Book Review: If I Die Before I Wake: Tales of Deadly Women and Retribution

Title: If I Die Before I Wake: Tales of Deadly Women and Retribution (Better off Dead Series #3)

Authors: Steven Pajak, Cara Fox, Chris Contreras Bahnsen, Scotty Milder, J.H. Moncrieff, Scott Harper, Bridgett Nelson, Spencer Richard, Mark Young, Claire Brown, Nikkolas James, Lee Rozelle, Natalie Sierra, R.E. Sargent, Red Lagoe and Renee M.P.T. Kray.



Go ahead, run. Hide, even. No matter. There’s no place you can go that she won’t find you.

A woman scorned. The sanctity of her sanctuary threatened. The betrayal of trust…even loyalty. Don’t ever tell her not to take it personally, because that’s exactly what it is. Personal. Your first blunder was mistaking her kindness for weakness. Your second was betraying her. The third? Underestimating her. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Take the plunge into these tales of deadly women who will stop at nothing until vengeance is theirs.

The Better Off Dead series delves into the farthest corners of your mind, where your deepest, darkest fears lurk. These masters of horror will haunt your dreams and stalk your nightmares, taking you to the edge of sanity before pushing you to the brink of madness!

My Review

5/5 Stars

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

A perfect way to sum up this anthology of 16 kickass stories. Women will do what it takes to protect those they love, and these stories take that to the extreme. Murder, mystery, and revenge flows throughout this collection. Even though every story is dramatically different, the theme of a strong female ensures that every story is connected in a way.

I tried to compile a top five favorites, but it was tough to choose so I whittled it down to my top six (in no particular order):

  1. The Long December by Steven Pajak: A daughter is determined to get revenge on the people responsible for her mother’s suicide. This was an emotional rollercoaster.
  1. Predator by J.H. Moncrieff: “Not my son. Not my child.” When a detective finds pictures of her son deep on the Dark Web, she takes on a special mission: protect him at all costs. It was easy to lose myself in the details of this one. The emotions were raw and, as a parent, very easy for me to relate to the MC.
  1. Political Suicide by Bridget Nelson: A beautiful story of Karma at its finest. After a politician cuts funding to a much-needed medical program, the MC’s son dies of cancer. In a desperate move to avenge him, she comes up with the perfect plan of an eye for an eye. The plot in this one was very original.
  1. To Hell and Back by Mark Young: In order to save her daughter, a woman must make a trip to the underworld. Very cool themes of paranormal, horror, and suspense. Not to mention a kickass MC.
  1. Forget Me Not by Claire Brown: When a woman wishes her children away, the wish is granted. Be careful what you wish for! This one was another emotional rollercoaster. Mixed with the suspense of the paranormal, it had me on the edge of my seat. Not to mention that ending.
  1. Lucy by R.E. Sargent: A woman enlists help from a stranger to escape her abusive husband. Thing is, her plans go much deeper than that. I always love R.E. Sargent’s stories for his awesome way of writing strong woman with dark plans.

Even though I’m not mentioning every story in my review, I enjoyed them all. Each of them spoke of the depths of human nature and what exactly can happen when a person is pushed too far.

Perfect collection of stories to invoke a range of emotions in readers across the board.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Published by Author Kayla Krantz

Proud author responsible for Dead by Morning and The Council, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem and some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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