Broomall Lawyer Writes Psychological Thriller

Allison Buccola’s Debut Novel Catch Her When She Falls Is a Must-Read

by Jamie Joffe, Culture Editor

“Ten years ago, my boyfriend killed my best friend.” With that, Allison Buccola launches into her debut book, Catch Her When She Falls, released by Random House in February. The novel is a slow burn psychological thriller that focuses on a decades-old murder case in a small town that may or may not be located somewhere in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Photo by Heather McBride

Writing fiction is a second career for Buccola. The Broomall lawyer is a voracious reader and passionate storyteller, and while she always loved to write, Buccola never expected to be an author. With two kids – and a pandemic – it’s a miracle that she found time to write. But Buccola funneled her legal knowledge into what became her first novel. Publishers Weekly described the book as having “startling twists and troubling questions concerning guilt and justice.” We had our own (less troubling) questions for Buccola.

Joffe: What is the book about?

Buccola: It focuses on Micah, whose best friend Emily – a ballerina with a bright future – falls to her death during a camping trip. The last person to see her alive is Micah’s boyfriend Alex, who is convicted of her murder. Ten years later, a group of internet sleuths revisit the original case, drawing Micah back into the past where she begins to question the events that led to Emily’s death.

Joffe: How personal is this story?

Buccola: I think it’s impossible for real-life events to not influence writers. My background as a lawyer gave me crucial insight into criminality and how the legal system works – or in some cases doesn’t. I haven’t been involved in any true crime situations, thank goodness. But I am obsessed with any and all true crime podcasts, especially “Crime Junkie.”

Joffe: What is your writing process?

Buccola: There are days when writing seems impossible, but I just keep at it. Some days I write pages that wind up in the trash! Luckily I have an incredibly supportive husband and two kids that nap.

Joffe: Who is your favorite author? Any favorite shows?  

Buccola:I have a hard time picking a favorite author, but I do love Tana French. My favorite crime/thriller that I’ve watched in the past year is “Mare of Easttown.” It was so good! I absolutely loved all the Philadelphia references, especially the Delco accents and Wawa coffee cups.

Joffe: What are you reading now?

Buccola: The book I’m about to start reading and very excited about is Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka. Two other books I’ve read recently and loved are Chloe Cates is Missing by Mandy McHugh and Beneath the Stairs by Jennifer Fawcett. Chloe Cates is about the disappearance of a 13-year old social media star, and Beneath the Stairs is about an abandoned house in the woods with a gruesome past and a strange pull over the girls who enter it. They’re both fantastic.

Buccola is currently working on her next novel, another psychological thriller. Catch Her When She Falls is available for purchase locally at Main Point Books in Wayne.

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