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review 2017-01-10 21:25
Two Days Gone
Two Days Gone: A Novel - Randall Silvis

By: Randall Silvis

A Ryan DeMarco Mystery

ISBN: 9781492639732

Publisher:   SOURCEBOOKS Landmark

Publication Date: 1/10/2017

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 

Author Spotlight Join Me, Blog Tour Jan 15 Giveaways, Excerpt, Author Interviews + More

Readers who take their novels strong and dark will savor Randall Silvia’s skillfully-written latest literary thriller-contemporary crime noir: TWO DAYS GONE with the introduction of his new series and intriguing character (Ryan DeMarco Mystery).

The best part is the connection and relationship between writer and reader. The Author’s Acknowledgement "Writer/Reader relationship" earns a 5 Star +. An added bonus following the book. For every author and reader.

If you’re seduced by the darker, deeper, grittier side of literature, with vivid descriptions, you will be drawn to the grisly, moody, atmospheric, graphic, disturbing, and unsettling tale, with a clever thought-provoking literary twist. A book within a book. Not for the faint hearted.

A bold powerhouse novel and author. The cover, copy and book description: A "bullseye." Right On. Gripping, taut, sensitive, and astute. Even the inner musings of the characters have a poetic power. A haunting character-driven study of two deeply flawed and troubled men protagonists (alternating narratives). Both solitary men in their own way.

DeMarco lived alone and of course Huston did not. Both had complicated relationships with others. DeMarco had no center. He ventured out to relationships from emptiness and to emptiness he returned. One case of tragedy after another, puzzle after morbid puzzle to solve. What if he had made better choices twelve years ago on that rainy night?

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police has seen his share of despair, violence, and malicious acts. From college students to strip clubs, the woods, the streets- there lies a murderer. Hiding. A man, gone mad in the blink of an eye. A man turned into a beast.

A murderer is in their midst. A community. One of their own. Someone they all trusted. a bestselling author. The education of sons and daughters. They had seen his smiling face in local bookstores and watched him with Katie on Good Morning America.

Claire Huston, one of the prettiest women in town is dead with a slash across her throat. Thomas, Jr, twelve, a sixth grader also dead, same way. Sister, Alyssa, fourth grade, also murdered. Little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib. A blade thrust in his heart. A second one. A chef’s knife.

The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night. Why was the baby killed differently than the others in the family? Stabbed in the heart twice.

The bodies of the Huston family had been discovered. From family, neighbors, and friends. All stunned and grief-stricken. All eyes turned toward the husband, the father, the accomplished writer, the professor. He had fled.

DeMarco had met Thomas Huston previously. He had read all his books. A reader. He was a friend. He reminded him of a young Jack Kerouac. Thomas Huston was a professor. A writer. He loved his students. He was working on a new book. A trooper was one of the main characters. They had met on several occasions and connected on several levels.

There was Huston’s tragic past. The bungled robbery of the family hardware store. The blast that tore out his mother’s throat. His father’s suicide two weeks later from an overdose. The horrific images still haunted Thomas. The memories overwhelmed him. Now, his own family. Was he the murderer? Or someone else?

DeMarco had his own demons. A ruined marriage, his son’s death, his anger, his aggressive behavior, and the subsequent demotion. His drinking. The accident that took his son’s life. He and Huston had connected.

How could this man have killed his entire family? He loved them. He was a good and decent man. He spoke so fondly of them. He was not a violent man. Did something set him off? Now Huston was out there. He had fled. Maybe he is amnesic?

Ryan begins researching Thomas Huston and his parents, his books, his reviews, articles and his latest novel, The Desperate Summer. A book released three and half years after his parent’s death. Other profiles from Poets and Writers. Interviews. Characters.

It was clear that Thomas Huston, like his character, suffered some very dark moments. But dark enough to cause him to slaughter his own family? The rage and grief. What would have gone through his mind for him to do this to his family?

Huston was a writer, teacher, and student. It was his job to make order out of disorder. To find the meaning in metaphor.

DeMarco is on the hunt, digging for each piece of evidence. The woods, his students, and strip clubs (Whispers). Strippers, hookers, an abortion, dancers, bouncers. Research for his books. Did he have enemies? Were all the associations for his book, or personal?

Was Hutson’s life idyllic as it had seemed? He was the primary suspect and DeMarco took no pleasure in that discovery. Marco could drink himself into a stupor, but he needed a clear head. He had to figure out who murdered this family. He liked this man. He owes him to find out what happened. He goes back and forth with his suspicions.

The more he learns, he wonders if the writer had become the characters in his book? Had the murder and suicide of Huston’s parents loosened something in him or spawned a rage he struggled with, and finally lost?

Who was Annabel? Bonnie? Tex? Were these relationships an integral part of the slaughter at the Huston home? After the murder, Huston had been spotted wandering through the dawn in a daze. Where else would he go? Could he have been cheating on his wife?

DeMarco had to find him. As he digs deeper, with the homicide investigation, time is of the essence. Four people are dead and three of them are children. If Thomas is running because he is innocent, who is the guilty party? DeMarco wanted Hutson to be better than this. Someone he could admire. Had the equation changed? Was it infidelity, madness, lust, weakness? He had to know!

Who could Thomas trust? Who can he turn to for help?

Complex characters. It’s the contradictions in a personality that make for conflict. Did he take the qualities for each of these women to build his characters or was it something else?

In the meantime, we hear from Thomas hiding out. Like some character out of a Flannery O’Conner story. Hiding in a shed. A misfit. Hunted. Hates. Will his life ever get better? The events leading up to the murder. The book is in his head. Is this all a dream? The lines are blurred.

 



From literary references to Poe, Hemingway, Steinback, Faulkner, MacBeth, Wolfe, O'Connor, Nabokov and Poe’s Annabels, Poe’s poetry. A trinity of troubled men. A kinship. Misery. What parts are made up and what is real?

“To the casual observer, Huston’s life would have appeared blessed. But this was the illusion Huston had created and maintained. A man patient and generous with his students, a picture-perfect wife and family, shirts and chinos always neatly pressed, fame and financial success; a man respected envied; a man with a life each of his students longed for.

Was it all a construction meant to conceal in himself the same dark urges that drove Huston’s characters? His life had seemed a sunlit lagoon, but what currents made the blue water shimmer. A lifetime of struggle and ambition. Parents, taken away by violence. Professional jealousies. The stresses of fame the loss of anonymity. The pressure to live up to the hype, to always be better, brighter, more successful, more worthy of praise.

Was it as simple as that? The façade as thin and brittle as all facades are, shattered? Had Huston snapped? Was he deliriously happy in his insanity? Weightless and free? No shame, no remorse, no obligations, no sin?"



Does the life of novelists show up in fiction, thinly disguised as somebody else’s life? Portions of the journal were totally fiction; others not? Discerning the difference would be the hard part. Were the character’s desires actually Huston’s desires brought to the surface?

Did Thomas dream of these events, or did they actually occur? The knife. How could he go home? All is gone.

Entries:

“If a book is filled with love, it is because the writer longs for love? If the book drips of violence, it is because the writer burns to levy justice, to decimate his enemies? A means of survival. Otherwise, his psyche would unravel. Pitiful or disastrous.

Does a guilty man hide his deeds behind his words and hide his thoughts behind his smile? Others behind other deeds? Doesn’t the pedophile hide behind the Little League team he coaches or the school bus he drives or the Masses he conducts?

And doesn’t the wife beater hide behind the sidewalks he cleans for the old lady next door, and behind his punctuality and efficiency at work? The pornographer, the rapist, the serial killer; .the predatory stock broker, the ambulance chasers, the Medicare-bilking physician—the congressman, the senator, the president—don’t they all cloak their evil behind silk ties and thousand-dollar suits?



The man and woman he is referring to? DeMarco wonders as he is reading-desperate to solve this puzzle. Huston had reached out to him. Will he be so desperate to commit suicide or seek revenge, if, in fact, he was not the killer? He may have nothing to lose.

Between pressure at the station to find Huston and his need to help this man, the author keeps the suspense high, while readers slowly learn what went down that fatal tragic horrific night. His family had been butchered.

Did helping someone with a simple choice in life - set the stage; putting things in motion, for a string of deadly events to unfold, with devastating consequences?

TWO DAYS GONE is like no other book I have ever read and surely it will be at the top of the bestseller list. Silvis grabs you from the first page to the last, with the introduction of this new series, and anxiously awaiting the next!

Ferocious storytelling that makes you think, and feel with an array of emotions. From the dark and ugly pit of the human psyche. Sadness, pain, suffering, tragedy, love, and loss, sprinkled with a heavy literary flair. The relationship and narrative between the two men sealed the book. Both equally strong and powerful. The relationship between writer and reader, priceless.

Other readers have asked me about a similar author or book to compare. I can honestly say, this work is unique. In regards to the crime thriller genre, the one which comes to mind is possibly Paul Cleave (New Zealand), Of course, his Trust No One is a book within a book, as well. Cleave's crime writing is also gritty and dark, with twisted humor, and his cop leads, tend to become emotionally connected. Fans of David Bell and Dennis Lehane will also enjoy. With Silvis, you receive the crime + the literary fiction in one package, a rare find.

"The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past." -William Faulkner

This one will stay with you. Chilling. A murder mystery, both absorbing and entertaining, from an experienced author drawing from his own experience as a writer and academic.

 



Connecting with readers and writers: My favorite part: (Acknowledgements) this is only a small portion:

“A writer’s job is to love his readers and to want nothing more than to pilot them from experience to experience, emotion to emotion. The best fiction is a voyage of feeling, and the writer’s job is to generate sentipensante for his readers, those feelings that give rise, not to an intellectual kind of knowledge but an emotional knowledge, a deeper connection with what Faulkner called “the old verities and truths of the heart.” (love William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Speech Stockholm, Sweden 12/10/50).

“Another way of looking at this relationship between writer and readers is through its intimacy; the reader comes, to a story wanting to be wooed, desirous of seduction. If the writer’s inducements are successful, the voice sufficiently tempting, the promises sufficiently alluring, the reader gives herself over to the story not for minutes but hours, and for days at a time, melding her own imagination with the writer’s while falling into step with the characters, hoping for the best, giving them her heart. What greater gift can a writer receive than this?



A special thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Also purchased the audiobook, performed by Graham Winton; currently listening. (great)

"Next time someone asks you how you’re feeling, dig a little deeper, find that emotion, that story behind it."

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

A January Indie Next Great Read

 

“…a suspenseful, literary thriller that will resonate with readers long after the book is finished. A terrific choice for Dennis Lehane fans.”—Library Journal, STARRED review

 

“Beneath the momentum of the investigation lies a pervasive sadness that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

“…skillfully written thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“…impressive novel…an intriguing thriller.”—Booklist

 

“…this novel [will] linger in readers’ minds well after Two Days Gone.”—Shelf Awareness

 

“Two Days Gone is a quiet, intense, suspenseful mystery about a man who has lost everything. Rich with descriptions and atmosphere….Two Days Gone is relentless in its suspense, and the final twists in the novel are sure to not disappoint.”— Foreword Review 

 

 

"An absolute gem of literary suspense, pitting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and told in a smooth, assured, and often haunting voice, Two Days Gone is a terrific read." - Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

 

 

“Randall Silvis' Two Days Gone is a smart, twisting, vividly written thriller anchored by two deeply flawed yet fascinating protagonists. Yes, the novel provides cat-and-mouse suspense as a horrific murder in a college town is investigated, but it's also a deeply rewarding story about friendship, family, fame, and the complicated relationship between readers and writers. Anyone who wants to dismiss thrillers as mere genre fluff should read Two Days Gone.” - David Bell, author of Since She Went Away

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

 

 

 

About The Author

photo: Maddison Hodg  

 

Novelist, playwright, screenwriter and essayist..

 

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Pennsylvania.Read More 
Twitter 

 

Praised by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist as “a masterful storyteller,”

 

Silvis is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction. He is also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, a prolific essayist, and an occasional poet. As a multi-genre author, his books have appeared on Best of the Year lists from The New York Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail, SfSite.com, and the International Association of Crime Writers. He also co-hosts the popular bi-weekly podcast, The Writers Hangout, at www.thewritershangout.com. 

 

 

"Two Days Gone" Latest Book from Clarion County Native Gains
National Praise    Read More 
Sunday, December 18, 2016 @ 12:12 AM
Posted by Ron Wilshire

 

Randall Silvis: Life Is Research

Q & A with Randall Silvis   Read More 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/01/Two-Days-Gone
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text 2016-11-07 02:49
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

By: Fredrik Backman 

ISBN: 978-1501115066

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 6/15/2015 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars 

In MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY, as in his previous novel A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman paints a vivid portrait of the relationship between an older person nearing the end of his or her life, and a young child.

There is much to learn from people at the opposite ends of life. As we also discover in his latest novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, with a boy and his grandfather.

All fairy tales take their life from the fact of being different. The power of storytelling!

“Only different people change the world,” Granny used to say. “No one normal has ever changed a crapping thing.”

Granny has always loved treasure hunts. She does not color within the lines; a total disregard for social niceties. Everyone thinks she is crazy. A trouble-maker. Rip-roaring life is an adventure. A superhero for her granddaughter, Elsa. They both are misunderstood.

“Because all seven-year-olds deserve superheroes. And anyone who doesn’t agree needs their head examined.”

Elsa is seven years old. Not quite eight yet. She is smarter than her years, an old soul. She is different. Her Granny is her best friend and teaches her about life through stories. Her only friend. She does not fit in at school. Intuitive, Elsa, loves her Granny. She is eccentric, her protector, and the one who tells her nightly bedtime fairy tales in their small apartment in the Land of Almost-Awake. (Miamas, Miploris, Mimovas, Wolfheart, the Chosen One, the sea-angel, etc.)

“Grow up and be different and don’t let anyone tell you not to be different; because all superheroes are different.”

With an array of misfits, a neighborhood apartment full of colorful eccentric quirky witty characters. We also meet Britt-Marie (we hear more from in) Britt-Marie Was Here.

“Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal.”

 




Elsa’s parents are divorced and she spends time at both households. Her mom has remarried and currently pregnant. Granny is keeping a secret from Elsa. She has cancer. However, when she dies she is angry and alone, full of emotions. She has left her a treasure hunt.

“Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild's ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact. A grandmother is both a sword and a shield.”

Now, Elsa is left with the task of delivering her grandmother’s final letters of apology to all other residents of the building—The Monster, a hulking, quiet germaphobe; Alf, a tough-talking, curmudgeonly cabbie; Britt-Marie, the nervous wife of a businessman (Kent), and others—whom she feels she mistreated during her lifetime.

Is there a connection to her granny, her stories, neighbors, and her characters?

Grief, adventure, humor, emotions, and love all collide.Endearing and whimsical fairy tales provide a way to teach children (and adults) some fundamental truths about the world. I listened to the Audiobook and Joan Walker as always, delivers a captivating performance!

Hey, being a boomer, I even enjoy my seven-year-old grandson's company sometimes more than my uptight forty-year-old son. There is a bond, which often skips a generation. Of course, those are the joys of being a grandparent, when life is simpler, and not as structured. We are wise, of course :)

I enjoyed my Fredrik Backman binge read this weekend, making my way through all his endearing and charming stories. This was my last one.

Looking forward to Beartown, coming May 2017 (Atria Books) a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

 

 


Interview: Author Fredrik Backman talks to Drummond Moir about his book.

 


Reading Guide

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

About the Author 

Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.  Read More 

 

New York Times  The Man Behind ‘A Man Called Ove,’ Sweden’s Latest Hit Novel

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/01/05/My-Grandmother-Asked-Me-to-Tell-You-Shes-Sorry
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review 2016-07-14 01:13
Everything I Don't Remember
Everything I Don't Remember: A Novel - Jonas Hassen Khemiri
ISBN: 9781501138027
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: 7/12/2016
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars 

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

EVERYTHING I DON’T REMEMBER by Jonas Hassen Khemiripushes all boundaries of literary fiction, similar to the hit podcast Serial a multi-ethnic cast of characters, the central plot point of a friend’s passing, and a journalist protagonist weaving together the different threads of a mystery.

Immersive and mysterious, if you loved Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Celeste Ng’s Everything, I Never Told You, Allens Eskens' The Life We Bury, and Kristopher Jansma's Why We Came to the City, you will enjoy this richly drawn, powerful and memorable read, from one of Sweden’s literary superstars.

Divided into Three Parts, enjoy the unreliable narrators. An enigma. A puzzle.

Everything I Don’t Remember has been awarded the August prize in the category “Best Swedish Fiction Book of the Year”! The jury’s motivation for the nomination was as follows:

“How did Samuel die, and why? Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s portrayal of the deceitfulness of memory and testimony is as enthralling as a thriller. But the novel is also a love story and a tale of violence, unforgivable betrayals, and the power of economics. An unconventional narrative structure where several different voices paint the portrait of the protagonist. All written in a sophisticated, toned down prose, where the shadowy existence of undocumented immigrants and criminals collide with the sunny world of privilege in a ruthless and hectic Stockholm.”


Who is the unnamed writer? Piecing together the events leading up to the unexpected death of a young man named Samuel. From those who knew him best?

Killed in a car crash before the novel starts readers are unsure if it was a car accident or a planned suicide. This man had many faces. Samuel was different. Puzzling. Contradictory.

The neighbors. Friends. Relatives. Strangers. Flatmate/Best Friend, Ex-Girlfriend. Reconstructing Samuel’s last day. Appears someone is writing a book. A mom’s emails. A son. A Grandmother. Samuel listened without listening.

Confusing in the beginning, who is driving the story, and who is telling the story?

Alternating between flashbacks and flash-forwards, by Samuel, Vandad, and Laide. Samuel and Laide met through their work, with the Migration Board, dealing with residency permits, and she is an interpreter of Arabic and other languages.

Laide is also an activist who participates in demonstrations against anti-immigration policies and who establishes, in a house vacated by Samuel’s grandmother, a shelter for women, many of them abused, who have fled the Middle East. Samuel’s grandmother, who suffers from dementia, has moved into a nursing home.

Vandad, who, it appears, may be gay and attracted to Samuel, is a large man who works as an enforcer for a loan shark. He tries more legitimate employment as a mover without much success. When Laide breaks it the relationship, Vandad, attempts to persuade her to reconsider.

The grandmother’s house is soon overrun with refugees, a fire starts, and Samuel’s despair mounts as his family questions why he allowed this to happen, and he himself wonders why he trusted Laide.

From immigration -related issues, elder care, abuse, unemployment, dead-end jobs, drugs, and racial prejudice. Love and memories. What do people say? What is really true? Who is to blame? One person’s fault, or more?

He was born, he lived, he died. Puzzling, Mysterious, Intriguing. An author asking questions.

Is everyone lying? Decide for yourself. Betrayal. Extortion. Love. Guilt. Memories of the last day. A partial picture —lies, distortion, and deceit. Subjective Truth vs Objective Truth.

Khemiri presents Samuel's story in an unconventional unique format. Pieces of interviews are layered sprinkled with short sentences and a few paragraphs at a time. The narration shifts constantly from person to person. Stories overlap, and the truth feels elusive. Impressions, like the narrators, are unreliable.

Moving, emotional and witty. Focused on death yet mixed with humor and mystery. As a reader, you feel as though there is a literary ghost spying on everyone. Can words be trusted? The accident is in slow motion. Thoughts, feelings. In the end, their memories, both genuine and false, are all of him that remain.

Gripping, beautiful and heartbreaking.

Readers will think in some ways: Sarah Koenig’s Serial, Making a Murderer, In Cold Blood- Truman Capote, Fatal Vision-Joe McGinniss, The Journalist And The Murderer-Janet Malcolm, Columbine-Dave Cullen, The Stranger Beside Me-Ann Rule, The Good Nurse-Charles Graebere, and God’ll Cut You Down-John Safran.

These books reveal the power of true-crime writing, pushing the boundaries of the journalist-subject relationship, examining the ethical conundrums inherent in the genre, crafting precise and insightful character studies, and even sometimes allowing for the ultimate reader let-down: an ambiguous conclusion. (which is quite popular today).

Readers will be debating, speculating, and comparing theories. Like Serial, how much of our interest is in the truth and how much in a satisfying narrative? Interpretation. Crime always risks exploitation — of the victims, the accused, and families torn apart by the crime — Sometimes there is potential for discovery and redemption.

"In 2013, Khemiri’s open letter to the Swedish Minister of Justice in response to a controversial police project rapidly became one of the most shared articles on social media in Swedish history."

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Everything-I-Dont-Remember/cmoa/56f982240cf2e1f8bbc09212
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review 2016-02-27 00:53
Engrossing tale of karma
Hunters in the Dark: A Novel - Lawrence Osborne

This is quite an engrossing tale which takes place in the exotic world of Cambodia. A young English teacher, bored with his complacent life, decides to disappear.  During his first night in Cambodia, he tries his hand at a gambling casino.  What happens there sets off a series of events in which greed, karma and superstition play a huge part.

 

This author has crafted a gripping, suspenseful plot. I’ve recently been very disappointed in how inept publishers’ blurbs have become.   Far too often, their comparisons of one author to another is completely unfathomable.  When I saw this book compared to works of Patricia Highsmith, Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock, I feared that I would again be disappointed.  But I do think the comparison to Highsmith and Hitchcock are right on target, although I’m not sure I see the connection to du Maurier.  This author knows how to structure a very neat plot and how to create a haunting, chilling atmosphere.  I cared for this naïve young Englishman and wanted to shake him many times as he innocently walks from one danger into the next.  I noticed that some reviewers are saying that the book starts out too slowly, but I think the author did a great job of slowly building up the tempo of the work.  If it does start out slowly for you, stick with it and I think you’ll appreciate as the story progresses just how fine a plot this author has produced.  I’ll be looking into more work by Mr. Osborne.

 

Very entertaining literary thriller.

 

This book was given to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books.

 

 

 

This book was given to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books.

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review 2015-09-05 02:42
The Killing Lessons
The Killing Lessons - Saul Black

By:  Saul Black 

ISBN:  9781250057341

Publisher:  St Martin's Press

Publication Date:  9/22/2015 

Format: Other

My Rating:  4.5 Stars  

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Saul Black (aka British author, Glen Duncan) delivers THE KILLING LESSONS, a dark, and shocking psycho-crime suspense literary thriller, which will leave your head spinning! Making it difficult sleep after reading this one, with heart-pounding adrenaline.

As the mutilated bodies mount and the objects collected inside them scream, sicko-- a poor little girl barely escapes, injured, collapses and lands on a cabin door in the remote woods in the snow.

The man at the cabin is crippled, can barely walk; no phone, electricity, and a bridge washed out. Grieving his late loving wife, and all the while an alcoholic detective cop in San Francisco, is fighting against all odds, desperately trying to track down two serial killers before their next kill.

Flashing back and forth with three powerful parallel storylines, crossing several genres, Black's writing is pure spellbinding!

Set in the brutal cold harsh winter of snow, in a small town of Ellinson, pop. 697, outside of Colorado, two armed and dangerous men turn the Cooper family house into a blood bath. A mother, Rowena is left for dead, and her thirteen-year-old son, Josh, upstairs with his headphones listening to music, oblivious to the events unfolding downstairs.

Nell, the ten-year-old daughter, happens to be outside feeding the deer, and hears a gunshot and rushes into the farmhouse, while the men are upstairs. Her mother did not have time to get to the gun to defend herself, and she knows there is no time for her daughter to save them, without being harmed.

The mother tells Nell to run as fast as she can. All Nell can see is blood everywhere and the man, is soon following her out into the woods- her red coat. She fears for her life. She has to escape. She has to get help for her mother and brother. She has to stay alive. She always carries her bracelet in her pocket; her mother gave her to protect herself, handed down for generations.

The Old Mystery Guy lived in a remote cabin across the ravine. His name was Angelo Greer. He had moved in the previous week, to the derelict place over the bridge, a mile east of the Coopers. They had not met him. The bridge was not safe and had been closed for more than two years. He walks with a stick, an author, which is grieving the love of his late wife who died of cancer.

A woman is found dead, raped and mutilated with a piece of a crystal unicorn inserted in her body in the California area. SFPD homicide detective Valerie Hart links this crime and another Bay Area slaying to a string of murders of women in several states across the western U.S., in each of which the killers—DNA evidence suggests there are two --all with an embedded object.

Detective, Valerie has issues, from being an alcoholic and a love life gone wrong. Carla is an FBI agent, which does not get along with Valeria, (undermining her efforts) causing further problems,a nemesis, and her ex- fiancé cop, Nick –all to distract her. However, Valerie is tenacious and will stop at nothing to catch these cold-hearted killers.

Meanwhile, most of the book is about the two sadistic serial killers and their demons traveling across country in an RV. Monsters created by horrific child abuse, Xander/Leon and Paulie -on a mission; to rape, torture, and murder aided by some elements where letters of the alphabet are involved.

Flashing back and forth from the Xander-Leon/Paulie, to Nell/ Angelo, to Valeria/Carla/Nick, a race against time as poor Nell and Angelo will break your heart (this was my favorite part), as they try to help one another, both at a disability, before the killers come to get them for an explosive ending.

THE KILLING LESSONS is one fast-paced, edgy, disturbing, twisted, and terrifying dark crime, cop, psycho-thriller combined with characters you root for, and some you want dead soon, rather than later. Mind-blowing, entertaining; film worthy and can only imagine the cast of stars. Gives new meaning to edge-of-your seat in all categories.

Loved, loved the author/recluse, Angelo and Nell. Priceless. The sacrifices he made to try and save Nell (she can identify one of the guys), all the while talking to his dead wife. I found myself skipping over the violent scenes with the killers, and the cops, rushing to get back to the cabin to learn the fate of these two stranded victims.

“All fear was, in the end, fear of death. Once you knew you were dying, there was nothing left to fear. It gave you the last great gift; infinite courage.”


I am all for reinvention; however, in this case, not needed, as no matter the name chosen for the book cover; It is Killer. It Rocks. Oh, BTW, did I mention, Black’s writing is captivating! Can't wait to see what's next.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Killing-Lessons/cmoa/55d0c9400cf25f10d9b72ed5
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