Death had come early in the morning?

With that question rumbling through his mind, Sheriff Nathan Justice begins his investigation of a mysterious death of a young lady visiting the small town named for his family.

Dee Henderson’s Before I Wake is twisting story that follows the intertwined lives of three main characters: Sheriff Justice, his friend and private investigator Bruce Chapel and Bruce’s former girlfriend, now business parter Rae Gabriella.

Before I Wake is not like most other novels I read. As a whole, the novel is geared more toward a female audience: written from a female perspective with a female lead. Having said that, I still found the book to be immensely readable.

Henderson weaves more relationship angles into the story than the average thriller, but again that goes along with the target audience. While most murder mysteries start out fast, Henderson gives the reader time to develop an interest for the characters, their lives, their personalities and their problems. This is a lost art and harkens back to classic novels.

Sometimes, however, the action may have needed to be sped up toward the beginning, but it did allow for a climatic build through out with drips of character information coming out while the plot progressed. By the end of the novel, readers are invested in the lives of Nathan, Bruce and Rae, as well as the numerous subplots swirling around Justice, Illinois.

Henderson’s target audience, female fans of murder mysteries and thrillers, should enjoy this novel. It tells a tight story with an exciting plot arc featuring numerous questions raised about relationships – past, present and future.

I would give the novel *** (3 out of 5 stars), but my wife would probably give it **** (4 out of 5). That is the ultimate case with Before I Wake – it is a novel that men can enjoy, while being a novel that women will enjoy.

Before I Wake is written by Dee Henderson. She is the author of fourteen best-selling novels including the acclaimed O’Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. She is active at her website, where she promises to read every email sent to her and respond to as many as she can.

The book is published by Tyndale Fiction, who can be found online at, and provided to me by Active Christian Media, who connects bloggers with publishers to promote books online. Bloggers are given the book at no cost and asked only to review the book on the blog within a certain time period.