Well, well, you learn something new everyday! Up until the moment I opened Freefall, by 19-year old debut author Ariela Anhalt, I was pretty sure I didn't like suspense books. See, I like to laugh, and suspense books are too..well,suspenseful, for lack of a better word.
But Freefall was well worth my time. It is the story of 18-year old Luke Prescott, a high school senior at prestigious Briar Academy who pretty much goes along with everything his best friend Hayden Applegate does and says. Hayden is captain of the fencing team, an all-around cool guy, and boyfriend to a beauty named Nicole until new guy Russell comes along.
Russell is on the fencing team too, and he's good, real good. But what he's even better at is stealing Hayden's girl. When he catches Nicole's fickle eye, Hayden is so insanely jealous, he begins to do and say things that alarm Luke.
Although Luke has nothing against Russell, he goes along with Hayden's harsh treatment of him. But when Hayden goads Russell into jumping off a steep rocky cliff--a hazing ritual every member of the fencing team has to do sooner or later, alarm bells go off. Luke tries to talk Hayden and Russell out of this arrangement, but Hayden is too furious about losing his girlfriend to back off, and Russell feels he must prove he's not afraid.
The result is...disaster. Russell ends up broken and lifeless on the jagged rocks below, and Hayden is instantly slapped with a first degree murder charge. Now Luke must testify on his friend's behalf, only he doesn't know what he's going to say. Thus begins Luke's tumultuous journey back over the details of that horrible night. He questions everything: What he saw, Hayden's motive, even his own horrible family life and his damaged relationship with his mother and brother.
Freefall has it all: Believable characters, nail-biting suspense, and excellent pacing. Anhalt even sprinkles comic relief here and there amidst the crushing suspense, in the form of Luke's hilarious tongue-tied reaction to the beautiful and smart Rachel, the sweet girl he has a humongous crush on.
Grab a copy of Freefall today and prepare yourself for a roller-coaster ride of laughter, tears, and mind-blowing suspense.
Congratulations, Ms. Anhalt.