Since We Fell

Author: Dennis Lehane
In SINCE WE FELL, Rachel Childs, a once-successful reporter who suffered a mental breakdown, lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heartbreaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, SINCE WE FELL is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.
Since We Fell

The New York Times:

Lehane remains one of the great, diabolical thriller kings who seems intimately acquainted with darkness and can make it seep from the page or screen. A line of dialogue like “Oh, ho, ho, my man, let’s not push me tonight,” delivered with brittle levity, carries more menace than any outright threat could. Rachel works extremely well as the focus of the book. Lehane has always written wrenching female characters into his stories, and he has no trouble giving center stage to one.

The Times Book Review:

The high-wire act Lehane has managed — to craft a character thriller, a psychological nail-biter based on real emotion and relatable anxiety — [is] the rarest kind of page-turner, one in which character, not plot, drives the book’s addictiveness...I loved watching the author walk the tightrope of deeper questions, was thrilled to see him push the boundaries of human understanding for its own merits.

Booklist (starred review):

A lot of thrillers boast twisty plots, but Lehane plies his corkscrew on more than the story line. The mood and pace of the novel change directions, too, jumping from thoughtful character study to full-on suspense thriller, like a car careening down San Francisco’s Lombard Street, cautiously at one moment, hell-bent at another. But this narrative vehicle never veers out of control, and when Lehane hits the afterburners in the last 50 pages, he produces one of crime fiction’s most exciting and well-orchestrated finales—rife with dramatic tension and buttressed by rich psychological interplay between the characters. Don’t be surprised if Since We Fell makes readers forget about that other psychological thriller featuring an unstable heroine named Rachel.

The Chicago Tribune:

Lehane's wicked-smart "Since We Fell" begins with what looks like a conclusion: "On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-seventh year, Rachel shot her husband dead." As you might expect, the book then flashes back to events that lay out the secrets and lies leading up to the shooting — which, I hasten to add, ends with the victim mouthing the words "I love you." But Lehane so completely defies expectations, you get the feeling he's as interested in fooling his characters as he is in fooling us. Free of the period demands of his excellent recent novels, Lehane is in feisty form, channeling classic noir with cutting irony. As ever, he has you falling for his seemingly effortless command as a writer and the ease with which he sinks his hooks into you.

The Washington Post:

There’s nothing dubious about the merits here. Lehane is in command of what he’s doing — unspooling plot twists and developing his character as Rachel descends into her own heart of darkness.

The Associated Press:

Lehane imbues "Since We Fell" with an intense character study, showing why Rachel became so troubled and how she will delve into the strength she didn't know she had. When violence enters Rachel's life, it's as shocking as any of the action in Lehane's hard-boiled novels.

In each novel, Lehane has stretched himself and taken chances with his stories. "Since We Fell" meets his high standards, showing the power of introspection and love — and, yes, it is a crime story.

The Newark Star Ledger:

It's riddled with tension, almost from beginning to end. Which is to say you're likely to wake up bleary-eyed until you finish it. You may even decide to call in sick so you don't have to stop reading. It's sweaty palms all the way, as layer upon layer of revelations erode Rachel's newly-repossessed self-confidence, and put her life in danger. If suspense and terror are your thing, "Since We Fell" is your next must-read.

The Providence Journal:

Lehane staked his claim to the top of bestseller lists with the likes of “Mystic River” and “Shutter Island.” His latest stands on its own as a tortuous character study that makes “Since We Fell” a riveting exercise in psychological suspense.

The Age:

Since We Fell is quite unlike anything Lehane has written before, although the writing is, as always, elegant and deft. Think Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island...Hang in there for the change of gears and a fast pedal to the unexpected finishing line.

The Seattle Times:

Set again in contemporary Boston, “Since We Fell” is essentially a nuanced and insightful character study, combining the best of literary fiction with strong, compelling elements of psychological suspense and the thriller genre. Toss in Lehane’s formidable but unpretentious prose and you’ve got a major winner.

The Columbus Dispatch:

Lehane is a master of pacing, setting up questions and then withholding their answers just long enough. At first, the questions of Rachel’s paternity and her motives for killing her husband run in tandem, taking turns dominating the narrative. Later, more-pressing questions arise, stepping up the tempo. What separates Lehane from the usual run of thriller writers is the way he allows thought and emotion to rough up the slick surface of his prose, pausing to snag the reader’s attention with a description of a sky — “the dark of Germanic fairy tales and solar eclipses” — or, for example, “the sudden, uncertain smile of a man who had, at some point in his life, been conditioned to ask for permission before he expressed joy.”

The Irish Times:

There are no grotesques here, no facile cliffhangers, no red herrings so obviously stale they’re stinking the joint. Since We Fell is a deliciously old-fashioned melodrama about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, a brilliantly unconventional domestic noir that confirms Lehane’s mastery of the crime narrative in all its varied forms.

Kirkus (starred review):

Don’t zoom through this latest entry in Lehane’s illustrious body of work. You’ll miss plenty of intrigue, intricacies, and emotional subtleties. The clinical term for what ails journalist Rachel Childs is “agoraphobia.” Even if the term didn't appear twice in the novel, it'd be easy enough for the reader to identify—and identify with—her pain thanks to Lehane’s delicate, incisive rendering of her various symptoms. What seems at the start to be an edgy psychological mystery seamlessly transforms into a crafty, ingenious tale of murder and deception—and a deeply resonant account of one woman’s effort to heal deep wounds that don’t easily show.

Publishers Weekly:

Set in contemporary Boston, this expertly wrought character study masquerading as a thriller from Edgar-winner Lehane features his first-ever female protagonist. The book’s conspiracy plot doesn’t cut the deepest; it’s Lehane’s intensely intimate portrayal of a woman tormented by her own mind.


Any new Lehane book is cause for celebration, but this one, a standalone with Lehane narrating for the first time from a female point of view, should have crime fiction fans busting out the bottle rockets and champagne. Rachel Childs was a broadcast journalist at the top of her game until she succumbed to crippling public panic attacks after covering the Haitian earthquake and its violent aftermath. Living as a virtual shut in, she’s married to Brian Delacroix, a businessman who owns a mining concern and travels a lot but otherwise seems the ideal husband. But it’s Lehane, so everyone is running some kind of con. This is the rare book that works seamlessly on the theme, the plot, and the sentence levels. It’s impossible not to succumb to Fell.


Dennis Lehane has a gift for discerning beautiful ruins amid the shattered lives of his characters. With Since We Fell, he’s done it again, weaving a piercing thriller out of secrets, paranoia and what life can become when darkness is the only thing that stirs you anymore. The right storyteller can forge trust with readers, a bond that allows the tale to go anywhere. Lehane wields that talent masterfully. His confident, precise prose makes you lean in until you want nothing more than to know his heroine completely, only to be surprised as the thriller trap snaps shut. With Since We Fell, Lehane further cements his reputation as one of our finest crime writers, forging an unforgettable character and then driving her deep into page-turning thriller territory with the deft hand of an old master.

The Tampa Bay Times:

Since We Fell feels distinctly cinematic...Its dialogue is crisp and often darkly funny, its characters vividly drawn, its plot a tightening wire of well-crafted suspense. Since We Fell takes off like a rocket, and I won't give any of it away. Trust me, you'll be glad I didn't. Suffice it to say that anyone who has read Mystic River or Shutter Island (or seen the movies based on them) knows that questions of identity, memory and reality have long been Lehane's raw material — and that, along with being one of the best crime fiction writers in the business, he's also an adept, insightful chronicler of romance.

The Guardian:

Dennis Lehane’s invigorating Since We Fell bears traces of his magnum opus, Mystic River. After a breakdown, ex-journalist Rachel Charles lives a reclusive life. She has, however, a supportive husband – until a chance encounter snatches away everything she holds dear. With sharply acute characterisation, this is classic Lehane.

Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL:

Lehane has written two books—one, an insightful examination of the search for identity and belonging, and two, a thriller that constantly leaves you guessing—and then smashed them together into one terrific read. Lehane is the master of complex human characters thrust into suspenseful, page-turning situations. In short, I hate him. But I’ll read anything he writes.

James Lee Burke, author of the "Dave Robicheaux" series:

Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River is perhaps the best crime novel in the English language. In Since We Fell we see the same enormous talent and literary skill that has characterized his other work. Few use language that has such raw power. His ability to create levels of tension that cause the reader to sweat in a cold room has no peer. This story is hard to put down. The mystery and intrigue never let go; the heart-racing tempo and twists and turns are engaging and unexpected all the way down the track.

Lee Child, author of the "Jack Reacher" series:

Complex, tense, compelling, and an emotional and strategic hall of mirrors, where nothing is what it seems - but I would follow Dennis Lehane anywhere.

Kate Atkinson, author of A GOD IN RUINS and LIFE AFTER LIFE:

The most thrilling novel I’ll read all year. Since We Fell is simmering with emotion, menace, and humor. I loved it.

Richard Price, author of THE WANDERERS and LUSH LIFE:

One doesn't 'read' Since We Fell so much as plunge and tumble through its pages like a raft in white water. It's a sweet bullet of a book, full of nuanced characterizations, a masterful evocation of time and place, and a seductive narrative voice. The publication of any Dennis Lehane novel calls for a celebration, but I think Since We Fell calls for the biggest party of them all.

Kristin Hannah, author of THE NIGHTINGALE:

Once you pick up a Dennis Lehane novel you're hooked. It's just that simple. Since We Fell is a complex, compelling, page-turner of a novel from a master storyteller at the top of his game.