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Try Not to Breathe

By David Bell

Fast Moving and Unrelenting Tension



Anna Rogers is a drunk spiraling college student arriving home at two in the morning after a night partying. A man she doesn’t know and can barely see approaches her outside her door. She makes it inside just in time, but she is petrified because the man seems to know her name. Kayla, her roommate wants to call the police, particularly after receiving a text from Anna’s father, a retired chief of police, who is worried about his daughter not being in touch. Anna despises her parents and her two step-sisters and wants nothing more than to get away from them all.

Ana hits the road to crash with friends and attend a protest against police brutality. Little does she know that two people are pursuing her. One is indeed the stalker that had approached her the other night, and the other is her step-sister Avery who had been dispatched by their father to find her and bring her home safely.

Avery had also been in law enforcement at one time but stopped to go back to school after a traumatic near-drowning incident in the line of duty. She has no desire to go tracking down Anna, but after being coerced by their other sister, she acquiesces. Avery spots Anna at the protest which has gone violent, but is unable to get ahold of her. Anna takes off again after receiving some shocking news, and Avery soon tracks her down to a closely guarded compound in the middle of nowhere with lots of secrets inside. Avery wants nothing more than to leave Anna at the compound, but she also has begun to worry about Anna’s safety.


The writing in Try Not To Breathe is gut-wrenching and transports us into a harrowing chase to find Anna and get her back home safely. The story is fast-moving and filled with unrelenting tension and high drama. Author David Bell carefully peels away layer after layer to reveal an extraordinary ending that explores the shocking depths people will go to survive.

Author David Bell creates a robust cast of characters that include the family, Anna’s roommate and friends, Avery’s friends, police detectives, and a host of bad guys. Each character adds drama and suspense to the story, making for a skillfully executed plot.

Author David Bell is an Award winning suspense novelist, his most recent thriller is Kill All Your Darlings. He is currently a professor of English and Western Kentucky University.

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Berkley

Published June 27, 2023


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