Daily Archives: September 8, 2021

Book Review: Interesting Whodunit

Surreal Absurdity

By Jim Lively

Jamie Simon attempted to kill Charles Pierce with an overdose of stolen ketamine. The whole affair disconcerted Pierce, but he wanted to put it behind him, so he never reported her to the police. Unfortunately, Ms. Simon decided to confess to police. Thus, the investigation and trial began, pulling Pierce into court and into the news. Unfortunately, this ultimately changed his life – and not in a good way.

Having retired from practicing law, Charles now spent his days painting. He was surprisingly good, so when he rented a space to paint from an art gallery, he quickly became a part of the art scene. Again, bad luck follows him. Random attacks on the gallery seem to be targeting him and as if that isn’t bad enough, he is implicated in a murder.

He quickly realizes he is in grave danger, and so begins his quest to find out just who is behind the attacks. But the police don’t believe him, in fact, they suspect he is the one who is on a murderous spree. Hopefully he can convince them otherwise and they will apprehend the real killer before it is too late.

For me there was too much dialog, not enough descriptions in this book. At times there were pages of dialog, just back and forth without setting information to give me a full picture of who, what, where and when. I am not saying the dialog was bad. For me, I needed something to see, hear or smell along the conversation. I enjoyed the information imparted regarding the wine tastings, the art and the gallery, I just needed more to get deeper into this novel. On the plus side, it is a super-fast read because of the pages of dialog.

This fast-paced mystery was interesting. The clues were all there and yet I didn’t realize who the killer was until the last pages. I liked this book but did not love it. The end especially disappointed me. It seemed as though there was more information readers needed to know. It ended abruptly, seemingly the end of a chapter, not a book. Perhaps there will be another novel in this series of two, but it leaves the readers hanging in the meantime.

This is the first book I have read by this author. Like his main character, Mr. Lively was a lawyer and is now a contemporary visual artist as well as a filmmaker. His second novel won the 2016 Merrimack Media Outstanding Writer Award. Surreal Absurdity is a sequel to Aberrant Behavior, which I have not read.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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Audio Book Review: The Guilt Trip – Fabulous New Suspense Novel by NYT Best Selling Author

The Guilt Trip

by Sandie Jones

Narrated by Clare Corbett

The thought of a destination wedding to Portugal sounds fabulous but quickly becomes complicated. Everyone has secrets that they are determined to keep hidden from the people closest to them.

The bride and groom, Will and Ali, are excited to begin their new lives as husband and wife, but Ali may not be telling the entire truth to her new husband. Meanwhile, Will’s brother Jack and his wife Rachel are at odds with each other when suspicion of cheating comes to light. Noah and his wife Paige, who are best friends with Jack and Rachel, are having marital problems. Could it be that the relationship between Noah and Rachel has reverted back to their college days when they were more than friends?

Deceit and betrayal, lies and suspicion swirls around six main characters, coming to a boiling point the day of the wedding. The answers to all of the questions will not be revealed until the wedding is over – but will it be too late for any of them to survive? The Guilt Trip is full of twists and turns that keeps readers guessing until the final chapters. Who, if anyone, is lying?

This fast-paced suspense filled novel is perfectly plotted to keep the reader engaged from the first pages to the last. The characters are interesting and fully developed. It was fun to try and figure out who was lying and who was cheating – and who wasn’t. I loved to hate some of the characters and felt sorry for others. The last chapter let me know if I was a good judge of character or completely mistaken. I loved it.

Clare Corbett did a marvelous job narrating this audiobook. She speaks clearly, making the book come to life for listeners. Audiobooks are perfect for busy people. There is nothing better than listening to an interesting book like The Guilt Trip while cleaning house, knitting or just relaxing.

I’ve read several books by Sandi Jones, and have enjoyed all of them. She is a New York Times bestselling author and deservedly so. I highly recommend all of her books, especially her latest, The Guilt Trip.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2021 Laura Hartman

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