Book Review—The Death Of Me

[The Death Of Me Cover]I really liked this novel, but I have to be honest. DC Philip Harris drove me crazy. And maybe that’s the point. Take a guy who, let’s face it, is not the shiniest penny in the jar and throw every kind of roadblock in his path as he attempts to salvage what’s left of his career, and what do you have? Pure Grade A frustration, my friend. I mean, there were times when I wanted to scream at the guy to just grow a set. Then again, I was deeply impressed by his analytical skills and dogged determination, if not his wussy approach to those who taunt him—and there are plenty.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I am recommending this book. Simple. Because it’s so bloody well written. The fact that another author can make this author seethe with anger each time the stakes are raised is something I admire. Also, the writing is taut and the characters well developed. My only criticism is that Phil’s Catholic backstory could use some work. But hey, that’s me.

If you like dark characters, conspiracy, and political intrigue—not to mention a couple of nasty abductions—then you should read The Death Of Me. You won’t be disappointed.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
He watched. He studied. He planned.

Every detail meticulously organised. Every detail perfect. The basement was ready, now all he needed was the girl.

Grace Dalton was just fourteen years old when she was snatched from Greenwich Park on her way back from school. A beautiful, shy, but socially awkward girl, she would do anything to stay out of trouble and away from her bullies. Pressed for time and her tormentors blocking her usual route home, she makes a split second decision with catastrophic consequences.

After facing public humiliation from a previous investigation, Detective Constable Philip Harris once again finds himself under savage media scrutiny when he’s assigned to Grace’s case. Determined to find her and solve the case to gain back his credibility, his frustrations mount when he repeatedly finds himself hampered at every turn. With no other suspects and the case rapidly becoming cold, the finger of blame points to Tom, Grace’s father. Struggling to keep his personal resentment towards Tom away from the case and the press, DC Harris embarks on his own investigations to find who the real kidnapper is against the instructions from his superior officers. But when his digging leads him to a mysterious concealed road protected by impenetrable iron gates he soon realises his investigations have not only endangered himself, but also his family.

Pitched alone against a highly organised crime syndicate and not knowing which side his colleagues are on, he’s faced with some tough decisions. Either drop Grace’s case, declaring it cold and allowing Tom to take the fall, or embark on a highly dangerous quest for her safe return. Time’s running out, which will he choose?

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other Amazon reviews here.

Guest Post: I Hear Voices in My Head and I Like It

By Jordan Dane

So, my friend Jordan demanded that I turn over my blog for this post. In fact, she pointed to a picture of my dog and, with a sly grin, said, “You do the math, Sparky.” Fine. Anyway, she’s an outstanding writer with a sharp sense of humor. If you haven’t done it yet, check out book 1 in her Ryker Townsend series, The Last Victim. I just bought it, so look for my review soon. Over to you, Jordan.

[Jordan Dane]Horror makes me giddy. There, I said it. I’m not into overly descriptive gore, but the titillating anticipation of what is about to happen makes me tingle. I like the bizarro world of Dean Koontz when he tiptoes through scary notions and the paranormal. I watched the seductive Penny Dreadful on Showtime with equal parts abhorrence and glee, yet I’ve never seen the movie Jaws, by choice. I don’t want to have nightmares about turning into shark poop, but I put my readers in a front row seat to darkness in my crime fiction books, without shoving them off a cliff.

In The Last Victim, my FBI profiler’s secret is a gift and a curse. Ryker Townsend sees through the eyes of the dead. The last images imprinted on the retinas of the dearly departing become macabre puzzle pieces for him to decipher. These creepy flashes come to him as he sleeps. Hence, the tag line – When he sleeps, the hunt begins. Ryker is an open vessel for the dead, and they reach out to him, sometimes beyond his nightmares in broad daylight, until he’s unsure which side of reality he should be on.

Ryker’s Basic Framework
In crafting Ryker Townsend, I wanted to look beyond his gift of communicating with the dead to solve heinous crimes. I formed him from two characters I love—Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow. Ryker has an eidetic memory. His mind is like a computer that spits out facts without a filter. He’s socially awkward and highly intelligent, but not exactly macho.

As an author, I have firsthand knowledge of the perils of an unfiltered brain. Writers need to “hear” the voices in our heads, but it can get us in trouble at social occasions. This I know.

Ryker’s Added Layers
I wanted Ryker to have more layers to his personality and his past. I needed to heap on the right baggage to make his job more challenging. Being an odd child, he had a special bond with his mother who embraced his psychic gift. His father didn’t always understand it and Ryker’s sister Sarah became jealous of the extra attention from mom.

Ryker’s gift is at the center of all his strengths and his weaknesses to show how he lives with a trait most people would fear. When something happens to his dear mother, it creates a wedge between Ryker and his sister—and of course, it’s my duty as an author to torture him.

Ryker’s Journey
I couldn’t write about Ryker without delving into his personal life and heaping emotional heft into his Samsonite. It’s what makes him real. I force him to confront his personal demons while he’s up to his neck in bloody murder.

The Last Victim (Novel 1)
In book 1 of Ryker’s story, his life is laid bare. He’s in the middle of a hunt for a baffling serial killer who has eluded him. When a gory crime scene puts him in Seattle, home to his estranged sister (and her family that he’s never met), his life becomes an onion with layers to peel away.

He’s kept his psychic gift a secret from everyone and withdrawn into himself. His only outlet is his work, but he’s afraid of losing respect within the ranks of the FBI—and he risks his cases being overturned by the courts if it became clear how he investigates. He hasn’t told anyone about his nightmares, not even the trusted team who work for him.

After he realizes that the killer has targeted him personally, he must use his gift to hunt on his own terms—alone. Ryker learns what it’s like to become a victim and he’s forced to deal with his past, a theme that will become his journey through any story I write about him.

Following the novel that established him, I wrote novellas that allowed me to examine his life in different ways. A common theme for me is spirituality and how investigators deal with the violence they see. How does it change them?

Redemption for Avery (Novella 2)
In novella 2, Ryker deals with the aftermath of becoming a victim and nearly losing his life. He’s confided in a special woman, and the relationship carries more risk and complications. Because this story deals with a brother who lost his younger sister to a serial killer when he was only fifteen, Ryker and his notions of family are put through an emotional wringer.

In the Eyes of the Dead (Novella 3)
In novella 3, I wanted him to struggle with lingering PTSD from book 1 in a case involving Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and superstition. He’s forced to confront his own beliefs on the afterlife. I had to examine the things that truly get my heart pumping—my own mortality—and the things I sometimes wonder when I can’t sleep after the death of someone I love.

The Darkness Within Him (Novella 4)
In story 4, Ryker must recreate a horrific moment in a young runaway’s life, the night his mother murdered his sister and tried to kill him. Imagine someone like Ryker—who had a close relationship with his mother—how would his feelings of failure with his own family affect him? He’s forced to confront the guilt he has for the way his mother died.

Fiona’s Salvation (Novella 5)
In story 5, the reader sees his compassion for the dead, no matter who they were in life. He feels a profound duty to them in a grander scheme as if he has a role to play in death. He protects Fiona as she deals with her haunting demons, something he knows about.

Ryker’s Journey Is My Challenge
Each character Ryker encounters becomes a mirror for him to see into his dark corners—and his journey becomes my own voyage of self-discovery. My characters explore where I sometimes don’t want to venture, but I push to discover things about me through them. They are my teachers. The old adage to “write what you know” never worked for me. I believe you should write what you fear and dig deep for the truth to breathe life into your pages.

Discussion
For Writers.
How do you tackle adding layers to your characters to make them memorable?

For Readers. What novels have remained with you long after you closed the book? What made the story and the character(s) memorable?

Links
The Last Victim
Redemption for Avery
In the Eyes of the Dead
The Darkness within Him
Fiona’s Salvation

Author Bio
[Jordan Dane (Twitter)]
Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel No One Heard Her Scream as Best Books of 2008. Dane is multi-published in crime fiction thrillers, has books in over seven countries, and has written young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. www.jordandane.com


Book Review—The Ghosts of Idlewood

[The Ghosts of Idlewood Cover]When I’m not reading horror, I like immersing myself in a good ghost story. The thing about this sub-genre is, you can pretty much do what you want anywhere you want. I love learning about different parts of the country. The Ghosts of Idlewood paints a realistic picture of the modern South. And in reaching back to centuries past, it provides the reader with a rich tapestry of what life might have been like on a plantation.

If, like me, you haven’t been steeped in the author’s Seven Sisters series, don’t worry. This story works well as a standalone, and I had no trouble picking up on the backstories of the main characters as they face paranormal danger in trying to solve the mystery that lies within the walls of a once-grand estate called Idlewood.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
Carrie Jo Begins a New Renovation at Idlewood!

The Seven Sisters Spin-Off You’ve Been Waiting For!

When a team of historians takes on the task of restoring the Idlewood plantation to its former glory, they discover there’s more to the moldering old home than meets the eye. The long-dead Ferguson children don’t seem to know they’re dead. A mysterious clock, a devilish fog and the Shadow Man add to the supernatural tension that begins to build in the house. Lead historian Carrie Jo Stuart and her assistant Rachel must use their special abilities to get to the bottom of the many mysteries that the house holds.

Detra Ann and Henri get a reality check, of the supernatural kind, and Deidre Jardine finally comes face to face with the past.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other Amazon reviews here.