Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: "Stonefly" by Scott J. Holliday

"Stonefly" by Scott J. Holliday was a wonderfully unique book and so worth the time I took to read it. I'll start with a synopsis then give my reasons why you as the reader should invest some time in this book.

Jacob Duke has a compulsion to grant wishes. When he is ten a schoolmate wishes her tormentor dead and Jake is compelled to grant her wish. This act sends Jake to a mental institution in Braketon. We fast forward to ten years later and Jake has come back to Braketon to do some lazy fly fishing, he wants some alone time. He had promised himself while in the institution that someday he would enjoy beautiful Braketon summer days from outside the institution's walls. On his mini vacation from his tattoo shop, Jake doesn't intend on meeting a young boy named Frankie. Frankie makes a terrible wish. "I wish someone would kill my dad." Now Jake has six days to change Frankie's mind or fulfill his wish.

5+, When it's so good you just CAN'T miss it.
Some books build up a huge head of steam very quickly and the reader feels like they're rushing headlong into a spectacularly  overwhelming ending. Other books are a slow build of tension that keeps the reader reading steadily well into the night not because of the adrenaline rush but because they just have to know what happens to the characters. Scott Holliday's "Stonefly" is an exquisitely written book that follows the latter form of tension. It's tension is not the breathless kind but is still incredibly effective in compelling the reader to keep reading. We want to know what compels Jake to grant wishes, we want to know if Jake can rescue Frankie from his horribly abusive father and we want to see a happily ever after for Jake at the end.

Even by the first chapter I was trepidatious on wishing for that happily ever after for Jake but I knew I'd love this book. Sometimes just the sheer poetic beauty of the writer's style tells you you're gonna love this read. That's what this book was like for me, a five star slow boiling need to see what was gonna happen in Jake's unusual world. I'm not going to give you any more details about the book as even one more word would possibly ruin something wonderful. Go get this book, you'd be missing something awesome if you skip it.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Review: "Beautiful Maids All in a Row" by Jennifer Harlow

"Beautiful Maids All in a Row" by Jennifer Harlow comes out on October 10, 2016. This was the very first book this author ever wrote and she wrote it when she was nineteen. This truly excellent five star read certainly foreshadowed Jennifer Harlow's skill as an author. She has now written more than twelve books so you will have other selections as you explore this author's writings.

Dr. Iris Ballard is a mess. She used to be an FBI profiler with a degree in forensic psychology. Now she spends her time popping pills to help with her PTSD and when that doesn't work she moves on to vodka and chocolate bars. It all fell apart when a serial murder that she had caught got away and came for her. He not only stabbed Iris but he also shot her husband just to punish her for profiling him. It's been two years since that horrible day and Iris just wants to eat her chocolate bars, watch TV and drink her vodka.

When Iris's ex-partner Luke Hudson knocks on her door right after she's fired from her job at the local collage she isn't in the mood to listen to plea for help in the latest serial killer case he's heading up. But Luke leaves the files with her and Iris can't help herself, catching killers is what she does best. She becomes even more invested when one of the victims ends up being an acquaintance of her former husband.  Now Iris has to find and stop the man they call the Woodsman.

With her profile and a large team of FBI agents she and Luke plot how they will catch a killer who is stalking, drugging, raping and strangling women. The problem is he's smart enough to put the bodies in water next to the forests where he tortures them. There is no evidence to follow. It will become a cat and mouse game between Iris and the Woodsman. Who will be the mouse and who will play the cat becomes the problem as Iris struggles to stay out of a killer's sights.

5+ means the book is beyond great,
it means DON'T miss this one!
This book was beyond excellent. I knew within the first ten pages that I had a slam bang winner on my hands. Dr. Iris Ballard is a strong kick ass character that takes no guff from anyone, including her former partner. She is made all the more interesting and three dimensional as we learn of her guilt and shame wrapped around the incident that took her career and her husband. The writing was succinct with no wasted words. The author was so smart about making this mostly a game between two broken people, one a psychopathic killer and the other the profiler who needed to catch him. Only the scenes that needed explaining were added, there was no "fluffing" to make the book longer. This kept the tension high and caused this reader to hold her breath several times and read late into the night.

I certainly hope Jennifer Harlow writes more Iris Ballard books because her character was just that good. If I were you I'd put this book on my "to read" list and rush out to get it immediately. If you like psychological thrillers you nave a total winner in this one.



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