Category Archives: Murder

Book Case #90 – Voices

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Book and Author Details:
Voices on Good Reads
Voices on Amazon
Author’s Website

Description from Author:

Sometimes the ghosts from your past…are real.

Moira Flynn is arrested for attacking a door-to-door solicitor with a knife. She claims a voice told her the man was intent on assaulting her. The trouble is, she was the only one that heard that voice. Moira strikes a plea bargain and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for voluntary treatment. Dr. Richard Cassano is hesitant to treat her as schizophrenic, as she does not show the standard symptoms. As their sessions progress, Moira confesses there are two voices—and they aren’t voices in her head, but the voices of ghosts. Are they imaginary? Or are they actual spirits, attached to her for reasons of their own? As Moira’s doctor uncovers more of her past, he begins to realize that her ghosts are real. And one of them is determined to drag Moira into the afterlife with him.

My Review:
Moira is an intelligent, vibrant protagonist. As children, both her and her younger brother were both wards of the state. Hidden deep within her are stories of traumatic events from her youth; stories that lead to spiritual attachments. Now, she’s a professional architect who is troubled. When a door-to-door religious peddler comes to her door, her life is torn apart.

Moira finds herself committed in a mental hospital. She’s stuck in a tug-o-war with mental health professionals who feel she’s schizophrenic and needs medications, and those who actually believe she may be haunted by something evil. Moira’s brother, Liam, her foster mother Mom Adel and her therapist all push to get her early release and into the care of her brother.

Moira connects with another patient, and with his help, she attempts to purge her attachments.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, entertaining, and well written. Clarissa is a strong author who weaves a fantastic storyline and creates believable characters. Her stories in the paranormal genre’ never disappoint.

You know it’s wonderful book when you’re still up at 5am reading until you’ve finished. I look forward to more books Clarissa Johal puts out. You will not be disappointed with Voices by Clarissa Johal.

Book Case #89 – Through A Glass Darkly

Book and Author Details:
Through A Glass Darkly on Good Reads
Through A Glass Darkly on Amazon
Donald Allen Kirch’s Website
Donald Allen Kirch on Good Reads
Donald Allen Kirch on Facebook
Double Dragon Publishing

Description from Author:

The House loomed over the city like a beacon of malevolent evil. People spoke of it only in whispers. Others tried to own it, eventually coming out in a body bag. Darkness dripped from its windows, spilt blood made up the foundations of its property, and Satan seemed to have a claim on the land. Houses built along its borders nailed their windows shut so that they wouldn’t have to see it. Evil resided within its ancient walls and did not care who knew it!

Manchester House was a legend – the “Mount Everest” of Haunted Houses!

Professor Jonathon Holzer knew he had scored the opportunity of a lifetime. With an international crew of paranormal investigators, and a mysterious “shaman” named Indrid Night, the man hoped to find some answers. There was one proviso: The City Council was not aware of his venture, and the police could not help him. He would be alone.

Sometimes when one stares into an abyss, the abyss stares back into you!

My Review:
How do I start this review? There are those books that you read and enjoy. Those ones that you read, write the review and move onto the next one. Then, there are those books that you read, rush through to the end because you HAVE to know what’s going to happen next, and then find yourself reflecting on all the multifaceted levels of the book. 

This, was one of those books. I finished last week and I have taken this time to really revel in the enjoyment I felt from this novel. Huge kudos to the author, Donald Allen Kirch. I really hope this novel catches the eyes of a lot of readers; if it doesn’t they are surely missing out.

We are met with a self-assured parapsychologist who is aching to take on the “Holy Grail” of all paranormal /haunting cases. The very case he has sought out lands in his lap with a call from a Lt. Wells from Atchison, KS. There’s a house, Manchester House, that has taken the lives of many over the 100+ years since it was built. 

With the chance in his grasp, he gathers a group from his team of experts. S.O.U.R.C.E. This team represents the “ideal” team; this is a team I would die for in my investigations. Even though there’s bickering amongst the team, the team is stronger than any family I’ve ever met. There’s a saying in my family, “We fight hard, but we love harder.” This holds true to Professor Holzer’s dream paranormal team. 

This team goes through thick and thin; literally..thick mud and thin plastic veils. The come out with a hellish ending, and bigger tale to tell others. Without giving too much more of the plot line away, I will say that this was a well thought out, well written and thorough book. The author deserves to be promoted highly for his imagination and novel born of it.

I really hope that he does write a continuation. Donald Allen Kirch has left it wide open with the end in this book. If he does opt to continue this storyline, he focuses on some of the “cons” I’ve listed below. 

Pros: There are so many pros in this storyline. 
A. Team. I absolutely love the dynamic put together for Pr. Holzer’s team. Miranda, completely scientific based. Teresa, psychic medium whose power is believed in by the rest of the team, even though some are strongly science based. Sinclair, “non-believing” camera man who’s just there for his knowledge of camera and video equipment. Professor Holzer, parapsychologist, firm believer and researcher of all things supernatural. Finally, Indrid Night. Indrid is the Elvis of religious beliefs. He’s a cross between Indiana Jones and Roland of Gilead. I love this character. I could really see Jeff Bridges playing this character in a movie, should a major film company ever pick it up as a screenwrite. 

B. Verbage and word usage. Donald has a strong grasp of the English language. I love when an author makes me think because of their work. I am electrified when an author causes me to keep a dictionary handy to look up words. I felt electrical pulses for words like, “incongruous.”  I found this throughout the whole novel. This alone should be a reason to read this book. I have found that a lot of self publish authors do not possess the knowledge behind a strong vocabulary. I found this to be one of the solid aspects of Donald’s writing.  

C. Plot line. There were no real questions left behind in this novel. Donald did a marvelous job at covering almost all points in his story. I was only left with two questions. Everything from the start of the Manchester House to the hell within. All circles of life were completed. The author brought in Religion, and did it with grace and class. As mentioned above, Indrid Night was the team’s religious guru. I compared him to Elvis, because Elvis wore symbols from every religion. Night, he was versed in religions from new to archaic. There’s a quote in the book that I felt was appropriate. “Charms, spells and icons of every faith and religion. Good, like evil, had many faces. Though Night was partial to the ‘faces” of his own faith, he realized that God was great enough to have other faces in His battle with evil.”

D. Even subtle references to kick ass fiction characters, “Bubba Ho Tep.” Because, Ho Tep man.

Cons: There were only a couple that left me pondering. 
Character building was a little lacking. I would love to have known more about their psychic, Teresa, and her background. The tidbits fed to the reader about her parents was just enough to meet the character, but not enough to satisfy the hunger. Each character was described enough to understand their roll within the book, but not enough to understand their idiosyncrasies and what makes approach the paranormal in the ways that they do.  I do hope that if he goes into a book II, he covers their background a bit more. 

The plastic sheeting was never covered. Although it covered the pages of the book within the storyline, the author doesn’t cover the meaning behind it. 

Book Case #87 – The Breadwinner

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Book and Author Details:
Breadwinner on Good Reads
Breadwinner on Amazon
Stevie Kopas’ Website
Stevie Kopas’ Author Facebook

Description from Author:

The end of the world is not glamorous. In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures. This three part story takes you into the world of the survivors, coming from different generations and different sides of the tracks, they all share one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.

Samson, a once wealthy and powerful criminal defense attorney struggles to keep his family safe and keep his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star races to get her brother out of the city and into the safety of Franklin Woods. Along the way we come across the struggles of finding solace, finding out who you really are, and making decisions in a post apocalyptic world. The Breadwinner is a three part story and the first book in a planned series that will leave you craving more.

My Review:
So, you all know that I’ve been really overrun with a lot of zombie, apocalyptic, dystopian type of book lately. This is one of the books I received prior to putting the brakes on zombie novels. I read a few none zombie based books prior to chewing into this one.  I am glad I did. I was able to get right into this book and finish it within two nights.

It’s the same basic pretense of most zombie apocalyptic novels; groups of survivors continuing to survive. The groups come across both the undead trying to eat them and the living trying to rape, plunder and pilferage. The protagonist in this novel is Veronica, who made a snap decision to kill her father when he was bitten. This decision forever changed her view on the new world ahead of her. She’s a fast runner, athletic teenager who aged and matured many years on that quick decision she had to make.

The decision she makes, after the loss of her family, is to head to the Bay. Along her travels she meets Ben, who ends up being a life saver. By the end of the book, the troop of humans have separated and finally reconnected at the Bay. When they were separated, Veronica meets Samson, the name sake for the book. His story is a bit twisted; think American Horror Story – Zombie Apocalypse.

All in all, this was a fantastically written zombie trope. The author constructed the story line rather well. However, more importantly was the character development. I believe that’s the main reason I clung on for dear life until the end of the book.

My thoughts on the book: I am not sure why it was titled Breadwinner, when that aspect of the book was so small compared to Veronica and her storyline. I mean, I got where the title came in and how it played out. But it seemed so much more insignificant in regards to Ben & Veronica.

This has nothing to do with the author or the book, just a personal experience. I also had no idea it was a series of books. I was mildly irritated it ended the way it did. Once I found out, today even, that there was a book II, I actually did a little cheer. If it had ended this way, I would have been completely bummed out.

Fantastic book. Wonderful character connections and development. I will actually read book two!!

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

Elysium Dreams

Book and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in and eager to know more. 

Aislinn “Ace” Cain and the SCTU head to Alaska to track a methodical serial killer. With her misfit team members and a new team lead, Ace digs deep into the mind of this Hunter styled serial killer. He takes his victims and mutilates them in a fascinating method. But the more they dig, the more they feel it could be one of their very own.

Again, as readers we are left with asking ourselves, “Will he get too close to Ace?

I loved this book so much more than the first one. I’ve been completely pulled into this series. I’m connected to the team, and Ace. I want to know more about their history, what made them this way, and so much more. I am super glad the end we found out about the new Team Lead a bit more.

One more thing that I thoroughly enjoy about these books by author Hadena James, is that she makes me think. She writes about things I am uneducated about, which leads me to the internet researching. I have learned quite a bit between the first and second book on subjects like sociopaths vs. psychopaths, medieval torture devices, and various medications. Anyone who can write a book that leaves me to reach out and search for further answers is outstanding to me.

I cannot wait for book two, “Mercurial Dreams”

 

Book Case #85 – Tortured Dreams

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Book and Author Details:
Tortured Dreams – Good Reads
Tortured Dreams – Amazon —- FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

When the US Marshals Serial Crimes Tracking Unit comes knocking at Aislinn Cain’s door, she is given a chance to use her past to save other people’s futures. She has survived attacks by two different serial killers and devoted her life to studying the darker side of human history.

A new killer is using medieval torture methods to slay his victims. She can give them a glimpse into his twisted world, but not without a cost. If she opens herself, she risks falling into the depths of her own darkness. Can she afford to help, knowing that the cost could be her own humanity?

Aislinn Cain’s life is a horror story.

My Review:
I received this book from author Hadena James as an ARC copy. I genuinely enjoyed this book.

The protagonist is Aislinn. She’s a bit “off”, and by that I mean she’s a sociopath. Her whole life she’s attracted very unsavory individuals. She’s a lot like Dexter. She is aware of her mental disorder, so she harnesses her sociopath tendencies towards serial killers. She has few true friends, one being her cousin, one being her “mom” and one being Malachi, a psychopath who works for the government.

Aislinn is headhunted by an elite group of detectives from the US Marshals. They need her insight and expertise to help them track down a cryptic serial killer that uses medieval torture devices to kill their prey. Will Aislinn and the team that newly recruited her be able to catch the killer before another set of ten are found tortured to death?

Overall, I have to say, I love this book. I can see a few minor errors in grammar and spelling. My biggest complaint I had with the book was that I  found quite a bit of of redundancy with Aislinn, her team, and the description of the torture devices. Literally, she would describe the device with a completed description, a team member would ask a question, and she would answer the question exactly the same as she had described two sentences prior.. But overall, I was really into this book.

I can only thank the author for giving me something great to read that was not zombie based. This book is one of 7 in the series so far. I loved the idea behind Aislinn and her social dysfunction, her focus and her team.

I am really glad what happened to their team leader, Alejandro, took place when it did. He made a great antagonist in the story. Good, quick read of a novel. Enticing and entertaining. 

Book Case #84 – Cut

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Book and Author Details:
Cut on Good Reads
Cut on Amazon
Rob Bliss’ Author Page Good Reads
Rob Bliss on Facebook
Necro Publications

Description from Author:

Dear Diary,

I am a star. I’ve finally found the yellow brick road to fame. I could teach anyone. As long as they are willing to die for it.
———————
A bomb goes off in Buffalo, N.Y. That same day FBI agent, Daryll Peltier, receives the first of many correspondences from a serial killer calling themselves, Sam-I-Am.

The gruesome torture and murders of the killer’s victims are filmed and broadcast on live television. Creating a puzzling masterpiece of blood and torture which the FBI can’t unravel.

Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state

My Review:
I received this book from Necro Publications/Bedlam Press as an ARC. This was a complete book series from Rob Bliss called, “Necro Psycho Series.” This is a remarkable book for any crime/mystery/cop thriller book lover. Rob Bliss, the author, really knows how to spin a crime story. 

The story opens on an elderly man walking through the streets of New York. He’s going about his daily business, as fast as his old body will allow him; with ice and snow too boot. As he finishes up his morning chores, he crosses a street, and a bomb goes off.

Agents, police entities, paramedics, injured and the dead are spilled out amongst the wreckage, blood and damage after the bomb. As the investigations begin, Agent Daryll Peltier receives her first message from a twisted, horrific serial killer. As the novel plays out, more correspondences cross Daryll’s desk. Victims are mutilated, tortured, and eventually killed.

CONS: 
Although the book was well written and entertaining, it was long and wordy as well. Even in the author’s description, “Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state” you can see that there is an over abundance of plot lines and information taking place. I think a huge portion of the story could be cut out to make it a more precise, attention grabbing novel. It could easily be cut down. 

The only other aspect of the novel I didn’t enjoy was the gory, bloody descriptions. The gore factor was a bit over the top and I found myself skipping pages just to get through the novel(s). 

All in all, this is a thrill pleasing crime novel for any enthusiast of this genre’. 

Book Case #81- Working Stiffs

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Book and Author Details:

Description from Author:

Working Stiffs is a hilarious, action-packed tale of survival in the fast-paced world of pharmaceuticals. Something has gone horribly wrong in the Pro-Well Pharmaceuticals factory and ex-meth dealer Marshall Owens, the company’s owner and drug genius, must keep the surrounding Pittsburgh area from finding out.

Unfortunately, the undead assembly line workers have other plans. The infection spreads and chaos reigns supreme as the surviving Pro-Well employees battle their way through offices with whatever weapons they can scrounge from the supply closet. They must get outside. But they don’t know that The General is out there amassing a shambling, rotting army of Pittsburgh’s finest.

Will the employees make it? Will two repulsive workers find love in a janitor’s closet? How many office workers can one man take down with the blade of a paper cutter and some staplers? Will Marshall Owens go back to selling meth? And most important of all, will Pro-Well’s stock value plummet? Find out all the answers in this brilliant new horror/comedy novel reminiscent of style of Christopher Moore.

My Review:
This is Lucy Leitner’s first attempt at novel writing. I’m split on my view of this novel. Although the writing is strong, the styling is just too overboard.

PROS:
I am going to start with what I think are the pros for this author and story. 
The author’s marketing is freaking brilliant. The company in the book is called ProWell Pharmaceuticals. The author created a website for this company:
ProWell PHarmaceuticals <— This is beyond hilarious. Not only did she create a website for the company, she created a zombie workout site for survival:
FITApocalypse <—- She really has an edge with her marketing plan. 

CONS:
To me, it had a very Stephen King vibe, not in the story, but in the descriptions; where he goes into pages of description for one person. Another dislike for me was that the author goes on and on about humanity, and whores and women, etc. The story itself was really good. The idea, the flow and thought process from beginning to end.  For a female author, she’s really rough on women. I feel she tries too hard at throwing in pop-culture references.

Overall, this is really midline for me. It was easy enough to read, but I found myself skipping pages and skimming the story, just to actually get through it and finish it. 

Book Case #80 – In the Light

in the light Cover
Continuing short story from: 
S.P. Miskowski’s “Knock Knock”
&
S.P. Miskowski’s “Astoria”

Book and Author Details:
In the Light on Amazon
In the Light on Good Reads
S.P. Miskowski
Omnium Gatherum Publshing

Description from Author:

While fleeing from neighborhood bullies, a lonely girl uncovers a dark secret buried near the abandoned ruins of a house mired in local legend. Ruth hopes the charred remains that she unearths will bring a bit of magic to her life, but she’s no match for the force that dwells in this place, waiting for a chance to live again.

A displaced child neglected by affluent parents and a former preacher burdened by the tragic and scandalous circumstances of his mother’s death face a final reckoning at the hands of a woman with the power to summon good and evil.

In the Light is the final book of the Skillute Cycle, a chronicle of one fictional town and an abiding horror that lies just beneath the surface. In the woods. In the water. Beneath the ground. The time has arrived. Something evil has come home.

My Review:

This is the third, and final, installment of the Skillute cycle. I’ve become quite attracted to S.P.’s writing style. Her poetic composition is beautifully woven together to create yet another intriguing tale of the creepy history of Skillute.

The child in this story is new to Skillute. Her parents are avid house flippers and moved from Seattle proper to the small, obscure town of Skillute. She doesn’t fit in with peers. She doesn’t fit in at home. She is very displaced and bullied. During a bullying incident, she runs through a field to get away from her aggressors. She stumbles upon a buried  tool box.  What she finds not only intrigues her, but changes the outcome of her life in Skillute.

This short novel was captivating and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed the series as a whole. S.P. Miskowski is a fantastic author. Everything from plot design to character development. The only thing about this novel that bothered me was the ending. I felt it was like a really good horror movie that leaves an Easter Egg at the end leaving it open for the potential of further stories. If this is truly the case, then I look forward to more! 

Book Case #78 – Fort Reiley

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Book and Author Details:
Fort Reiley on Good Reads
Fort Reiley on Amazon
Author Jerry Hanel Website
Author Jerry Hanel’s Facebook

Description from Author:

Harrison Kass, a tabloid reporter, travels to a sleepy little town in western Oklahoma to dig up an amazing legend. Well, quotes about one, anyway. What he finds is more than he bargains for. Adam Moor, the town patriarch, has a secret. All of Harry’s prying dislodges the secret and Adam vows to convert Harry into a Citizen – a parasitic infection that will take over his mind and body. Tara Roberts, the local vet, isn’t what she seems. She comes to Harry’s rescue and helps him survive infection. Together they must find the only man on record who knows how to free Harry from his condition before he succumbs to the Turning and becomes another of Adam’s mindless minions.

My Review:
First book on my Best of 2015 Category!!!

I absolutely love this book. Jerry, the author, very much reminds me of early Dean Koontz/ Richard Paige. I am really thankful this book was sent to me for review material. Jerry does well with weaving mystery, paranormal, and creep factor into an intriguing plot process. He has strong character development without going overboard with the description process. He gives you enough to allow you to visualize, while leaving out enough to keep your imagination flowing. This was an easy, but wonderful, read.

The story features Harrison (come on, you know a book’s going to be good when the main character is named after one of the greatest actors!) Kass. He’s a tabloid journalist looking for his next big article. He heart rumors of a fountain of youth in the middle of Oklahoma, and ventures out in his pristine vintage VW bug looking for the perfect quote. What he finds instead was much more than a quote of a lifetime, he finds adventure that becomes life or death.

The town is run by a impenetrable Adam Moor; who’s more than he first seems. No one in the town is friendly. Everyone is secretive, except for Tara Roberts, the town’s vet. She goes out of her way, risking her life, to get the town’s secret out. This story takes the reader on an imaginative, genetic alteration, alien, mysterious adventure.

I found the writing easy to read and follow. The story’s plot was fantastic and kept my attention; well into the wee hours of every morning. This sleep deprived book review cannot wait to read more from Jerry Hanel; especially as a huge early Dean Koontz fan. You can’t help but feel for the main character, Harry. You can’t help but root for Harry and Tara to connect romantically. You can’t help but mentally cheer for them to destroy the town’s “Citizens” and bust the secret wide open.

FANTASTIC Book!   

Published: Dec. 16, 2014
Words: 118,310
Language: English

ISBN: 9781311451026

Book Case #76 – Blazing Obsession

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Book and Author Details:
Blazing Obsession – Amazon
Blazing Obsession – Good Reads
Blazing Obsession – Matadour Publishing
Dai Henley Website

Description from Author (Shortened to fit blog):

How would you react if your wife, stepson and baby daughter were murdered in an arson attack and the arsonist was tried and acquitted on a technicality? How would you feel if DNA evidence proved the arsonist’s guilt, but the 800-year-old laws of double jeopardy meant that he couldn’t be retried?….

Blazing Obsession shows how powerful the emotions of revenge and obsession are, and how they can result in fatal consequences. The novel, which combines police procedural, legal drama and amateur sleuth genres, will appeal primarily to crime fans.

My Review:
This is a great book to pump blood back into my review blog. I was contacted by Matadour/Troubador  Publishing to read and review Blazing Obsession by Dai Henley. I am really glad I agreed to. This book had my heart pumping, hands trembling and mind reeling.  There’s just so much to take in with this book, and I’m so excited to have finished it, I don’t even know where to begin. I can tell you that my mind was active all night after finishing it. 

Blazing Obsession is broken into three parts. In the first part, we learn about James, the main character, and the courtship he pursues with Lynne. James is a successful, wealthy businessman who falls for the simple woman with a charming smile. Lynne brings to the relationship a child, Georgie, from a previous marriage. We learn about the struggles Lynne has with her ex-husband; the abusive, demanding, controlling Nick Burrows; father of Georgie.

Nick is obsessed with Lynne, determined that they will forever be together. He cannot handle the idea of Lynne dating anyone else. Hell breaks loose after Nick finds out Lynne is pregnant with James’ child. A kidnapping happens. A marriage happens. A birth of a beautiful baby girl happens….. and then the arson happens.

James’ whole family is taken out by an arson at their vacation home. The arsonist is left off on a technicality that sends James into a revengeful spiral. James, with the assistance of a Private Investigator and his wife’s best friend, Alisha, the begin to unravel the reality behind double jeopardy, a broken court system and the truth behind who murdered his family. 

There is such a HUGE TWIST in this book, that I did NOT see coming. Once the literary bomb hit, I could not put the book down. I was totally blindsided, I did not see it coming. But once it was released, and I was reading through the aftermath, so much more that was written in the book began to make sense. There’s a strong story within the story.

The strongest line, for me, in this whole book was near the end. “I realized all three of the men involved in relationships with Lynne were shaped by their attitude to revenge.” Ka-POW!! Right there people, is the book, story and review. Revengeful relationships.

The story is easy to read, and not overly complex. It flows incredibly well and the author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader’s attention. It’s a strong story with a fantastic road map full of rest stops called,  “Revenge”, “Obsession”, “Mystery”, “Anger and frustration”…. Such a fantastic story. 

Published: 28/11/2014
ISBN: 9781784620516
eISBN: 9781784627560
Format: Paperback/eBook