Leta’s Book Review: Blood Atonement by S.M. Freedman

Blood Atonement by S.M. Freedman

Psychological Thriller, Adult

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.


After reading S.M. Freedman’s novel The Day She Died, I knew that I would be on the lookout for more. I want to include a few quotes from that review that also apply to Blood Atonement:

The Day She Died is a slow-burn thriller that captures your mind and refuses to let go.”

“It pays to pay attention.”

My review of The Day She Died can be found on the BC Review site at https://thebcreview.ca/2021/11/19/1290-herbert-mcmyn-freedman/.

Though the premise of Blood Atonement differs from The Day She Died, they both capture your mind. Blood Atonement is shocking and thrilling, terrifying you from the moment you realize what events this book describes the aftermath of. And of course, it pays to pay attention. There are numerous details on every page that are intrinsic to the plot of the novel, and some can easily slide past your eyes and hide in the ink on the page in the rush towards the end.

Blood Atonement talks about the aftermath of an event that struck a tiny chord of remembrance in me when I read the synopsis. Here in British Columbia, there is a town called Bountiful. From the research I’ve done, it’s not a true town, but it’s simplest to call it that. It was in Bountiful, BC that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the FLDS) set up a compound and began practising their beliefs. These beliefs included many horrible things, most of which happened to women and children. I suggest watching one of the documentaries on the subject (I watched Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey on Netflix but there are others you can find through Google) so that you have a better idea of what truly happened to the people that grew up and/or escaped those places. The documentaries are mostly about the groups in Utah, Arizona, and Texas, but it sounds very similar to what is described and hinted at in Blood Atonement.

The intrigue and mystery in this novel are more than hooking. I was enthralled with following our main character, Grace DeRoche, as she struggled with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and attempted to find the person who was slowly killing all the survivors from the Mormon compound of Brigham. The twists and turns were shocking—I was on the edge of my seat. It was easy to sense the tension, too. Whenever the tension mounted, Grace would find herself struggling against her reality, desperate to stay in control and avoid an episode. Sometimes she succeeded, while other times her others came out so quickly, that she didn’t have time to resist. It added another level of terror to Grace’s life.

I enjoyed this novel immensely. I can’t think of any criticisms to add. It is a flawless story of surviving atrocities and the powerful effects that they will have on the rest of your life. I cannot recommend reading this book enough. But please, look up the content warnings before heading in and make sure they aren’t going to be too much. There are a lot of horrifying things that happen, and they only build as Grace’s flashbacks continue throughout the novel.

As with most thrillers and mysteries, I don’t want to say much more in order to preserve the reading experience. I will suggest doing a bit of research into the FLDS in order to understand what they believe and how similar the tragedies in this novel are to what happened in real life, but honestly, you don’t need to in order to enjoy the thrill that Blood Atonement brings to the table. As I said of The Day She Died: it devoured me so completely and I cannot wait to read more from S.M. Freedman.


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