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Book Review: A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge

I have been totally desperate to read this since the moment I heard about it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to receive it as an Advance Reader Copy – BUT I obviously got it on release day instead! ** Promoted to Pick of the Month in March Wrap Up**

It’s available now on Amazon.

A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge

Genre: Fiction/Crime Fiction/Crime, Thriller & Mystery

BUG Rating: 5/5

Overall: I am a total wreck after finishing this book – I was totally absorbed, captivated and consumed by A Gift For Dying. I knew it was going to be good – heck, It’s M J Arlidge’s. But really, it was a total WOW. The storyline follows young teenager, Kassie, troubled by her curse of seeing people’s deaths with just one look, she takes it upon herself to hunt down a serial killer after bumping into one of his victims, just hours before he was going to be killed. If you are looking for something totally gruesome, heart stopping, unpredictable and somewhat heartbreaking – look no further, you have it all wrapped in a bow with M J Arlidge’s latest thriller.

I’d talk to all of them, tell them all that … that time wasn’t on their side and that they should kiss their kids, or that it was and that they should buy that car, that house – […] even if you could help all these people, how would you choose? there are millions of people in Chicago alone.


Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her. 

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

I have always loved M J Arlidge’s books. I fell for them when I first stumbled upon his Helen Grace series. I was totally hooked from the first book. So naturally, I totally jumped for joy when I heard about his new book – something a bit different, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ‘super- natural ’ element but something about the synopsis just had me gripped – I just had to read it.

I like to type up my reviews straight after I finish, so the feelings and emotions are still raw – as I type this now, I feel drained. This book went well above what I expected. Obviously I expected it to be good just because it’s one of MJ’s, but I didn’t expect it to be this freakin’ awesome. 

The story is set in Chicago, US and follows Kassie, a fifteen year old girl. Kassie is troubled, she has had a difficult life, lost loved ones, has been in and out of trouble with both her school and the police. Her mother is quite literally at her wits end with Kassie, unsure what to do with her.

Kassie’s unruliness isn’t all her own fault – she has spent her life in the shadows, avoiding friendships, avoiding people all together. Why – because she has a gift, or rather a curse. She can supposedly see how and when someone will die just by looking into their eyes. She’s spent her whole life just surrounded by death. 

Through a number of events, linked to a serial killer haunting Chicago, Kassie ends up meeting Adam Brandt, a reputable psychologist who is the first person who vows to help her. At which point Adam has no idea how this is going to affect his life.

The storyline continues to follow the pair as they make sense of Kassie’s curse and try to stop this sadistic killer from striking again.

Everything about this book was totally gruesome, haunting and terrifying. 

MJ’s writing was probably at his best ever – The murder scenes were described so vividly you felt you were there; watching the torture, watching the lives of these innocent individuals be snubbed out, in such a painful, horrifying way. 

I was totally immersed in this read, that literally took me around a day to devour. Not only did I love the grimness of this story, I also loved the emotion in some of the sub plots. The lives of the characters unravelled, exposed bare for us, the readers,  to examine. The way the characters lives crossed paths. The book actually made me question my personal beliefs, about fate, purpose and how long we actually have on this earth. 

MJ really did an awesome job, especially excelling in his writing of the different perspectives/thoughts of the characters, going from a dedicated psychologist, to a teenage girl, to a killer, each perspective completely different and yet so believable. This is definitely top on my favourite books so far this year and I am just dying to find out what he’s going to do next – please, something soon!


  • Megan | Ginger Mom and Company
    March 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    So glad to hear you enjoyed this one, especially with how eager you were to read it 🙂 I haven’t heard of it before but now I’m intrigued and will likely be picking it up as soon as I get a break in my current review copies. Great review!

    • bookedupgirl
      March 23, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks, Megan! I’m sure you will enjoy it 🙂


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