Joseph Fink: Alice Isn't Dead (2021, HarperCollins Publishers) 4 stars

Review of "Alice Isn't Dead" on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

A swing and a miss for me, which sucks because I was really hooked with the premise. There are so many ways to resolve a missing person case in fiction, which I guess is why people keep writing them. I was also hoping to get some residual nostalgia because I remember listening to WtNV way back in the day when it was first coming out, but in retrospect that might not have been fair of me; this work had a completely different vibe and the author is absolutely allowed to step out of my expectations when working on something new.

Scenes were paced too quickly for my liking, and weren't given enough time to pass in a natural way before we were moving on to the next place. (I get that there would be frequent scene changes when the main character is literally a long-haul trucker who is constantly on the move, but the prose still felt rushed.) I understand this was a podcast first, so I wonder if I would've enjoyed it more in that medium, but certain things that are central to the story make me think otherwise now that I've finished it. Things like the main mystery getting solved sooner than I expected or wanted it to be, or how there were some in-fiction inconsistencies with how threatening some characters were meant to be, or how the plot seemed to just run on autopiloted tropes for the entire second half.

There was a lot of eye-rolling moments towards the end that felt more like I was unexpectedly transported into a YA novel, so maybe I was never really the target demographic for this one. I just saw it was vaguely horror-adjacent and tried my luck. I'd probably recommend this to someone younger who's looking to dip their toe in the genre for the first time, but not really for anyone beyond that.

Somewhat related, listen to the 7-episode audiodrama "Carrier" by QCODE for an example of a female long-haul trucker in a horror story for something closer to what I was hoping to get out of this book.