The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day | Review

The Day I Died

By: Lori Rader-Day
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Psychological, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: April 11, 2017
From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother’s desperate search for a lost boy.Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d rewritten.

Book Review:

I am not always a fan of first person narratives because of how isolated  the narrator often makes me feel to the rest of the characters and the bigger picture. The Day I Died didn’t feel that way and the author does a great job of submerging you into story from the start. The novel if heavy in volume but because of how easy the story flows and reads, I hardly even noticed.

Anna lives with the purpose of supporting her son and using her skills as a handwriting analyst for odd projects here and there for the FBI, being careful of the people she interacted with and staying just long enough in one place for her to be faintly remembered but never noticed.

That is until a case in a small town in Indiana slowly starts to unravel secrets from her past she spent the last 13 years burring. But when details of the missing boy case reveals aspects of domestic violence and fingers all pointing to a mother that might be just as much a victim as the missing boy.

Anna’s can’t help but be shaken by the parallels it has to her life. Especially when things start mysteriously showing up at her apartment by someone who knows she’s not entirely who she claims to be, which goes to show that sometimes you can’t always escape your past. 

I loved the way the author’s slow progression of merging the Anna’s life with the Ramsey’s family while still leaving questions and missing pieces of Anna’s life hidden going into past two of this book. She gives such enough details and doubt for all of the characters involved in her life and the Ramsey’s family that you keeps you guessing right up until the end.

Anna’s character has a humor, realness and vulnerability to her that I really liked. Her character consistently notes her imperfections, the little things that remind her of a life she once lived and makes it clear that she’s dishonest with everyone, even her son. Anna’s character seemed too afraid of her past to talk about it, but also so guilt stricken for being dishonest with her son that she’s lenient and passive when he starts to show signs of dishonesty and trouble.


I found The Day I Died to be a pretty thought provoking, suspenseful and moving book and if you like to read multiple books at the same time but shy away from the larger, mystery/suspense books because of this specific reason, this would be a book it’d recommend.

About The Author:

Lori Rader-Day, author of The Black Hour and Little Pretty Things, is the recipient of the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award and the Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Lori’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery MagazineTime Out Chicago, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches mystery writing at StoryStudio Chicago and serves as the president of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter.

Find out more about Lori at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


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