Psychological Suspense

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly Review

Get ready for a night at the ballet — and if you’re thinking pink tulle and tutus, think again. This edgy thriller is all Black Swan.

Ava’s life at the London Russian Ballet Company has had one goal: to earn her father’s approval. Her dad is the owner and creative director of the LRBC, the famed and feared Mr. K. What does gaining her dad’s approval look like on the day-to-day? Being a good little creature (yikes, that’s what he calls his dancers), dancing precisely the way he demands (all technical, no personal expression), and cementing his legacy by knocking the double role of Odette and Odile (the white and black swan in Swan Lake, respectively) out of the park.

But you don’t get to the top without attracting jealous eyes, and there are those in the ballet company eager to claim Ava’s spotlight.

Watch Her Fall mirrors Swan Lake in both storyline and structure, moving from act to act (and interval) and switching between narrative views. Manipulation is a central theme in the classical ballet, and so it is here. And as Ava steps into the role of the swans—the part of a lifetime—desperate to (dance for and) appease her exacting father, the line between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. Ava, and the reader, begin to question what is real, new actors enter the stage, and the story takes pivot after pivot in a new direction.

“What they didn’t understand – what nobody understood – was that the higher you flew, the farther you had to fall.”

Erin Kelly

The pace is slow-burn, yet with unrelenting suspense. The feeling like the building of thunder, a great big drum roll through the second act that releases into a series of twists at the climax. There’s some repetitiveness to the storyline with the multiple points of view, but all is forgiven because the ballet world in the first act is brilliantly brought to life. I want all the ballet, and I want it now. 

An exquisite ballet thriller, dark, twisted, and ruthless.

Book: Watch Her Fall
Published: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 400
Publication Date: April 1st 2021
Stars: 4/5

Jonathan Ball Publishers kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

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