Always the First to Die by R.J. JacobsAlways the First to Die by R.J. Jacobs
Narrator: Petrea Burchard
Published by Dreamscape Media on September 13, 2022
Source: Purchased
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 33 mins
Pages: 287
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at or Audible
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For fans of Riley Sager with a classic slasher twist comes a chilling thriller following a former horror movie actress who returns to the set of her most famous film…and is soon entangled in a series of terrifying events that resemble the plot of that one cursed movie.

For Lexi, the Pinecrest Estate has become a place of horror. The dilapidated manor house in the Florida Keys, once the site of her teenage movie debut, is now haunted by memories. Memories of working on a legendary horror director's most famous film and of the terrible death that propelled them all to infamy. And ever since Lexi fled the Keys, she has vowed to never return.

Until, years later, her daughter escapes to the Pinecrest in search of answers. Right when a Category 4 hurricane hits the southern coast.

Now, Lexi is back on the ravaged island with only a few remaining behind, and soon enough, her life begins to resemble the plot of her most famous film. And this time, she's not sure who will make it out alive.

Always the First to Die has a lot of good components – a category 4 hurricane, an island with no power, and a dilapidated estate. It makes for a very atmospheric novel.

As a teen, Lexi was cast in the now-iconic horror movie Breathless filmed in the Florida Keys at Pinecrest Estate. It’s a summer she’ll never forget: falling in love with the son of the legendary movie director and learning the “curse” of Pinecrest is real when someone dies on set.

Years later, Lexi finds herself racing back to the Keys in the wake of a hurricane to find her daughter who is visiting her grandfather at Pinecrest, the place where her husband died in mysterious circumstances just a year ago. Now Lexi’s life will turn into a real-life horror movie as she reckons with her past and avoids ending up dead.

The story alternates to the present and back to 1998 when Breathless was being filmed. The horror movie theme is strong. We have the story of the filming, but also in the present, Lexi does a lot of comparing the situation with a movie – how’s she’s doing exactly what you tell the characters on the screen not to, pointing out the bumbling cop who doesn’t believe what’s going on.

The story clipped along at a good pace, although I felt a little blah about the characters. I never really cared about them. The mystery was well-done actually, but if you’re looking for scary, this probably isn’t it.

About R.J. Jacobs

R.J. Jacobs has practiced as a psychologist since 2003. He maintains a private practice in Nashville, focusing on a wide variety of clinical concerns.

After completing a post-doctoral residency at Vanderbilt, he has taught Abnormal Psychology, presented at numerous conferences, and routinely performs PTSD evaluations for veterans.

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