergency department at a Bristol hospital. Doctor Alex Taylor has it all. A nice vet boyfriend, a career she loves and a seemingly perfect life. One day she is found in the hospital grounds with a bump to her head. Alex reports that she was held captive by a man, who was threatening to harm her. No one believes her. Her life starts to fall apart. Everyone seems to think that Alex is having a breakdown or having some kind of PTSD episode. Things begin to get so much worse for Alex.I really had fun with this. We get the perfect beginning to a novel, with fear overloaded and the promise of grizzly things. I love that! There is a woman no one believes central to the action. We can all imagine being that vulnerable, being Alex and feeling like your life is out of control. Added to this we get a sense of Alex being hunted and stalked. No one is listening to Alex. She becomes increasingly powerless.This is a lively whodunnit. Bodies seem to be everywhere. Murder is chasing Alex. Every where she turns, there is blood. Someone seems to be making a point. Alex is a marked woman, with no one on her side. The police are suspicious of her. Her colleagues think she has lost the plot. Lawler does a great job in making life completely hell for Alex.This is a great book to switch off with, for a few hours. I was highly entertained by the plot and felt increasingly sorry for poor Alex. I do not recommend looking up any random medical terms that crop up in the text, whilst eating. Not that I would do that, ever! Worth checking out, if you want a taste of medical drama without having to get actually ill. Recommended.

  • Melissa Souza
    2019-01-31 10:08

    **Thank you to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for sending me an ARC of the book in return for an honest review.4 stars!!!I found this book to be absolutely riveting. Liz Lawler has a beautiful writing style and the worldbuiling and atmosphere were exceptionally enthralling. I found that the concise chapters made for easy reading. But what I did love was how heart-thumping each page was. The first chapter itself reeled me in and I found wanting to know what was going to happen next. For me being invested in a storyline is key to a good novel or plot.Our story starts with the abduction of the MC Alex Taylor who is a renowned doctor. However, the circumstances of the crime she was involved in appear to be very strange. Thus, we are taken on this rollercoaster of a story where no one believes what has happened to her. Her reputation gets shred into pieces, she loses her friends and heads toward a mental breakdown. Told from various POVs, as a reader you get a clearer picture of how things are playing out. Plus you get a deeper understanding of who the characters are, their emotions and motives. I felt that this was especially the case for it being a really emotionally charged book as it deals with sensitive issues. I found every character to be fleshed out well. I could see their virtues and vices. With the plot, being set against the personal and professional lives of doctors, this added for a richer context and reading experience. In addition to this, we also get a look at the lives of the investigating officers. Their power moves, family life and so on. I especially enjoyed reading the character of DC Laura Best. It was engaging to see the unconventional detective who might even break rules and be so arrogant that it makes them want to close cases with the least amount of information on a perpetrator. I personally felt these kinds of details lent the book with a certain authenticity which I found refreshing.Overall, I would say I really enjoyed the storyline. The plot twists and devices were engaging and kept the story progression on the straight and arrow. My only fault with the novel would be the ending as it left me a bit disappointed. I would have preferred real closure. However, I do get the understanding of the author for this and the reveal did come as a surprise though not as shocking. Besides this, I would still recommend reading this novel. It is one heck of a psychological thriller and if you are a fan of the genre, you wouldn't want to skip it.

  • Denise
    2019-02-14 11:13

    When Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up she finds herself held fast to a table by someone in the garb of a surgeon and she's in an operating theatre, naked and covered in drapes. The light is shining in her eyes, blinding her and she is terrified that she's been in a bad accident and has been brought to the hospital where she works in A&E. A mechanical voice speaks to her and threatens something horrific just before the anesthetic takes effect. When she comes to, later, she is in cubicle number 9 of her very own department, in the city of Bath where she lives and works. Though she has only a few bruises, she recounts her story of what happened to her and finds that absolutely NO ONE believes her. Neither the police nor her good friends and co-workers can find any proof. Then there are some other deaths of people known to Alex and soon, she's not a victim, she's a suspect.This was a fast-paced mystery with lots of red herrings and many different characters. Though the conclusion was predictable, much of the ongoing action kept it suspenseful. I must admit that I sort of wanted a different ending -- just so it would be really shocking! Alex was just a little "too perfect" and her psychological distress and attempts to cope while sliding into a hot mess made me a bit annoyed, but isn't that the worst thing when someone doesn't believe you and you can't prove them wrong? And there are doubts from your nearest and dearest?Thank you to NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre for allowing access to this debut thriller ARC. This (Twenty7 Books) is a new imprint featuring crime fiction by new writers.

  • Sharron E.
    2019-02-02 06:30

    Absolute mind fuck and a cant-stop-page-turner.

  • Shalini
    2019-01-20 09:20

    As a doctor myself, I found this story chilling and horrifying. Alex Taylor, an emergency room doctor, slowly wakes up to find herself naked and strapped onto the operation table with her legs in stirrups, and her private parts exposed. She is threatened with hints of rape and getting her lips stapled by a doctor in surgery garbs, and slowly gets anaesthetised by rudimentary anaesthesia (horrors...). When she wakes up the second time she finds herself in her own department trolley as a patient. She screams holy terror and gets all the tests done, everything is normal. Everyone starts doubting her story as the impersonator has left no clue, so was that an hallucination. Did a previous episode on Alex a year back trigger her brain into psychosis? As another patient comes to the emergency room in a critical state, Alex begins to see the connection. Is that real or imaginary? Is Alex going mad?? This is a debut novel by author Liz Lawler and I can assure you that she has gone all out on this story. The events happen as a roller coaster ride, there is no slowing down. There are murders and botched up procedure, there are threats by unknown assailants and doubts by the colleagues and police. There is a boyfriend who is a know-it-all and arrogant, and there is a could-be-boyfriend colleague who is shunned.There is jealousy and envy, friends who are not friends, the not so friendly become friends, boyfriend becomes persona non grata and the shunned colleague becomes a possibility. The police who should help become the one ganging up, therapists sit passively, there is disbelief all round... Liz has included all emotions in this spine thrilling suspense. The author has written the story well. Each sentence is filled with adrenaline, and the thrill doesn't stop till the last page. Liz Lawler took me on a ride along with Alex. As a doctor, I wanted to stand by her and fight for her. There are times I wanted to jump into the page and tell all the characters to believe Alex, that all that she says really happened. Alex's despair is acutely felt throughout the story, her desperation and her turning to medications and alcohol feels like a personal let down. The book does not stop pace and everytime it slows down there is a murder happening... Exciting... There are, but of course, a few nigglesAlex is an emergency room doctor, where she has to make split second decisions to a save a patient's life yet she comes to work drunk and on medication, yet can save lives zonked out...?? Not possible The police who investigate, do more thinking than investigation, even the officer who gangs up on Alex, thinks and thinks and thinks... weird theories without a base. How about doing some actual police work and getting evidence.....?? The things happening around Alex are too far fetched, Alex at times comes as a ditsy airhead, instead of being a doctor with the highest qualification who does everything extremely well, including flying a helicopter but yet drinks and self medicates, and does not report an earlier attack. All emergency room doctors are friendly to police yet Alex knows no one... How is this an intelligence of an emergency room doctor?? There are characters there are actions and there are emotions but they don't match... Each character says something, does something else... Yet Alex believes them, in her insecurity??? Alex could have been written as a stronger woman, playing the victim card gets on the nerves, a victim who takes control of her life would have made this book fabulous. Inspite of these, the book does not fail to thrill, it reads fast, it makes the heart beat fast, it makes the real world disappear till the Alex's reality is revealed... I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to readers who enjoy medical suspense as there are quite a few medical words and procedures. I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Bonnier Zaffre and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  • Stacy
    2019-02-07 07:05

    Don't wake up? Easy. Every time I picked up this book I fell asleep. Undeveloped characters were actually a blessing because they were boring, unbearable and unbelievable all at the same time...too much (or any) developing would have made me ill. I finished it only because it's fluff so I was 3/4 of the way through it before I realized it, and I maintained a small nugget of (unfounded) optimism that it would turn out better than it seemed.

  • Debra
    2019-01-26 11:02

    Really torn between a 2.5 and a 3 star so rounding up to a 3 star rating.The description of this book sounded so promising. Alex Taylor, a doctor, wakes up on an operating table. She has no idea how she got there or the identity of the surgeon. Is he even a surgeon? She is tied up and frightened. He makes her an offer. She makes a choice and then wakes up unharmed. To make matter worse, no one believes her. Seriously who would go through the trouble of knocking someone out, strapping them to an operating table and leaving them unharmed. Frustrating, right? How horrible to not be believed and to doubt oneself. Is she alone? Are there other victims?I was captivated by the description. This sounded like a really good criminal minds episode but it fizzled for me. There are other victims but still no one believed her. I found it very weak that no one saw a connection to the other victims or believed her story. She was a very reliable character. She was believable to me from page one. Perhaps if there would have been some doubt thrown in there i.e. is to make her look or seem unreliable then perhaps this book would have been more appealing to me. She goes form being disbelieved to being a suspect after unusual deaths begin to occur around the hospital. Also I found this book to be a little slow. Things seemed drawn out. Not everyone is as they seem in this book and that is a Good thing (channeling Martha Stewart). I really wanted this book to be better. I wanted to enjoy it more. I think the description is terrific. This is a debut novel and I believe that with time this Author will really develop her craft and really deliver a psychological thriller which I will enjoy. This one did not live up to my expectations but there is a lot of promise here. I know that I am in the minority on the rating of this book. I see that most people really enjoyed this book. I did like the beginning of this book but then it failed to keep me overly engaged. It slowed and lost some of it's momentum for me.I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.See more of my reviews at

  • Hristina
    2019-02-12 09:15

    Don't Wake Up sounded fascinating when I requested it, and it delivered. It was very well thought out, tense, and intriguing. Absolutely enjoyable. I found the characters interesting, and the writing is decent too, but the plot just shines. I'm definitely going to pick up Lawler's writing in the future too.*Copy received through NetGalley*Rating: 4 stars