Fictional Dilemmas: What would you do?

I bet that this happens to all readers. We often judge characters by how they react in different scenarios.  Authors frequently present characters with dilemmas that end up determining the rest of the story. As a reader, I usually try to imagine myself in similar situations and figure out how I would react.


Dilemma 1


In this post, I will discuss five dilemmas in thrillers that I enjoyed. Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers and I will only share dilemmas as presented in the blurbs without revealing what the characters actually did in the story.

Dilemma No. 1


I Found You by Lisa Jewell
In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

What would I have done?

This one is fairly easy. I don’t think that I would invite a strange man into my home. Honestly, there is no way that I would have done that. Call the police, maybe?  I do live in a city though so maybe it would be different in a small town or the countryside where people might be more trusting of strangers. In my case though, nope!


break downDilemma No. 2

The Breakdown by B. A Paris 

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.


What would I have done?

So Cass was driving alone in the middle of the downpour on a dangerous road at night when she saw the car… Should she have stopped?

I remember reading this story and thinking about this scene wondering what I would have done. I don’t think I would have stopped. I think I would have worried about it being a trap. Perhaps carjackers lying in wait? I don’t know.

This one is tough!  Then once I get home, do I call the police and report what I saw? Is it a crime to park on the side of a dangerous road on a stormy night? Goodness, the author certainly did come up with a complex dilemma.


Dilemma No. 3

The Woman in the WindowThe Woman in the Window by A. J Finn

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times–and spying on her neighbors. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and it’s shocking secrets are laid bare.

What would I have done?

Another tough dilemma especially since I know how the rest of the story went. As bad as it sounds, if I was Anna, I would not have gotten that involved. Perhaps make an anonymous call to the police? If I filed a report and nobody followed up, I would have dropped it. I know… I know… I am terrible but I see no other way of handling this one.



Dilemma No. 4

childReview: The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland

Kirstie Rawlings is jolted awake by a child crying. Racing upstairs to check on her new-born, she is plunged into every parents’ worst nightmare. She hears an unknown voice in the baby monitor, saying: ‘Let’s take the child – and go.’

In the bedroom, her daughter is safe asleep in her cot. Is the voice coming from a nearby house? But there aren’t any other babies living on her quiet country road…

The police don’t believe her. And neither does her husband.

What would I have done?

I would have lost my mind! As indicated in the blurb, nobody believed Kristie! I think in this case, I’d get paranoid about protecting my child. Probably even moved? I know I would have obsessed about the incident though.


Dilemma No. 5

Last NightLast Night by Kerry Wilkinson

It’s the early hours of the morning and Rose Denton wakes up behind the steering wheel of her car. She’s off the road, through a hedge and in a field.  There’s blood on the windscreen and bonnet – but it’s not hers and there’s no sign of anything or anyone she might have hit. The last thing she remembers is being in a hotel on a business trip but now she’s miles away.

What happened last night? And, perhaps more importantly, does she really want to know the answer?

What would I have done?

I guess the first thing to do would be to check around the car and try to figure out whether I had hit someone/something? I think I would have gone to the cops but the memory loss makes me a bit uncertain. I mean, I may want to fill in the gaps before going to the cops.

Another tough dilemma!


dillema uno


This turned out to be tougher than I thought it would be. Basically, I have no idea what I would have done in similar situations and I hope that I will never have to find out.

However, I must give props to the authors for coming up with these dilemmas. They definitely presented interesting premises which I enjoyed reading!


What would you have done in any of these scenarios?

Which books would you recommend to a reader who enjoys premises such as the ones shared in this post?


  1. This is an awesome post! I often pause in stories and ask myself what I’d do in those situations, too … and the answer’s almost always a difficult one. Except for those easy cases where you want to shake the main character for doing something straight out of the setup in a horror movie, hah.

    1. haha many are the times I also want to shake the MCs for making decisions that don’t make sense. However, the premises still provide some very interesting stories. Glad they are fictional though since I wouldn’t know what to do in most of the cases.

      Thanks Kaila.

  2. I haven’t read books #4 and #5 so i skipped those points, but on the first 3 i’m totally with you. Mind you i’m so totally oblivious most times, doubt i would have even noticed most things… 😀

  3. Pretty much agree with you on them all. Sure fictional characters go a little further than we ever would but that’s probably why we’re always sucked into the stories. Common sense in the real world is pretty much call the police and let them handle it. LOL

    1. Haha yeah,calling the police would have been the right thing but I am glad that fictional characters think differently.Their choices are always interesting to read 🙂

  4. I loved this post Diana!! Much food for thought. In most of these situations I would try to go the safe route because I’m not much of a risk taker when it comes to my own life. I will most likely always try to help, but not if it puts my life in jeopardy. When I’m reading books I’m often thinking, “now why did he/she do that?!” But I chuck it all up to circumstances in which we’ve lived or been raised with regard to actions we take, and then I settle back down and enjoy the story, giving consideration to those factors. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

    1. ‘Why would he/she do that?’ crosses my mind a couple of times when reading these kind of stories.I love that fictional characters take risks that wouldn’t occur in real life though.That makes the thrillers especially,much more interesting to read.

      Thank you:-)

  5. Lol this was fun.
    I totally love this and might do one myself one day.
    I’m sitting here wondering what happened in the stories. Actually, you have me wondering what exactly did Anna see in “The Woman in the Window.” Because that one was really intriguing.
    “The Child Next Door” = I’d think the house is haunted, run around with holy water blessing it to buy time to pack my things and leave.

    1. Hahahaha I was so not expecting your answer.I laughed so hard picturing you with that holy water lol.I can see why you would assume that the house is hunted though 😀

      Thank you.I’d definitely love to read your post,should you decide to do it.

      1. Lol gurl I don’t play with them stuff. My family and I thought our house was haunted because it creaks so much n because we moved in quickly without blessing it and all. But it’s just old. We laughed at ourselves for being superstitious weirdos. 🤣😲🤣

  6. Amazing idea! I’ve only read a couple and I think I share your opinion, I would never have taken that man home lol And what about The couple next door, would you have left your baby home?

    1. Haha Alice sure did make some very odd decisions.It was even weirder that she trusted a strange man yet she was a vulnerable, single woman living alone with her two kids.An interesting read though.

      Couple Next Door is another interesting one.Who leaves their baby home alone lol.

    1. haha I love your comment Beth because that is something I can totally see myself doing. I don’t think I would even call the police without making a call to mama first. We talk about everything and she does give the best advise. I can totally relate with that 🙂

  7. If I were Cass I would never tell and would also never use that shortcut again, Ever. You know how sometimes you can innocently report such a case then the script changes and you become the suspect, prime suspect infact. No thanks. Whatever happened during that storm stays there lol

    1. haha especially in Kenya. The cops will interrogate you and even lock you up as the key suspect in the case. Keeping quiet definitely does seem like the safest thing to do. Let them figure out what happened on their own lol.

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog 🙂

  8. I love this!
    I don’t mind it when a character reacts differently than I would…but I hate it when it doesn’t feel plausible or like something they actually WOULD do given the full situation.

    1. Thank you Layne. I actually love that characters don’t react like most of us probably would. This makes their stories much more interesting 🙂

  9. Oh what an awesome post! I think I agree on you on all of these.. I think I’d call in someone else I know so that I wouldn’t have to make the decision alone. I know I’m a wuss. Also, I can’t drive so I’ll never be alone in the car driving around. I knew there was some advantage to that. I’m so going to use this next time someone tells me the reasons why I should get a license 🙂

    1. hahaha now why didn’t think of that excuse before? Definitely a key advantage of not driving because according to these thrillers, a lot happens on the roads. That is when most people witness stuff 😀

      Thank you Inge for your comment and for making me laugh 🙂

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