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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview Her Last Breath: A shocking psychological thriller perfect for Hitchcock fans (Detective Kerri Blasco Book 2) by J.A. Schneider (@JoyceSchneider1 ) Suspense, red herrings, and a couple of detectives to keep an eye on.

Hi all:

We end the week with another thriller. I’ve realised that I read a lot of them (perhaps because I write them too) but this week you can count yourself lucky as there aren’t many. Unless you like them, of course. But this one is well-worth a look. Or a read.

Her Last Breath by A.J. Schneider
Her Last Breath by A.J. Schneider

Her Last Breath: A shocking psychological thriller perfect for Hitchcock fans (Detective Kerri Blasco Book 2) by J.A. Schneider

  • “Stunning, unbearably intense. So engrossed was I that I didn’t realize I was three quarters of the way through till my phone started to lose battery and I realized it was dark outside!” -Best Crime Books
  • A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blascobattles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

  • A heart-stopping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Alfred Hitchcock

    What everyone is saying about Her Last Breath:

    “Absolutely breathtaking! Another incredibly intense and thrilling psychological stunner by J.A. Schneider – unputdownable and I never guessed the ending!”– Brenda Telford Reviews

    “Just finished, still gasping. Incredibly intense…I’ve read hundreds of books and I never guessed the amazing twist. Just stunning!” – Literati Literature Lovers

    “This psychological thriller will send shivers down your spine…raise the hair off your neck. It’s non-stop action and suspense. Character development is terrific. They all come across as normal everyday people …. but are any of them really who .. and what … you think they are?” – Linda Strong Reviews

    “Her Last Breath is another twisty, stunning mystery thriller from author J. A. Schneider, where the evidence coils and turns like an eel on a hook. Mari goes from trauma to paranoia and back again, her instincts pushing her towards uncovering the blocked memories that could make or break the case, even as she doubts her senses, her mind, and who she can trust. Husband? Friends? Nobody? It’s a rare pleasure to come across a mystery that’s so hard to guess, and J. A. Schneider’s books have a consistent winning streak on that score. Her plots go from strength to strength.”– J.C. Steel, bestselling author of Fighting Shadows

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Her-Last-Breath-psychological-Hitchcock-ebook/dp/B01M1EPMPP/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Last-Breath-psychological-Hitchcock-ebook/dp/B01M1EPMPP/

Some information about the author:

Author A.J. Schneider
Author A.J. Schneider
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there’ll be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

Her website is: jaschneiderauthor.net. Join her website’s Newsletter to know when more books and fun giveaways are coming.

She loves to hear from readers…come say hi on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/7fm44mk
or Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/JoyceSchneider1
or Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider

 

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher, RGS Media, for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I review voluntarily.

This is the second book in the Detective Kerry Blasco Series, but it can be read independently and although I haven’t read the first book in the series I could follow the story without difficulties.

The novel starts with a bang. The story is told in the first person and we share with the main character, Mari, the experience of waking up next to a body, with no memory of how she got there. She panics suffers an asthma attack and is unable to find her inhaler. She is losing consciousness… From that point on, her life is turned upside down; she becomes the main suspect in the murder of a man she’d never met before —a well-known photographer with a shady past, some dubious practices and more than a few enemies — and her estranged husband, a high-flying lawyer, comes back into her life.

The story is told from the point of view of Mari, but we also get accounts, in the first person, from other characters, most of them from Kerry Blasco, a female detective that sometimes can have strong intuitions, or so everybody says (that is not too evident in this case, as other characters tell us from the beginning that somebody is setting Mari up, and despite Kerry’s stubbornness and her insistence on Mari’s innocence, her reasoning appears logical and based on clues and evidence rather than any sixth sense). Kerry is a likeable character, a woman coping with a personal trauma, hard-working and empathetic, although we do not get to know her in depth in this novel alone. Her partner, in the police department and in life, Alex, seems to play devil’s advocate to her more sympathetic good cop, although is a good guy at heart. Despite the different points of view, the story is narrated from, each chapter is narrated in full by the same character and these changes are not confusing.

Mari, due partly to the effect of the drug somebody put in her drink, which causes her memory problems,  to past difficulties with alcohol, and to the shock of her situation, is a character that appears confused and who often acts on impulse rather than using her common sense. She functions as a conduit for the reader and it’s a good device as, like her, we don’t know either what happened and get to suspect everybody and live first hand her anguish and doubts.

There are plenty of intrigues, the action moves at a good pace, and we have many detectives (not only the official ones, but also Mari and Jay, the man who rescues her at the beginning of the book), a number of suspects, and quite a few red herrings, twists and turns.  You might or might not guess who the guilty party is, but there are many curve balls and the mystery is well constructed.

An enjoyable and dynamic read, with some violence (but not extreme) and no explicit sex scenes or long descriptions, it’s high on entertainment value and will keep you guessing.

Thanks so much to NetGalley, to the publisher and to the author for this novel, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Categories
Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview If you’re looking for something not Xmasy… BLACK WIDOW by Christopher Brookmyre (@cbrookmyre)

Hi all:

As I’ve been telling you, I am behind sharing my reviews, and I’ve decided to offer you some readings that are not the typical of the season, in case you’re looking for something different, either for yourselves or as a present for others.

If you’re not looking for reading material, feel free to pass on the posts, as I’m sure you’ll be busy this week, but just in case, I’ll post one review per day (more or less). I’m thinking about making some changes to the blog and I have a book coming out next week, so I’ll likely take some time off at the beginning of the year to rethink my blogging, but I’ll try and share the reviews in the meantime.

First, a review of a book by a writer I love and whose books I’ve been reading for quite a few years.

Review of Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre
Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre

Black Widow. A Jack Parlabane Thriller by Christopher Brookmyre. Women, surgery, love, and mystery, Scottish style.

Grove Atlantic

Atlantic Monthly Press

General Fiction (Adult)

Description

Winner of the 2016 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime book of the year

There is no perfect marriage. There is no perfect murder.

From Scottish crime master Christopher Brookmyre, Black Widow tells the potent story of a woman who thought she was too late for love, the man who falls for her ambition, and the secret selves that are poised, at any moment, to end everything.

Diana Jager is clever, strong, and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism in medicine. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing. Then she meets Peter. He is kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past—the second chance she’s been waiting for. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairy-tale romance. But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairy tales, and tasks rogue reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling the Black Widow.

Still on the mend from his own relationship wounds after a turbulent divorce, Jack’s investigation into matters of the heart takes him to hidden places no one should ever have to go.

My review:

Thanks to NetGalley and to Grove Atlantic for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I have read several books written by Christopher Brookmyre years back and I loved them. I discovered him by picking up The Secret Art of Stealing at Liverpool Airport on the strength of reading the description and a few lines. The book had me laughing out loud within a few pages, and since then I’ve read a few of his novels, although I haven’t followed any of his series in full. I couldn’t resist the chance to catch up with his newest book, although I hadn’t read any of the other novels in the Parlabane series. And he delivered once more.

I loved this book. There were the funny and witty moments the author had me accustomed to (although it is, by no means, his funniest book), the complex and tri-dimensional characters, the Scottish background, the complex plot with twist and turns that keep you guessing. I particularly liked the different points-of-view used to tell the story. Two of the points of views (although one only very briefly) are narrated in the first person, and the rest, including Parbalane’s and the female detective’s, are in the third person. I am fascinated by narrators and their roles in novels, and the way Brookmyre uses the different voices and points-of-view in this novel is a beautiful illustration of how the different options can be put to the best of uses. We get to see the same facts and events from different points of views, some directly involved in them, some who are investigating or being told the same, some at the time and some recounting what happened some time ago. Brookmyre puts the brains of his readers to the test, making them try to create a single consistent story from the different versions of events and different timelines, a bit like trying to complete the picture in a jigsaw puzzle from the disparate pieces. The story is cleverly composed sharing clues that wrong-foot us often, and we keep changing our minds as to our sympathies, suspects, and who the goodies and the baddies are. I can honestly say I kept trying to work out if I was being taken for a ride by the narrators or if I was just being given very partial accounts of the events.

It’s difficult to talk in detail about this novel without giving any spoilers away. Being a doctor, and a woman, I felt particularly drawn to one the characters, the female surgeon who tells her version of the story in the first person, Diana Jager. She is by no means perfect and due to her determined actions has come to be feared and disliked, but I empathised with her experiences and her feelings about the career and the inherent difficulties women have to face (I remember as a medical student training in a hospital where one of the surgery firms would not take on female trainees, the only female surgeon with a regular post was known to be the lover of one of the surgeons and never did a day’s surgery in several months I was there, and among women the accepted wisdom was that women had to work twice as hard as men to get less than half the way up the ladder than they did. I hope things have changed since but I’m not confident). But the rest of the characters are equally interesting and non-standard. Although as I mentioned I haven’t read any of the previous Parlabane’s mysteries, I didn’t find that was an impediment to my enjoyment of the book, although I’m sure those who follow the series might enjoy it even more (if that’s possible).

The story is dynamically told, and if anything, I thought it accelerates towards the end (as is usually the case when we see the resolution coming). I can’t say I saw what was going to happen from the beginning, although I sometimes beat Parlabane to the post, but just by little. I enjoyed the cleverness of the story and the way was written too. A case of form perfectly matching content.

An involved and intriguing story, beautifully told, full of local detail and complex characters, that reflects on serious themes and will keep you guessing until the end, recommended to lovers of mysteries and thrillers. Another great book by Brookmyre.

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802125735/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0802125735/

Thanks to NetGalley and to Grove Atlantic for the copy of the book (and to Christopher Brookmyre. Happily I have the ARC of the next novel already), thanks to all of you for reading, and do like, share, comment, and CLICK! And Merry Xmas!

Categories
Guest author post

Seumas Gallacher. A star author and a king of social networking, Scottish style!

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I bring you guest authors and new books. I have been spending plenty of time recently getting to know a bit better other bloggers, and although I have shared some of their blogs before, it occurred to me that many of the people whose blogs I read religiously are also authors but I had yet to bring them here. So it’s never too late and here I bring you one of them.

Seumas Gallacher. 

Seumas Gallacher. Blogger and writer extraordineur
Seumas Gallacher. Blogger and writer extraordineur

SEUMAS GALLACHER escaped from the world of finance five years ago, after a career spanning three continents and five decades.

As the self-professed ‘oldest computer Jurassic on the planet’ his headlong immersion into the dizzy world of eBook publishing opened his eyes, mind, and pleasure to the joys of self-publishing. As a former businessman, he rapidly understood the concept of a writer’s need to ‘build the platform’, and from a standing start began to develop a social networking outreach, which now tops 15,000 direct contacts.

His first two crime-thrillers, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK blew his mind with more than 75,000 e-link downloads to date. The third in what has become the ‘Jack Calder’ series, SAVAGE PAYBACK, was launched late 2013.

He started a humorous, informative, self-publishers blog less than two years ago, never having heard of a ‘blog’ prior to that, was voted ‘Blogger of the Year 2013’ and now has a loyal blog following on his networks. He says the novels contain his ‘Author’s Voice’, while the blog carries his ‘Author’s Brand’. And he’s LUVVIN IT!

Before I forget, here is his blog. It’s unmissable:

http://seumasgallacher.com/

The Violin Man's Legacy
The Violin Man’s Legacy

 

The violin man’s legacy

Thriller with bloody twists and turns as ruthless killers meet their match in a former SAS hit squad.

Jack Calder is an ex-SAS soldier working with former colleagues at ISP, a specialist security firm. He is sent to investigate a murderous diamond heist in Holland, but swiftly learns that there is a very strong Far East connection. He then travels to Hong Kong where he meets the glamorous chief of ISP’s local bureau, May-Ling.

Together they begin to unravel a complex web of corruption. The twin spiders at the centre of this web are the Chan brothers, leaders of one of Hong Kong’s most ruthless and powerful triad gangs.

The trail of death and mayhem coils across Europe, Hong Kong and South America until all the scores are settled.

http://www.amazon.com/Violin-Mans-Legacy-seumas-gallacher-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/

Vengeance Wears Black
Vengeance Wears Black

Vengeance Wears Black

Jack Calder and his former SAS colleagues at ISP, a specialist security firm, are saved from certain death when an ex-Gurkha is killed smothering a deadly grenade thrown into a lunchtime Chinese restaurant in the West End of London. They learn that murderous turf wars are raging between Asian Triads and Eastern European mobsters vying for control of international fiefdoms of drug smuggling, people trafficking, prostitution and money laundering.

An unexpected visit from the highest levels of international law enforcement offers Jack and the ISP team a means to use their black operations skills to wreak a ruthless retaliation against the drug lords.

Unlikely partners emerge in their onslaught against the gangs as the warring criminal factions threaten an unholy alliance to repel them. The pursuit spins across Europe, Turkey and North Africa before a final reckoning.

http://www.amazon.com/VENGEANCE-WEARS-BLACK-seumas-gallacher-ebook/dp/B008H45KJC/

Savage Payback
Savage Payback

 

Savage Payback

A series of coordinated lethal bomb attacks on a dozen jewelry stores in London’s West End drag former SAS officer, Jack Calder and his specialist security firm, International Security Partners, into a deadly mesh of murder and international drug running.

A black ops explosives expert, an ex-colleague turned renegade mercenary with a twisted lust for revenge, emerges from the past to join forces with a powerful and dangerous drug baron from Eastern Europe.

A major cocaine trafficker from South America compounds the threats as competitive turf issues straddle international territories.

Attacks close to home heighten the urgency for Calder and his team to find and deal with each of the three sinister adversaries in a final savage payback.

http://www.amazon.com/SAVAGE-PAYBACK-Seumas-Gallacher-ebook/dp/B00G00GZEO/

Self-publishing steps to successful sales
Self-publishing steps to successful sales

Self-publishing Steps to Successful Sales

A self-publisher with over 75,000 sales/downloads explains in simple steps how he uses the social networks and ePublishing to enhance sales of his books on the Web and in hard copy.

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Publishing-Steps-Successful-Seumas-Gallacher-ebook/dp/B00JBL6K80/

And now, for a very good cause, Seumas has also taken part in a wonderful project.

Shadows and Light
Shadows and Light

Shadows and Light: To Benefit Women’s Aid

Product Description

37 stories from authors around the world. Coming together to aid the key UK charity Women’s Aid. Stories from some of the best in indie publishing around the world today, as well as a couple of big names. The tales within range from horror, noir, crime to a bit of Sci Fi and romance thrown in, all for your entertainment while helping make a difference and furthering the awareness of domestic abuse.

SHADOWS & LIGHT
A Ballard Tale
Andrew Scorah

Placebo
ANDREW VACHSS

The Battered Wife
Graham Masterton

QUITS.
SEUMAS GALLACHER

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW
DAVID EDGERLEY GATES

Daylight.
Kevin Holton

THE SAME OLD STORY
by Keith Dixon

WILLIAMS OF THE YARD
IN THE FOXBOROUGH CASE
By Andrew Peters

The Deaths of Andrea Ford
By
David Monk

Across the River
A Story by Samuel Dickens

THE DARE
By
Juliet B Madison

THE OTHER WIFE
~ By Absolutely*Kate

The Last Girl on Earth.
K.A. Hambly

The Summer of Penny Walsh
By Frank Sonderborg

Finding The Phoenix
By
Caitlin O’Connor

Black-Eyed Susan
By Thomas Pluck

The Blues Detective
The Affair of the Precious Packages
Andrew Peters

All Mine
By George Beck

Ruby Pendant
By Melissa Dougherty

Emily’s Valentine
Gerry McCullough

Killing in the Name of
Aidan Thorn

The Princess
The Fox & The Crow
William Rose

The Scent of Pancakes
By Tina Bausinger

The Man Behind the Curtain
By
Paul D Brazill

Doreen’s Tomorrows
by Gay Ingram

East Meets West
By
Jane Morris

THE VISIT

by Dana Wright

Heaven’s Scar
By
Caitlin O’Connor

Jane Unbound
By Kerry E.B. Black

Ellie
By Marie Bishop

LITTLE BROTHER
By
Cath Bore

Almost Christmas
by
Rayna L. Stiner

Floorboard Hoofbeats
By
Cass McMain

AN IRISH STORY
By
Roderick Craig Low

Accounts Payable
By
Hector Duarte Jr.

Through Two Unblackened Eyes
Linda Bonney Olin

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Light-Benefit-Womens-Aid-ebook/dp/B00MCY6CYK/

Thanks so much to Seumas for being such a sport, for his ongoing support of fellow authors and for his visit, thanks very much for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

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