Thomas Rowe awakens on an airplane bound for Chicago. Nothing unusual for most of us, except Thomas Rowe died 24 years before in a traffic accident, leaving behind his two-year-old daughter Kayla. The man sitting next to him tells him to fasten his seat belt, and that he’s being sent back because there’s something only he can do. It has to do with Kayla – and the man can’t tell him what it is.
Kayla Rowe is getting married in three months. She has spent a lifetime missing the father who was killed. She’s spent the last two years missing Billy Harris, a young musician she met in college and whom she fell in love with. And Billy Harris, despite his musical talent, is going nowhere, because he can’t get over Kayla Rowe.
It’s obvious that Travis Thrasher’s Every Breath You Take is a love story. But it’s not the kind of love story you expect when you start reading it, and it certainly isn’t the kind you expected by the time you finish it. But it is many things more than a simple romance. A deeply satisfying story. A story about love and misguided intentions. A story about love getting derailed and set right. A story about soul mates. A story about a father’s love that is so strong that it reaches across eternity. A story about the love for music.
I was captivated. I didn’t want this novel to end. There are scenes between Kayla and Billy that are so real and so familiar that it’s like living your own first love all over again.
Thrasher started his writing career with two love stories, The Promise Remains (2000) and The Watermark (2001). He then moved into suspense, and has written a series of outstanding suspense novels, like Admission (2006), Isolation (2008) and Ghostwriter (2009), along with several before and since. Sky Blue (2007) might defy classification; it is a kind of combination suspense novel and love story that’s an extraordinary work.
And now Every Breath You Take. While all of his other novels have been published by conventional publishing firms, this one is self-published. It fell outside publisher expectations and, I suspect, he wanted to do this one entirely himself, because it is its own love story – Thrasher’s love story for his own daughter.
The love story about music is important, too. The novel’s title comes from a song by the Police/Sting. And there are a lot of references to Cold Play and other groups (I like Cold Play, although I know I’m not supposed to at my age, and I was tickled to catch all the references in the novel).
A final note. This was not a review copy. I bought it through Thrasher’s web site because I’ve read a lot of his other works. And I knew this one was going to be special. But it surpassed even my high expectations.
For more information on the book and how to buy it, visit Thrasher’s web site. And I give you my strongest recommendation to do so.
Every Breath You Take is that good.