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The First Time I Died

(Garnet McGee #1)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  97 reviews
The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone.

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago.

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics.

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strang
ebook, 413 pages
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  261 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The webs we weave…Plain and simple, Jo Macgregor has a hit with , a haunting tale of love lost and hidden truths that, if uncovered, could destroy a town a surely as it broke one young woman’s heart. What happened that night ten years before? She’s not a kid anymore and Garnet wants answers. She knows the truth lies buried beneath the lies, but will the answers come from beyond the veil?

Someone or something is trying to communicate with her, someone who knows what happened that night at the lake…has she jus
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Psychological Thrillers, Crime, Mystery and the Paranormal
I was completely (and unexpectedly) bowled over by this book! Why you might ask? It leapt out at me to be read as it is a thriller which is one of my favourite genres. My enjoyment was unexpected as I am usually wary of anything to do with the paranormal, but not on this occasion. It is not a crime novel where the reader is buried under loads of supernatural information. The thriller and mystery parts are well interwoven along with the paranormal aspects and as a result, I was hooked from the ve ...more
Gail Schimmel
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love a good detective type story, and I like a touch of the supernatural - so this was a fabulous combination! and at the right level - I find too much crazy magic off putting, but Jo Macgregor finds the balance and pulls it off perfectly.
Karen Szabo
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this story. I like the way Jo Macgregor writes. I lived this story vicariously through Garnet. I used to chew my nails and I could feel Garnet’s pain whenever she messed with her fingers. Knowing it was a murder mystery, I tried to pay attention to all the clues. Sometimes I forgot because the characters, town and story were so interesting. This is Jo’s second book I have read and her experience in counseling brings extra levels of interest to her writing. The title says ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a couple of Joanne Macgregor’s young adult contemporary books – Hushed and The Law of Tall Girls – and have since found myself more than willing to dive into the author’s other work. In fact, I find myself curious about all her work and plan to one day devour them all. As it currently stands, however, I started through taking a step away from the young adult contemporary books and decided to read one of the thrillers written under the name Jo Macgregor. As a big thriller fan, I was e ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2018
Mindblowing and Amazing!

Wow! Wow! Wow!
This book is absolutely FANTASTIC! While I received an advanced copy to review and am a slow reader, I could not stick to my 5 chapters a day. I HAD to read more! It's just that good.
It keeps you on your toes until the very end and then leaves you wanting some more.
It's filled with great characters that are easy to like even when you don't think it possible.

All around flippen fantastic book that gives me all the good
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you read the book in practically one sitting (just the odd break for pesky email checking), you know you're on to a winner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. The setting was vivid and painted the picture of Pitchford in my mind's eye; the pacing of the story was perfect - not so hectic that you're exhausted but enough that I read it one day. Garnet and her family really appealed to me in their quirkiness and long suffering of each other. There were no characters that w ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are two words to describe this book, TRULY PHENOMENAL! 10/10

This book is a cross between YA, thriller, crime and supernatural, and the story telling alternates between 2017 and 2007, telling a story of true love, immense loss and grief, crime investigation and retribution. I am a fan of psychology, so reading about this subject within this story, was fascinating.

I have not read a book of Joanne’s I’ve not loved., and I look forward to the return of Garnet McGee, her
Have you ever read a book that leaves you breathless?
That’s this book.
I LOVED this a LOT – more than I thought I would, honestly. I get pretty burnt out on murder mysteries because most of the mainstream, traditionally-published ones follow a cookie-cutter format of “detective tries to solve mystery, detective gets close to solving mystery, detective’s life is threatened, detective beats villain, detective exposes/captures villain.” So, I *love* that this particular story broke away
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The storyline was intriguing and the characters interesting. I guessed parts of the ending so it wasn't as shocking as I hoped but I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series!
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just because this book was not my usual cup of tea, it doesn't mean it wasn't amazing. I don't read this crime type of books, but it got me hooked. And...I couldn't put it down. The switch between the past and present with some teen background probably helped me move forward at the beginning and then I just wanted to discover everything. I had a hint on who would be the murderer, but clearly there were a lot of things that I didn't see coming. I loved the time invested by the author in descripti ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gripping & suspenseful reading.

When I heard about this book it had me very intrigued.
As a fan of suspenseful reads I loved the sound of this.
The cover drew me in too and the Supernatural twist was the icing on the cake.
This book had me engrossed from the beginning. It kept me turning the pages, I found myself absorbed in the story.

Garent left her small town behind after a shocking tragedy to start her life over.
Years later she finds herself back in the suffocating town
Angelique Pacheco
This book is amazing! I found the plot different from what we've come to expect from crime/thriller novels and I really enjoyed that. I'm getting bored with books that are written by formula. This book is beautifully written and the descriptions are vivid and keep your attention. The plot is well thought out and the story line keeps you guessing until the very end. This author is fast becoming one of my firm favourites and I look forward to the next installment.
Nothing that I have read by this author has disappointed me in any way. I loved the mixture of psychology and thriller and the touch of the paranormal - all in just the right proportions. Garnet is a very likeable character. I see there is a hint at a series and I am looking forward to more books about her. The characters are all well-rounded - you can empathise with just about all of them except the ones you clearly aren't meant to like. Her knowledge of psychology and insight into how people t ...more
Autumn Is Azathoth
"You can't go home again." Sometimes that is very apropos. When Garnet left her tiny Vermont home town, she vowed never to return. She had few reasons to ever do so, and many reasons to stay away. But pressure from her academic advisor, coupled with her mother's transient ischemic attack, finally propel her back to that declining community she left at age eighteen. Quickly she discovers that on the surface the town has very much changed; but under the surface, those powerful and intense undercur ...more
Garnet McGee never planned to come back to Pitchford, Vermont. Not after what happened ten years ago. But when she hears about her mother getting hurt, she decides to come back briefly despite the demons that still haunt her. Plus, as she’s struggling with what it is that she really wants to do concerning her schooling, she’s advised to take a break, think things over and come back with an answer. Garnet has never been the same after the tragic death of her boyfriend, Colby, but those wounds are ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book totally captivating! I requested an advance copy from the author after reading her newsletter where she mentioned the upcoming release. I wasn't sure I could wait for the actual release - and wow! I'm so glad I got that opportunity!!

I started off reading Jo's book in the early hours of a Saturday morning when I couldn't sleep - and then was truly grateful for the rest of a rainy weekend which allowed me to immerse myself in the characters and all that they were expe
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marlene Spellious
A must read!

This story was fascinating!! I couldn't put it down! The story just got more intense as it went along!! Then ended with a bang. With great anticipation I'll be looking for more by this author!
Jadyen (jayjaysbooknook)
I’m a huge fan of Joanne’s. When I found out she was doing an adult crime novel I knew I had to read it and she didn’t disappoint. I was hooked by Garnets story and loved the storyline. The touch of supernatural just added to my enjoyment of the story. It is the perfect mix to keep readers hooked and wanting more. Highly recommend.
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Read more of my reviews at!

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Lately I have been in the mood for mysteries and, when The First Time I Died popped up as available from my library, I really hoped it would be as amazing as it sounded! Between the murder mystery and the promise of a possible paranormal twist, I couldn't wait to dive in and see what was in store.

Garnet McGee left her town as soon as she could after her high school boyfriend was brutally murdered, hoping never to have to return/>Actual
Lea Cherry
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!! It was something absolutely different and I loved every single moment. I probably would have finished the book in one sitting, but life happens, unfortunately not as interestingly as Garnet’s though. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a murder mystery mind or even a fan of paranormal investigations. Or basically anyone wanting a great read!!
Cyndi Bingham
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by this author, and I was extremely impressed! It was a meaty mystery, with Garnet trying to solve the cold case murder of her boyfriend Colby. After a near death experience, she realizes that she starts hearing the voice of her deceased love, and has flashbacks of his life (and death). She begins to mistrust everyone and everything, eventually culminating in a revealing ending that shocked me (and impressed me with twists and explanations that would have made ...more
Andrea Stoeckel
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m so happy to have discovered this new-to-me author.

Mysteries are one of the hottest sellers in the market these days, and when you read as many books as I do, you can get jaded. Jo Macgregor doesn’t “play by the rules”. She writes across genres ( YA, thriller, crime and supernatural) asthe story telling alternates between 2017 and 2007, as Garnet McGee finds herself back in a place she’d never wanted to be- Pitchford, a town she’d left after a tragedy forced her to start over. ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not going to lie this book made feel tired!! It kept me up for two nights in a row and I loved it!! One of the best books I’ve read so far in 2018 and I’m looking forward to reading it again!!
Judy Porier
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I enjoyed this book with all the twists and turns, and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Lauren Stainbank
The book kept me enthralled and I couldn’t put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Debbie Carnes
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first hear about this book I was like WOW, my kind of story and I was not disappointed . One of the best books I read in awhile, couldn't put it down Loved it , cover to cover
Carrie Wheeler
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, arc
not my usual genre, but i've read 2 other genres by the author that i loved. i received an ARC for a fair review.

its really intense, what Garnet goes through. she's working on her masters in psychology, which is giving her answers, and conflicting answers. she describes her mother as a kook, as her mother tries to give her alternative theories as to what is happening to her. is she right?

i don't want to give away too much, but i stayed up till 3 in the morning to finish t
Sara ✨ Next Book Review Blog ✨
******** AUDIOBOOK REVIEW ********

This is my fist book or audiobook (or even book) from Jo Macgregor. I was first unsure if I was going to enjoy this story or not. It really developed slowly at first and was wondering if we were going to get moving with some action. But once we got to a certain point… Macgregor hit the pond running! I really enjoyed the way Macgregor built the story up. It was very layered and detailed building a strong base. She introduces us to a small town in Verm
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When not writing, Jo Macgregor is a counselling psychologist in private practice in South Africa. She works mainly with victims of crime and trauma, and brings her twenty years of experience as a therapist to her writing, creating deeper characters and realistic psychological scenarios.

She started her professional life as a high school English teacher and writes young adult fiction under the name

Other books in the series

Garnet McGee (2 books)
  • The First Time I Fell (Garnet McGee #2)
“Nothing is always, no one is forever.” 0 likes
“Eat the frog, kiddo. Do the hardest thing first—” “—and the rest of the day will be easier,” I finished.” 0 likes
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