Book Review: Performing Murder by Joseph LeValley

The violent death of a famous actress rocks the rural Iowa town of Orney, where a Hollywood movie company is filming on location. Local newspaper reporter Tony Harrington is stunned by the murder, as he was one of the last people to see her alive. Tony finds himself further entwined in the case when it’s learned the actress was seen riding in his car on the night she was killed, and when her former lover attacks him and his best friend.

Soon Tony’s world view is shattered when someone he loves is officially charged with the murder, and the evidence collected by the authorities is indisputable. As Tony desperately seeks an alternative solution to the case, he finds it may have ties to a family secret from thirty years in the past.

As the investigation intensifies, so does the action, leaving a second person dead and a third lying on the ground with a bullet hole in his side. At the point where Tony is ready to give up and concede the unthinkable is true, a newfound love convinces him to dig deeper. Her strength, intelligence, and belief in Tony helps him cling to hope and begin to unravel the truth, right up until the murderer fights back, putting Tony in the greatest peril of his life.

Join Tony as he races against time to save an innocent man, win a woman’s heart, and stop a criminal genius from once again “performing murder.”

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My Review

This is the fourth Tony Harrington novel by Joseph LeValley, but it’s the first one I’ve read. It is definitely a standalone.

The small town of Orney, Iowa, was the site of the movie Murder Beyond Them directed by the famous Ramesh Bhatt and based on the novel by Charles Harrington. Tony Harrington, the son of Charles, was a reporter who lived in Orney and the reason that the movie was being shot there.

Soon after the shooting of the movie began, one of the female movie stars was murdered, and there was a lot of convincing evidence that Charles committed the murder. When all of the evidence was presented, I couldn’t imagine how he couldn’t be guilty. On the other hand, it was so obvious, I figured there had to be more to it. Tony felt the same way. He wanted to believe that his dad was innocent, but how could he? Then again, Tony knew that as a writer of murder mysteries, Charles wasn’t stupid enough to leave so much evidence behind. Maybe he was framed? But how?

Other than the murder, there was a lot going on in Performing Murder. Not only did Tony have the murder to investigate as a reporter and to help his dad, he had a blossoming relationship with Darcy, the other female lead from the movie. Tony’s best friend, Doug, another reporter, got shot. Tony was knocked out by someone they thought was paparazzi but obviously wasn’t. And that’s just some of what was going on! Once I got into the book, there was so much happening that it was difficult to put down.

The small-town feel was genuine. Everyone knew everyone else’s business. A good example of this, and something that tickled me, was when Tony got some information from Davis, a good friend of his who worked in law enforcement. Tony didn’t want to get his friend in trouble, so as a courtesy, he called the sheriff to get the information from him. The sheriff had left a note with his secretary to tell him that whatever Davis had told him was fine.

The author’s writing flows well. The book is exciting, and the characters are believable. I like that they’re not just good or bad; the good guys have flaws, and the bad guys have good qualities.

I recommend Performing Murder for anyone who likes a good murder mystery. It has suspense, danger, romance, and a touch of humor.

About the Author

Joseph “Joe” LeValley was fortunate to find success in three careers prior to becoming an author: journalism, health care, and music. He was a reporter-photographer for Iowa newspapers for seven years. During that time, Joe wrote articles ranging from breaking news to feature stories to personal columns. Subsequently, he served for more than 30 years as an executive in Iowa hospitals and its largest statewide health care network. During that time, he and his team won four national awards for communications excellence.

As a musician, Joe plays drums and guitar. He has performed with a number of groups and has written more than 40 songs. In 2016, he was inducted with the Mourning Glory Rock Band into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

A lifelong Iowan, Joe has a degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Jane have six children and live in Dallas County, Iowa.

Website: https://www.josephlevalley.com/index.html

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joelevalley/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephlevalley

Book Review: The Ticket by Zaph Stone

Their very, very last thought was that this was probably for the best. The golden straw-colored dunes and the clear, deep blue sky faded away, and a once immaculate, untouched beauty was now forever stained with blood, lots and lots of blood.

It’s 1985, South Australia – a group of friends head off on a camping trip to the remote and beautiful Innes National Park. They’re planning on a weekend of surfing, drinking, drugs, and hijinks. It’s the eve of the state’s first million-dollar x-lotto draw, and one of the couples has a ticket. What could possibly go wrong? A lot is the answer, a lot –

I’d describe this, my second novel, as a tense, suspenseful, and ultimately horrific white knuckle thrill ride – but then again, I would say that. You be the judge – if you dare!

My Review

Several friends decide to go on a camping/surfing trip in 1985. Greg and Miranda have a van that will fit everyone…barely. The first 50 pages or so are spent getting to know the characters. There are nine main characters which is quite a few. I was mostly able to keep them straight, but it would have been easier if three of characters’ names didn’t all start with the same letter (Jamie, Jane, and Jackie).

When someone starts murdering the friends one by one, they don’t know if it’s a stranger who is doing it or one of them. Is it because of a winning lottery ticket that Greg and Miranda have? Or is that a coincidence? Most of them have had abusive pasts whether by family or bullies. Could that have something to do with it?

Shane, whose girlfriend is Jackie, has made some bad decisions, and some bikers are looking for him because he owes them money. He was planning on running, but the bikers have found him. Jamie, whose girlfriend is Jane, has made a bad move in the stock market and is suddenly broke. One of the bikers was sent to keep an eye on the campers. Even after someone is murdered, all Jackie can think about is the lottery ticket. So many possibilities for the reader to consider!

But occasionally, the story goes back in time to the future killer, telling their story. Because of these, I figured out who the killer was very early. I was hoping I was wrong and there would be a big twist at the end, but I was right. Despite that, once things get started, it’s impossible to put this book down. There’s so much going on and so much suspense!

The characters are young and most of them have no problem with doing drugs, so there were a couple of times that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open! I won’t go into it any further…no spoilers. I didn’t care for several of the characters, not because of their youth or the drugs but because they just weren’t good people. Greg and Miranda were a nice, normal couple. A couple of the others seemed decent as well.

There were also a few times that the intensity was broken but something hilarious such as when a tent collapses on a couple, and they can’t get out. Also, occasionally, the author’s writing tickled me. An example: “Liam didn’t like the look of this at all. I don’t like the look of this at all, he thought.” That wasn’t done often, just enough to make me giggle.

There is a lot of violence in books and movies these days, but there were a couple of things in this book that still make me anxious when I think about them.

The Ticket is absolutely a book I recommend. Even though it needs to be proofread, it’s still a great read.

About the Author

Zaph grew up in the UK and settled in Australia in the early 1980s. He has been writing professionally for a couple of years, and he sincerely hopes that you can join him on this adventure – it promises to be one hell of a ride.

Hit Zaph up on his website – https://zaphstonetheauthor.wixsite.com/website or socials under the tag zaphstonetheauthor. Thank you, and if you read my work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Book Review: Doppelganger by William Michael Davidson

David Anderson is a mild-mannered English professor until he walks into the classroom one day and discovers the corpse of one of his colleagues. She has been murdered. With all eyes on him, another woman, this time a former student of his, is also found murdered. In both cases, the killer has done the same thing: taken photos of the body and posted them anonymously online. Because of this, the media has dubbed him the Voyeur Killer. When it happens a third time, Detective Grimm, the cold and ruthless woman leading the investigation, narrows her sights on the English professor and begins to close in. Yet David, who has exhausted himself convincing others that he isn’t guilty, begins to question his own sanity. Is he the one committing these murders? Has he been doing it without his own knowledge? Desperate to clear his own name and discover what is happening, he begins to unravel the secrets of a twisted and depraved mind. The only question: is it his own?

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Storm Taken by William Michael Davidson a while back and liked it, so I was happy to read this book. I liked it even better!

Once I got to the second or third chapter of Doppelganger, it was difficult to put down. David Anderson decides to ask a colleague out but when he gets to her office, she’s been murdered. Of course, since he found her, he’s a suspect. And when a former student is found, he’s in real trouble. As there are more murders, he even begins to wonder if he’s going crazy. Could he have committed murder(s) without knowing about it?

On top of all of this, David also has to deal with his daughter, Scarlet, who is an addict. She’s in rehab but wants to leave and live with her boyfriend who is also an addict. Talk about having a lot to deal with all at one time!

The story is told from David and the killer’s points of view…or is it all David’s point of view? As David questions his sanity, I did as well. There are several twists along the way, and once everything falls into place, it makes a satisfying ending. I look forward to reading more thrillers by William Michael Davidson.

About the Author

William Michael Davidson lives in Long Beach, California. A believer that “good living produces good writing,” Davidson writes early in the morning so he can get outside, exercise, spend time with people, and experience as much as possible. He is a writer of suspense and speculative fiction. If he’s not writing, he’s probably at the beach.

Book Review: The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

Release Date: August 16, 2021

If you hear it, it’s too late. Can two sisters save us all?

In the shadow of Mount Hood, 16-year-old Tennant is checking rabbit traps with her eight-year-old sister, Sophie, when the girls are suddenly overcome by a strange vibration rising out of the forest, building in intensity until it sounds like a deafening crescendo of screams. From out of nowhere, their father sweeps them up and drops them through a trapdoor into a storm cellar. But the sound only gets worse….

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from J.D. Barker and Netgalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

J.D. Barker is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books, and when I have the chance to read another one, I get so excited! The last book I read that he co-authored with James Patterson was very good so I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store this time. I wasn’t disappointed.

You never know what you’re going to get when these two authors team up. The one thing you can count on is that you’re not going to be able to put the book down. The Noise began with Tennant and Sophie checking rabbit traps on a normal day and that’s the only “normal” in the book. The noise, the vibrations, changed their lives forever. Not only were they the only survivors in their community, but the noise changed them. I kept wondering why they weren’t affected like the others and I did find out…eventually.

The team that was put together by the government consisted of civilians and Fraser, a military officer. It was frustrating for the members of the team (and me) because it was apparent that they weren’t given all of the information about what was going on. And teams of soldiers kept disappearing when they went to the area of what was named the “anomaly.”

The action was nonstop as was my anxiety. It’s been a long time since I read a book that made me feel so stressed! It reminds me of early Stephen King, where regular people end up in weird situations. Only this situation is feasible, I think? That makes it that much scarier.

I definitely recommend The Noise. I can’t wait for their next collaboration!

About the Authors

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, and I Funny. Among his notable literary collaborations are The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton, and the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over three million books to schoolkids and the military, donated more than seventy million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. The National Book Foundation recently presented Patterson with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and six Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.

Website http://www.jamespatterson.com/
Twitter JP_Books

J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author whose work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.

Website: https://jdbarker.com/

Book Review & Giveaway: Darkness Hides by J.C. Gatlin

Book Title: DARKNESS HIDES by J.C. Gatlin
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 + yrs), 251 pages
Genre:  Mystery / Suspense
Publisher:  Milford House Press
Release date:  April 2021
Content Rating:  PG-13: There are a couple of murders and mild language (damn, shit)

Someone she knows is watching.
Someone she knows is stalking.
And something hides in the darkness.

With a Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall, boat safety instructor Kate Parks is running out of time. Bodies are piling up–and they’re not from the raging storm. An injury may have ended her career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, but nothing can keep her away from the investigation.

And it doesn’t take long for her to see that the clues have one thing in common: a connection to the recent death of her five-year-old nephew.

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, Kate fights to protect her grieving sister just as the hurricane threatens everything she knows and loves. But before her world is completely ravaged, she must uncover one final truth:

Run from the water.
Hide from the wind.
Flee from the shadows where a weeper seeks revenge.

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My Review

These are some messed up characters! Kate was shot when she was working for Fish and Wildlife and has been temporarily working for the police department. Her 5-year-old nephew, Noah, was killed about a year ago in a car accident and her sister, Elise, has been in a deep depression ever since. Elise’s husband, Redd, seems to be handling Noah’s death better, but is he really?

When the attorneys who defended the drunk driver involved in the accident start dying, Kate has to wonder if Redd is guilty. Or could it be her overzealous boyfriend?

Darkness Hides is full of drama and some humor here and there. I actually laughed a couple of times. About halfway through, the suspense and action kick into gear, and it was difficult to put the book down. Even better, the ending was a surprise. I usually have at least some idea about the ending, but this one blindsided me.

About the Author

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes mystery novels that include sunny Florida locales and quirky locals as characters. His last novel, H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word, won the coveted Florida Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Mystery in 2019. He is active in the Florida Writer’s Association and is a board member on the Florida Writer’s Foundation, a charity organization that fights illiteracy.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ linkedin ~ goodreads

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Enter to win a copy of JC Gatlin’s DARKNESS HIDES (3 winners) (USA and Canada only)

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Book Review: Stalking Gideon Cain by Kerry Alan Denney

Bestselling author Gideon Cain is losing his mind. Everywhere he turns lately, the femme fatales from his psychological thrillers show up—live and in person. Are they actresses playing a cruel joke on him, figments of his increasingly terrifying delusions, or fantastical vigilantes sprung to life from the pages of his books? All he knows for certain is if he doesn’t find answers soon, he’s bound for the psych ward.

When one of his fictional antagonists poisons him on a flight home from a book-signing tour, he realizes that someone isn’t just messing with his mind—they’re trying to kill him.

Now he’s running for his life from an enemy with a weapon so deadly it can kill with the touch of a button. Only an enigmatic woman from his tragic past can help him discover the truth behind his adversary’s vendetta. And time is running out to stop the madman who is stalking Gideon Cain.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

When I read the first chapter or two of this book, I was a little concerned that it was going to be too “out there” for my taste. My concerns didn’t last long, though. What a ride!

The story is fast paced, well-written, and more and more difficult to put down the further you get into it. It got so intense that there were times I found myself urging the characters to move faster (thankfully, my husband knows to ignore me when I’m reading).

The characters were mostly realistic. Brendan aka Gideon Cain has his flaws but he feels very guilty about stealing an idea from his former roommate. What’s interesting is that stealing an idea isn’t wrong, only the way the idea is presented can be stolen and his roommate never even got that far.

Brendan’s friends are all amazing people who are willing to go the extra mile for him. His parents don’t treat him like the adult he is, but they do love him, and he probably deserves a lot of their criticism. I really like the people he meets during this challenging time. They are helpful and badasses.

If you like suspenseful thrillers, I definitely recommend Stalking Gideon Cain. I’m going to have to check out this author’s other books!

About the Author

Kerry Alan Denney aka “The Reality Bender” is the multiple award-winning author of seven published novels and numerous short stories. Denney blends elements of suspense, thriller, horror, scifi, fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, and various ways the world ends in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With glee and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers even when the voices don’t make him do it. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists … even when he has to kill them.

Denney’s newest novel STALKING GIDEON CAIN, a psychological thriller, is coming from thewordverve inc. on May 21, 2021.

Denney lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with Gypsy Dancer, his remarkably exuberant and eternally high-energy fur-ever companion. He is currently training Gypsy to be a therapy dog and writing his next thriller … and deciding who to kill in it.

For more wackiness, visit www.kerrydenney.com
Write Kerry at kerrydenney@gmail.com

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Book Review: Hidden Justice by Nolan King and David W. Wright

The bestselling authors of Yesterday’s GonePretty Killer, and No Justice bring you a brand new unforgettable thriller that blends mystery and suspense into pulse-pounding, revenge-seeking, fast-paced thriller action.

Frank Grimm is a retired detective who breaks into his neighbors’ homes searching for clues to find the man who murdered his daughter. What was once an unrelenting obsession in solving a crime has turned into something else — Frank breaking and entering, vicariously living through their lives, searching for a connection to anything.

One day he finds something waiting for him — a letter from a teenage girl who knows what he’s doing. It also says one other thing:

“Help, my father is raping me. Please kill him.”

Frank must decide how far he’ll go outside the law to save a child from a monster.

But his former ally, detective Mallory Black, is tracking his every move — she believes he escaped justice once, and she is not going to let it happen again.

Detective and ex-detective find themselves on a collision course as their lives are torn apart by their obsessions for delivering justice, no matter the costs.

Hidden Justice is a new stand-alone thriller novel written within the King & Wright world of No Justice. Start reading your favorite new vigilante thriller right now!  

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Reedsy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Poor Frank Grimm lost both his wife and daughter and the only thing that kept him going was the need to find his daughter’s murderer. At first, he was sure it was a neighbor who had killed her so he started breaking into their homes to find a clue. Later, he broke into their homes because he liked to know what was going on in their lives since there was nothing going on in his except sorrow, grief, and guilt. I felt sorry for Frank and could understand that it was difficult for him to move on but his obsession with the neighbors, especially since he didn’t like them, was so unhealthy!

I enjoyed the other characters on Frank Grimm’s cul de sac. They were all quirky (annoying?) in their own way, and I could see why he didn’t particularly care to talk to them.

Mallory Black and her partner, Mike, were detectives who worked on the murder of Frank’s daughter. Mallory was positive that Frank was the murderer and even though he was officially cleared, she continued to investigate and was obsessed with catching him before he murdered another girl.

I did not like Mallory’s obsession with Frank because of how it affected her family. It was interesting how much alike she and Frank were, and Frank learned his lesson too late. He now realized how important dinner time should be for a family; hopefully, Mal could learn that before it was too late for her family. Even though she thought she put her family first, her job always came first. She wasn’t even concerned with her daughter’s anxiety. She just wanted to get back to work! And to her, her husband’s job had little value compared to hers.

Hidden Justice is a psychological thriller that I couldn’t put down after the first quarter of the book once Frank met his new neighbor Freya. She needed his help, and he was determined to help her no matter what. The ending was perfect. I now have a whole new series I want to read!

About the Authors

Nolon King writes psychological thrillers designed to have you on the edge of your seat. His stories are dark, twisty, and often decidedly close to home.

When not writing you will find Nolon drinking black coffee and observing humans in their natural habitats.

David Wright is a suspense thriller writer and co-author of the bestselling #1 horror and #1 sci-fi series, “Yesterday’s Gone.”

With co-author Sean Platt, he’s written the following series: “WhiteSpace,” “Available Darkness,” “Stonefall,” “Karma Police,” and the 47North series “Z2134” and the standalone novels “October’s Gone,” “Emily’s List,” “Crash,” and “Threshold,” along with countless “Dark Crossings” short stories.

With Nolon King, he is the co-author of the standalone suspense thriller “12” and the vigilante thriller series “No Justice.”

With Coraline Cole, he is the co-author of the dark fantasy series “ForNevermore.”

With Sawyer Black, he is the co-author of the horror series “Monstrous.”

He is the author of the non-fiction book, “Into the Darkness” which looks at how books and comics provided an escape from his youth and now he writes to offer that same escape to readers.

He is also one third of The Story Studio Podcast with authors Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.

He currently lives on the east coast with his wife, his young son, and the world’s most poopingest cat.

When he’s not writing books, David can be found writing about the things he enjoys (TV shows, movies, books, video games, and going off on the occasional rant) at http://DavidwWright.com.

Book Review: Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay

In one of the year’s most anticipated debut psychological thrillers, a family made infamous by a true crime documentary is found dead, leaving their surviving son to uncover the truth about their final days.

“They found the bodies on a Tuesday.” So begins this twisty and breathtaking novel that traces the fate of the Pine family, a thriller that will both leave you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears.

After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.

Told through multiple points-of-view and alternating between past and present, Alex Finlay’s Every Last Fear is not only a page-turning thriller, it’s also a poignant story about a family managing heartbreak and tragedy, and living through a fame they never wanted. 

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Matt Pine could not catch a break. I felt so sorry for him because he lost his entire family. First, his older brother went to prison for murdering his girlfriend. Then, his family was obsessed with proving his innocence. Then, they all died in an accident or were they murdered?

I like how this book goes back before Matt’s family dying to explain the prior events. Especially helpful was that the chapters that were before their deaths were titled “Before.” Going between the past and the present wasn’t a problem, and it helped to understand what happened.

Matt was a good guy who had some amazing friends. They even all showed up for the funeral for his family. They were there for him but allowed him space as needed.

Every Last Fear is full of suspense and is hard to put down. I had to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this one, so be prepared. There are also some twists. I definitely recommend Every Last Fear!

About the Author

Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. Born in the American South, Alex spent years traversing the globe, from a tropical island in the Pacific to a small village in the UK to a remote region in the Far East. But it was on a trip to Tulum, Mexico that Alex was inspired to write Every Last Fear.

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Book Review: If She Dies by Erik Therme

Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.

Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.

When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.

Or so she believes.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read Erik Therme‘s books and enjoy his writing style and the suspense in his books. I liked this book but it wasn’t my favorite. I think it’s because the loss of a child hits a little too close to home. We lost a grandbaby and if it had been because of someone like Brady, I can see my daughter-in-law dealing with her immense grief in the same way Tess does. I know everyone deals with grief in their own way, but Tess’s husband, Josh, isn’t able to give Tess what she needs. And they are both terrible at communication.

Tess following Eve might seem over the top and creepy, but she needs to channel her grief somewhere. The story was more about her grief and her failing marriage than the mystery of what happened to Eve. Tess is suspected when Eve goes missing, but could she have done it knowing the heartache she’d cause Eve’s mom?

I really liked the last quarter or so of If She Dies. A lot is resolved in Tess’s world, and there’s a big twist. This is a story of tragedy, grief, and suspense that I recommend to anyone who likes drama with a bit of suspense.

About the Author

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L

Website: http://www.eriktherme.com
Twitter: eriktherme

Book Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

No one knows who she really is…

Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good girlfriend. But Hattie wants something more, something bigger, and ultimately something that turns out to be exceedingly dangerous. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death, the tragedy rips right through the fabric of her small-town community.

It soon comes to light that Hattie was engaged in a highly compromising and potentially explosive secret online relationship. The question is: Did anyone else know? And to what lengths might they have gone to end it? Hattie’s boyfriend seems distraught over her death, but had he fallen so deeply in love with her that she had become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s impulsive, daredevil nature simply put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her to a violent death at the hands of a stranger?

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

Amazon

My Review

After I read Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia, it was so good that I put this book on my Christmas list in 2019. Little did I know what a crazy year 2020 was going to be! I decided that I’m going to read the books I got that Christmas come hell or high water.

I was not disappointed! I stayed up until 3:00am finishing Everything You Want Me To Be last night (this morning). I had to see what was going to happen to these poor messed up people!

I don’t usually like when books skip around, but it worked in this book. After Hattie’s body is found murdered, it switches back and forth from the current investigation to what happened before Hattie’s murder. There are some twists, and there were several possible killers, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the outcome, but it was a surprise!

Although the characters were well-developed, and I had to keep reading to find out what happened to them, I didn’t like them. Hattie is a good actress and acts as the person everyone wants her to be: the good student, the good daughter, the good friend, the good girlfriend…until she falls in love with the wrong person and decides it’s time to tell the truth and follow her dream. Hattie is innocent in some ways, but she’s manipulative and ends up only caring about what she wants. Her boyfriend is dumb as a rock, and she doesn’t care about him. She’s just using him. Peter Lund, her teacher, tries to do the right thing, and he’s tormented when he doesn’t.

I definitely recommend Everything You Want Me To Be but be warned. Once you get into it, you won’t be able to put it down!

About the Author

My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss).

Website https://www.MindyMejia.com
Twitter MejiaWrites