The Bottom Line: Fialkov’s best book yet is a truly magical blend of mystery and physics with two shocking twists.
Told from alternating points of view, When I Killed You is a captivating mystery about Helen Avery’s obsession with her daughter Alice’s disappearance 30 years earlier. In early chapters, we learn about a haunting childhood visit to a fortune teller, about her resentment toward her ex-husband – who believes that Alice may still exist in a parallel universe – and about her correspondence with an esteemed investigative journalist, Stewart McPherson. Helen is hardened, yet mindful. And heartbreakingly, her quest to solve the mystery of Alice is the only thing keeping her alive.
As McPherson turns from journalist to amateur sleuth, award-winning author Liam Falkov draws us into the case with methodical interviews. In discussing clues that still seem fresh decades later, we learn about a series of harassing phone calls, a rabbit doll whose disappearance preceded Alice’s, a ransom demand, Helen’s ex-husband’s drug dealer, and a fascinating loan shark named Jaws.
By the time McPherson meets Alice’s older sister, Monica, it’s clear that the family itself is not all that it seems. Monica, perhaps the most interesting character of all, is author of The Mighty Dragon series. But she has also published work under a pseudonym that may be telling. What’s more, she entered a fascinating (McPherson calls it “strange”) story at age 12 that may hold vital clues.
En route to two truly mind blowing twists, Fialkov weaves references to Lewis Carrol, hallucinogens, buddhism and genetics into the investigation. But perhaps nothing is more synonymous with the Fialkov brand than physics. New and longtime fans will relish discussions of the big bang theory, additional dimensions and the concept of a multiverse as the book nears its conclusion. When I Killed You to the top of their queue.