Review: What I Had Before I Had You, by Sarah Cornwell

About the book, What I Had Before I Had You

What I Had Before I Had You

Written in radiant prose and with stunning psychological acuity, award-winning author Sarah Cornwell’s What I Had Before I Had You is a deeply poignant story that captures the joys and sorrows of growing up and learning to let go.

Olivia Reed was fifteen when she left her hometown of Ocean Vista on the Jersey Shore. Two decades later, divorced and unstrung, she returns with her teenage daughter, Carrie, and nine-year-old son, Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Distracted by thoughts of the past, Olivia fails to notice when Daniel disappears from her side. Her frantic search for him sparks memories of the summer of 1987, when she exploded out of the cocoon of her mother’s fierce, smothering love and into a sudden, full-throttle adolescence, complete with dangerous new friends, first love, and a rebellion so intense that it utterly recharted the course of her life.

Olivia’s mother, Myla, was a practicing psychic whose powers waxed and waned along with her mercurial moods. Myla raised Olivia to be a guarded child, and also to believe in the ever-present infant ghosts of her twin sisters, whom Myla took care of as if they were alive—diapers, baby food, an empty nursery kept like a shrine. At fifteen, Olivia saw her sisters for the first time, not as ghostly infants but as teenagers on the beach. But when Myla denied her vision, Olivia set out to learn the truth—a journey that led to shattering discoveries about herself and her family.

Sarah Cornwell seamlessly weaves together the past and the present in this riveting debut novel, as she examines the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the powerful forces of loss, family history, and magical thinking.

Buy a Copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author, Sarah Cornwell

Sarah Cornwell

Sarah Cornwell grew up in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Her fiction has appeared in the 2013 Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Missouri Review, Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, and Hunger Mountain, among others, and her screenwriting has been honored with a Humanitas Prize.

A former James Michener Fellow at UT-Austin, Sarah has worked as an investigator of police misconduct, an MCAT tutor, a psychological research interviewer, and a toy seller. She lives in Los Angeles.

Connect with Sarah:


My Thoughts

Like Olivia Reed, I spent the first several years of my life (and many summers thereafter) on the Jersey shore. It was, in fact, that particular setting that drew me to this book. In my mind, Ocean Vista is much more like vintage Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, though my guess is that it’s really based on Seaside Heights.

But the setting, while important, takes a back seat to the story, and wow! Sarah Cornwell weaves a damn good story.

At heart, it’s the story of mothers and daughters: Olivia as daughter, humoring her mother by ‘feeding’ the ghosts of her twin sisters, dealing with hurt and pain when she learns those sisters are not so ethereal as she was rased to believe Olivia as mother, with a bratty teen of her own and a special needs child, riding the edge between patience and frustration, always loving her children but sometimes not liking them very much.

Cornwell tells both halves of the story with grace and ease. She puts in enough detail that we can see the cast-away baby food, smell the greasy boardwalk pizza, hear the crinkle of the plastic on the perfectly used diapers thrown out each week, taste the salt-water taffy.

She leaves enough to the imagination that only a careful reading shows us what is real and what isn’t. She writes real people and real situations but with a magical feel that draws you in and compels you to continue.

Translation: Reading this book is like riding a Ferris Wheel. At times you’re at the bottom of the loop, and at times you’re at the peak, but you’re always along for the ride, and from a good portion of it, the view is incredible.

Goes well with A hotdog, crinkle cut fries, and rootbeer, with cotton candy for dessert.

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a virtual book tour. For more information, visit the tour page at TLC Book Tours.

Review: My Mother’s Funeral by Adriana Páramo

About the book, My Mother’s Funeral

My Mother's Funeral

Every woman has stories to tell about her mother. The mother that she remembers, the mother she wishes she’d had, the mother she doesn’t want to become, and then eventually, the mother she buries. Every immigrant woman has stories to tell about her homeland. My Mother’s Funeral is a combination of both: Mother and Homeland. The book circles around the death of Páramo’s mother but the landscape that emerges is not only one of personal loss and pain, but also of innocence, humor, violence and love.

Drawing heavily upon her childhood experiences and Colombian heritage, the author describes the volatile bond linking mothers and daughters in a culture largely unknown to Americans. The book moves between past (Colombia in the 1940’s) and present lives (USA in 2006), and maps landscapes both geographical (Bogotá, Medellín, Anchorage) as well as psychological, ultimately revealing the indomitable spirit of the women in her family, especially her mother from whom the reader learns what it means to be a woman in Colombia.

My Mother’s Funeral describes four Colombian generations of women who struggle, love, sing and die in a country of mysterious beauty as much as it charts the daunting and transforming process of the mother’s funeral and its unexpected byproduct: the re-acquaintance with a long lost brother, the women in the family, and with them, the whole culture.

Buy a copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author, Adriana Páramo

Adriana Paramo

Páramo is a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate. Her book Looking for Esperanza, winner of the 2011 Social Justice and Equity Award in Creative Nonfiction (Benu Press) was one of the top ten best books by Latino authors in 2012, the best Women’s Issues Book at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards, and the recipient of a silver medal at the 2012 BOYA, Book of the Year Awards. She is also the author of My Mother’s Funeral, a CNF work set in Colombia released in October 2013 by Cavankerry Press.

Her work has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and her essays have been included in the Notable American Essays of 2011 and 2012.

Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming in The Sun, the CNF Southern Sin Anthology (True Stories of the Sultry South & Women Behaving Badly), Minerva Rising, Redivider, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Los Angeles Review, American Athenaeum, Consequence Magazine, Fourteen Hills, Carolina Quarterly Review, Magnolia Journal, So To Speak, 580 Split, South Loop Review, New Plains Review, and the rest.

Currently she lives in Qatar, where she divides her time between writing and everything else. Everything else includes teaching zumba/Latin dance and Spanish lessons to Qatari students, among whom, there is a prince.

My Thoughts

I have to confess: when the lovely women who run TLC Book Tours approached me about reviewing Adriana Páramo’s memoir, My Mother’s Funeral, I was a little bit resistant. After all, I watched my grandmother go through, if not actual Alzheimers, then the descent into senility and dementia (there is a clinical difference, though from outside, it looks the same), and seeing her lose so much of herself was incredibly difficult. My own mother is only twenty years older than I am, so I won’t likely have to face this with her for a long while, but once encountered, the spectre haunts you, however subtly.

I could not have been more pleased to be proven wrong, because, yes, this book is inherently sad in some respects: within the first few chapters, we face, with Adriana, the cold fact that she is flying home to bury her mother.

But it’s also beautiful.

First, it’s beautifully constructed. Páramo takes us in and out of time periods and places with smooth transitions, and without we readers ever getting lost. Modern Florida, Colombia in the 40s – each feels as real on the page as they are when actually encountered. In the former, you can smell the sun, sand, and Coppertone, in the latter, the sizzle of lard in a frying pan, the swish of a knife through a tomato or an onion – these are ever present. I’ve never actually tasted aguardiente, but after reading this book, I feel as if I have.

Second, and this is what really struck me, the use of language is simply entrancing. Maybe it’s the inherent flair that comes from speaking Spanish as your first language, or maybe it’s the author’s own musicality, but this book sang to me so much that I spent the week I read it (not normal for me, I typically devour books, but this one had to be savored) wandering around the house accosting my husband, our housemate, even the dogs, and reading passages aloud.

Lyrical, lovely, and oh, so poignant, My Mother’s Funeral is a power piece of memoir/creative non-fiction, and not only do I heartily recommend it to all women (after all, even those of us who have never become mothers are still daughters) but to men as well, because it offers a deep understanding of mother-daughter relationships that is impossible to glean without being in one.

Goes well with The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking about my mother’s green chile soup, and homemade sangria.

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a virtual tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For the tour page, click here.

Review: Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim

About the book, Last Train to Paris


Inspired by the story of a distant cousin who was murdered in Paris in 1937, award-winning author Michele Zackheim’s Last Train to Paris is a gripping epic about a half-Jewish female reporter from Nevada who writes for the Paris Courier in the 1930’s. The sole woman in the newsroom, she lives with both sexism and anti-Semitism. Then she meets Leo, a German radical and anti-Nazi and realizes that while Paris is interesting, the truly vital historical story is taking place across the border. Rose undertakes an assignment in the Berlin press office, where she is initially happy and in love until Kristallnacht and the growing threat of Nazism. When World War II is declared, Americans are forced to leave the country and Rose must make an agonizing choice: Who will go with her on the last train to Paris?

Zackheim, acclaimed author of Einstein’s Daughter, tells her story from vantage point of Rose as an elderly woman, Last Train to Paris is at once a historical epic, a love story, and a psychological portrait of one woman’s gradual discovery of who she really is after years of being invisible to herself.

Last Train to Paris will enthrall the same large audience that made In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky bestsellers.

Buy a copy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author, Michele Zackheim

Michele Zackheim

Michele Zackheim is the author of four books.

Born in Reno, Nevada she grew up in Compton, California. For many years she worked in the visual arts as a fresco muralist, an installation artist, print-maker, and a painter. Her work has been widely exhibited and is included in the permanent collections of The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.; The Albuquerque Museum; The Grey Art Gallery of New York University; The New York Public Library; The Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum, and The Carlsbad Museum of Art.

She has been the recipient of two NEA awards, and teaches Creative Writing from a Visual Perspective at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her first book, Violette’s Embrace, was published by Riverhead Books. That book is a fictional biography of the French writer Violette Leduc. Her second book, the acclaimed Einstein’s Daughter: The Search for Lieserl (Penguin Putnam, 1999), is a non-fiction account of the mystery of the lost illegitimate daughter of Mileva and Albert Einstein. Broken Colors (Europa Editions, 2007) is the story of an artist, whose life takes her to a place where life and art intersect. Her fourth novel, Last Train to Paris, will be published in January 2014. Zackheim lives in New York City.

Connect with Michele

Website | Facebook

My Thoughts

When it comes to armchair traveling, one of my most frequent destinations is France (in general) and Paris (specifically). Outside of my imagination, I’ve never spent much time in Paris, as most of my trips to France take me to places like Montpelier, Bezier, and Carcassone. Like most people, especially those of us who love words, Paris holds a special place in my heart, and I’ll read almost anything that takes place there.

Michele Zackheim’s novel has only increased that love. Bookended by glimpses of the main character as an elderly woman, the novel takes us to the Paris of the late 1930’s, where the echoes of Hemingway’s footsteps still ring out, though they’re being slowly overtaken by the marching cadence of black-booted Nazis.

First in Paris, and later in Berlin, we get to witness history through R. B. Manon’s eyes, to an often-chilling result, but even before things get grim there are descriptions of people and places that simply sing. In the first few pages of Last Train to Paris, for example, Zackheim describes the hotel where R.B is living, and we meet a host of people who share common spaces with her. Some of them, we may never see again, and some go one to become important, but either way, I felt as if I could see the neighbor waving, smell the cabbage, hear the cacophony of life in crowded residential hotel in a crowded, bustling city.

If you, as I did, loved Midnight in Paris, or if you’ve ever, as I have, watched old movies and fantasized about being a foreign correspondent, then you simply must read Last Train to Paris. You will not regret it.

Goes well with espresso with a twist of lemon on the side, and a butter croissant.

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For the tour page, click here.

Book Blast: Evoked Potentials by Pat Dannenberg

About the book, Evoked Potentials

Evoked Potentials

Sadie Ackerman doesn’t have to leave home to find adventure. She is on a trip of descent to the shadow world of her own unconscious, a trip of ascent to the mystery of expanded awareness, and a trip in the mid-world of everyday reality where falling in love with a sexy detective rocks the current organization of her psyche.

A convergence of mystery, murder, maternity, marriage and the Mossad swirls around Sadie as she searches for a new direction in the quiet woods and waters of southern New Jersey and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Purchase your copy:

Evoked Potentials at iuniverse

About the author, Pat Dannenberg

The author and her husband enjoy winecations, road trips and water. They spend their time in New Jersey and Virginia.

Evoked Potentials

Pump Up Your Book & Pat Dannenburg are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway ends January 21.
  • Winner will be contacted via email.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Spotlight on The Black Song Inside by Carlyle Clark

About the book, The Black Song Inside

The Black Song Inside

Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged private investigators, have seen the dark and violent side of life. Nothing, though, has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that threatens to tear their relationship apart as they struggle to solve a case that could leave them in prison or dead.

Atticus’s manipulative ex-girlfriend bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary’s family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling, while rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva’s bloody bid to take over the cartel.

The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists who, if they can save themselves, may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive.

Buy a copy!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Join the conversation!


About the author, Carlyle Clark

Carlyle Clark

Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.

He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.

His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.

Connect with Carlyle

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Pump Up Your Book & Carlyle Clark are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Accelerate Your Power Grand Prize.
  • This giveaway begins December 2 and ends February 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, March 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
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The Black Song Inside

Spotlight on External Forces by Deborah Rix

About the book, External Forces

External Forces

Treason, betrayal, and heartbreak.

A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill.
It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.
When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.

As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.

Buy a copy:

External Forces at Amazon

Join the discussion:

External Forces at GoodReads

About the author, Deborah Rix

Deborah Rix

Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.

Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.

External Forces is her first novel.

Connect with Deborah:


Watch the Book Trailer:

External Forces at PUYB

Enter to Win a Kindle Fire HD


GRAND PRIZE: Winner will have a minor character named after them in Acceleration, the second book in The Laws of Motion Trilogy by Deborah Rix. PLUS: 1 (One) WakaWaka Power – a solar powered charger and light, 1 (one) Limited Edition EXTERNAL FORCES Black Ops Beanie, and 1 (one) signed copy of External Forces.

The fine print: Grand Prize winner will have a minor character named after them in the forthcoming book, Acceleration. The winner can choose a name other their own as long as it is mutually agreeable with the Author, Deborah Rix. That means nothing obscene, stupid or ridiculous, as decided at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the gender, race, physical description, sexual orientation or any other characteristics of the character are at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the character may suffer some sort of gruesome downfall or may be a heroic figure in the story, it is at the sole discretion of the author what the role of the character will be and to what extent the character will be part of the story. The author assures the winner that it will be a real character in the story and part of a sub-plot or major plot.

Terms and Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Accelerate Your Power Grand Prize.
  • This giveaway begins November 4 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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Reviewed Elsewhere: Taking What I like, by Linda Bamber

Taking What I Like

I reviewed Linda Bamber’s short story collection Taking What I Like over at All Things Girl earlier this morning. I loved the book so much that if I were a student at Tufts, where the author teaches, I would camp out over night in order to sign up for her class.

And I’m a person who typically thinks “roughing it” means “staying in a hotel that doesn’t have room service.”

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

At turns hilarious and poignant, bitter and sweet, but always based in a place of truth, Bamber turns familiar works upside down and lets us see well-known characters to a filter of modernity.

The first story in the collection, “Casting Call,” gives us all of the familiar characters from Othello – including a Desdemona who remembers having died – and turns them into the English department faculty in a small university (though it could be worse, Desdemona points out: the characters from Measure for Measure run the political science department at a school in Ontario; at least the Othello crew is in their creator’s field of study.), arguing over hiring diversity and creating new and different romantic liaisons.

Read the rest of the review here.

Review: Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, by Janice Gary

Short Leash by Janice Gary

About the book, Short Leash

It’s hard to believe that a walk in the park can change a life – let alone two – but for Janice Gary and her dog Barney, that’s exactly what happened.

Gary relied on dogs to help her feel safe when walking on her own ever since being attacked on the streets of Berkeley as a young woman. This solution worked well for years until her canine companion passed on. Grieving, and without the benefit of a guardian, she encounters a stray Lab-Rottweiler puppy in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and falls for his goofy smile and sweet nature. With his biscuit-sized paws, Barney promises to grow into her biggest protector yet. But fate intervenes when Barney is viciously attacked by another dog just before his first birthday. From that time on, he becomes dog-aggressive. Walking anywhere with Barney is difficult. But for Gary, walking without him is impossible.

It’s only when she risks taking him to a local park that both of their lives change forever. There, Janice faces her deepest fears and discovers the grace of the natural world, the power of love and the potency of her own strengths. And Barney no longer feels the need to attack other dogs. Beautifully written, Short Leash is a moving tale of love and loss, the journey of two broken souls finding their way toward wholeness.

Buy a copy of Short Leash

Buy from Amazon

Short Leash at

About the author, Janice Gary

Janice Gary

Janice Gary is the author of Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, which was chosen as a “Groundbreaking memoir” by Independent Publisher and a New Pages “Editor’s Pick”. She is the recipient of the Christine White Award for Memoir and the Ames Award for Personal Essay. As a writing coach, she helps others writers find their unique voice and stories.

Connect with Janice:


My Thoughts

Not only do I have three dogs of my own (all rescue mutts), but I actually work in rescue as a shelter-pet evangelist and dog fosterer, so when I was offered the chance to read and review Janice Gary’s book, Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, I leapt at the opportunity, even though it meant reading a pdf copy.

I’m glad I did, because Janice’s story is one that almost every woman can relate to. While I’ve never been attacked, I know the feeling of vulnerability that comes with being in a dark parking lot, a questionable part of town, the last car on the subway, and I have an active enough imagination that extrapolating what Ms. Gary must have felt is an easy reach for me. I have, however, had one of my dogs attacked, and while I was fortunate in that my own pet was mostly unharmed, I know the fear that comes in that moment when an animal in your care is threatened or injured.

As well, I know the safety that comes from having a big dog. My husband travels a lot, and I feel much more secure knowing that I have 80 pounds of pointer/boxer and 75 pounds of Catahoula/Rottie/Brittany/Aussie at my back should anything happen – and I live in a relatively safe neighborhood. Every dog owner, though, can relate to the canine litmus test: if my dog doesn’t like you, I’m probably better off avoiding you entirely.

But I digress.

Janice Gary tells her story – of being attacked, of losing her canine companion, and of finding a new best friend, and almost losing him, with both candor and finesse. When you read her words, you feel like she’s sitting across the table, sharing a coffee with you, and you want to reach out and hold her hand, or pet Barney’s great, big head.

Her first walk with him had me both shaking with concern and rooting for both human and dog to do well, and my investment in her story only grew the further I read.

This is a memoir, so there isn’t a plot to discuss, and you don’t get to criticize someone’s choices. Instead, I encourage everyone to read this book, because Short Leash is beautiful, heartfelt, and truly inspiring, without ever being insipid. And when you’ve finished reading it, go cuddle your own pups. Don’t have one? Adopt one. Big Black Dogs are the best playmates and walking companions anyone can have, and they’re always the last to be adopted.

Goes well with A cold coke and two hot dogs, one of which you share with your canine companion.

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a virtual book tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. Click here for the tour page.

Book Blast: Pieces of Me by Daron Kenneth


About the Book, Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me is Daron Kenneth’s newest offering of poetry that takes the reader on the real, and often surreal, ride through the mindscape of the author’s soul. Pieces of Me is an electric journey into some of life’s richest and most memorable moments.

Buy a Copy from AuthorHouse

Pieces of Me at AuthorHouse

About the author, Daron Kenneth

Daron Kenneth, a teacher, writer, play wright and poet gives us his current collection of poetry and insightful observations about the things that mean the most: life, love, friendships and relationships.

Enter to Win a $25 Gift Card from Daron Kenneth and Pump Up Your Book

Terms and Conditions

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate.
  • This giveaway begins January 7 and ends on January 21.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on January 22, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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Review: The Tempest Murders by P.M. Terrell

My Thoughts

The Tempest Murders was the perfect mystery to read on New Year’s Eve in Texas, even though it was set on the coast, during hurricane season. Why? Because when you’re on holiday time anyway, having a novel that is set before, during, and after a major storm just makes the world recede even further, and the story live more.

Boy did this story live.

Part of it takes place in the past, in the dreams of main character Ryan, who is reliving the events of a couple centuries before as he sleeps. The series of murders he dreams about are eerily similar to a serial killer case he’s working on in the current era, and when the woman who is his lover in his dreams appears before him in the guise of a news reporter following his investigation things get incredibly surreal.

The investigation itself was fairly obvious, which meant the puzzle part of the mystery wasn’t really “whodunnit?” but “how do we PROVE whodunnit?” and “why did he do it?” This isn’t at all a bad thing, but it means that The Tempest Murders sometimes feels more like a paranormal romance with mystery interludes than anything else. (In truth, I’m fairly certain that’s the author’s intention.)

The characters are interesting and dimensional, and I enjoyed the story immensely. This isn’t a novel for scholarly discussion or term paper fodder, but it’s definitely an entertaining read, and makes you wonder about concepts like genetic history and reincarnation. The only flaw is that we didn’t get ENOUGH of the paranormal – no explanation, and both Ryan (the detective) and Cait (the reporter) seemed to have little problem just accepting the premise behind Ryan’s dreams and the eventual resolution.

Goes well with shepherd’s pie and hard cider. Driving rainstorm optional.

This spotlight is part of a virtual tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book. Click HERE for the tour page.

For information about the author, P.M. Terrell, see the book spotlight I posted last Friday.