Book Review: Thin Air by Lisa Gray

Title: Thin Air

AuthorLisa Gray

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Publication Date: 01 Jun 2019

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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A Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts bestseller, this debut thriller is an engrossing mystery worth checking out.

The lead character Jessica Shaw, is a successful private investigator on the move, travelling wherever her current case leads her to. One day she comes across a missing person listing of a little 3-year-old and is stunned to recognise the child as herself. When she learns that her mother Eleanor Lavelle was brutally murdered the same night she was abducted, and the man whom she knew as her father, Tony Shaw, could have been lying to her, she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. In the rest of the book, we accompany Jessica through the twists and turns of the intriguing case as she unravels the gruesome past.


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Thin Air is one woman’s quest to decipher her bizarre past while she is still grappling with the loss of the only person whom she knew as family. The book is well-paced and easy to read and promises quite a few nail-biting moments.

What I liked most about Thin Air is the plot itself. I found the idea that a missing person could be oblivious to the fact that he/she is missing, completely novel. For me, this was indeed the oomph factor.

As the story progresses, the narrative shifts effortlessly between several key characters. I found it really interesting to get to know the characters intimately through their own words. The characters of the LAPD detectives, Jason Pryce and Vic Medina and their comradeship added a warm touch to the story which takes us to grisly depths of the human psyche. They are currently investigating the ghastly murder of the college student Amy Ong. But is Pryce hiding something? Are the two murders connected in some way? Coming from an Asian culture, I could relate to the character of Amy very well, and recognize the tacit pressure to succeed, to prove oneself, that ultimately led her to risk vulnerable choices.

The story has a small-town setting, with a wide range of potential suspects. While this made the plot all the more interesting, I found it a little unbelievable that not just the bar, shops and motels, but also the people and photographs, were rooted at the same exact spots, post 25 years.

I did not figure out who the perpetrator of the crime was, till the very end. The author has done such a good job, that I was completely surprised when the killer was revealed.

I didn’t particularly like the main character Jessica Shaw in the beginning, strong and independent though she is. She is not the average oh-so-sweet, oh-so-nice kind of girl. I must admit that I gradually warmed up to her, and eventually started rooting for her, after getting to know her story.  Jessica receiving a sealed letter from her dead father gave an interesting touch to the story. But I found the reasons given for not opening the envelope until the very end, not very convincing.

I liked the book’s ending. It seemed logical and convincing. Even though a sequel is planned, this book is complete in itself. That said, I would certainly like to see the talented and driven Jessica solving many more thrilling cases in the future.

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My Verdict

✨ I enjoyed reading it, but I am unlikely to rave about it.

✨ Very Good – Though not spectacular

✨ Recommended for people who love crime thrillers and mysteries.

✨ If you are looking for poetic prose, you won’t find it here.

✨ Even though Thin Air is indeed a page-turner, it is not a gripping book that would prevent you from taking a toilet break. Though I was invested in the characters and the story, I was not dying to pick it up again every 2 minutes.

✨ The storyline had lots of potential, but the writing itself is not exceptional.

✨ Nevertheless, it is an intriguing mystery with believable characters and a gratifying end. An impressive debut by any measure! Go read it!

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Bookish Trivia

Though Thin Air is a stand-alone novel and complete in itself, it is the first of a two-part series. The sequel, Bad Memory, is coming out in October 2019. You can buy it from Amazon here

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About the Author

Lisa Gray is a professional writer and has served as the chief Scottish soccer writer at the Press Association and the books editor at the Daily Record Saturday Magazine. She currently works as a journalist for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail. This is her first crime novel. Visit her website here.

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Favourite Quotes

“Not everything’s black and white in this world, Jess. Sometimes good people make mistakes. Sometimes innocent folk are locked up for things they didn’t do. And sometimes, the really bad ones never have to pay for what they’ve done.”

~ Lisa Gray, Thin Air

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Huge Thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
#ThinAir #NetGalley

Professional Reader


Have you read/ Are you planning to read Thin Air? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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