Tag Archives: thriller book

Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Find out how the mind of a disturbed and vastly rich stalker works as they pursue the person they believe loves them in author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

I love Emily. I know she loves me too, she just needs me to show her. One day, we will be together forever, I’ll make sure of that. She’s only with this guy she’s been hanging around with to test me, see if I’ll stand true. Emily wants me to fight for her, to see if I can win her. Of course, I will. Once she sees how I’ve been caring for her, all the plans I’ve made, the lengths I’ve gone to in order to be with her, she will be so proud of me. If only she would stop pretending so I could stop hiding in her attic.

Reach deep into the mind of mentally ill millionaire, Noah Burell, as he turns Emily’s world upside down.

The Review

This was such a chilling and haunting read. The author perfectly captures the fear and horror that so many people have had to endure over the years. The combination of mental illness left untreated and unhealthy obsessions have led to some truly terrifying cases over the years, and the author’s story really drew the reader in with the theme of obsession. The haunting atmosphere and tone the author’s narrative captures is the perfect way to capture the suspense thriller genre. 

The characters really just jumped off the page. The way the author was able to capture the POV of each character’s journey made the story feel that much more alive. The striking contrast between Emily’s whirlwind relationship with the protective and loving Isaiah with the disturbing and haunting obsession that Noah takes with her makes this story the heart of the novel overall.

The Verdict

Chilling, harrowing, and entertaining, author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love” is a must-read novel. The brilliant way the author captures the fear these cases can bring while also highlighting the need for better mental health awareness and help was a breath of fresh air, and the way the author did this without sacrificing the heart-pounding thriller aspect of this suspense novel was amazing to read. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Rachael Tamayo is the bestselling author of the award-winning Deadly Sins Series, and award-winning thriller, Crazy Love, among several other titles.  Before she started her writing career, she was a highly awarded 911 emergency services dispatcher with twelve years of experience and many commendations under her belt.   Upon exiting law enforcement, she’s focused her writing career on the dark, suspenseful, and psychological after beginning as a romance author.  Now Rachael uses her dark thriller as a sort of self-therapy after all those years answering 911 calls, and works all that she knows and was exposed to into the frighteningly realistic and layered characters her readers know and love her for.  Rachael lives on the Texas Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas with her husband of eighteen years this May,  their two children. 

https://rachaeltamayowrites.com/

Interview with Author John May

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Fame and fortune haha. In my spare time, I started writing stories and creating comic strips around the age of ten or eleven. When life wasn’t fun, creative writing was my escape as a child. It was a great outlet for my imagination and a way to express myself untethered from the restriction of my English teachers because not only did I come up with some wild stories, I was also a very creative speller which drove them crazy.

As a teen, I became an avid reader. Believe it or not, I read all of Charles Dickens’s works while riding on a bus to my after-school/weekend job in a restaurant kitchen. But I think it was Hemmingway’s books that really inspired me to write longer stories. I wanted to be that storyteller. It wasn’t however, until the author of the series of books that I was reading to my children died that I began writing. The kids were upset there would be no more books, so I took it upon myself to write something similar for them as a Christmas present. The only problem was that the short story turned into a novel and with my busy schedule as a doctor, it took two years to complete. By then, my older son was “too old” for it. I decided after my youngest grew up, that although I enjoyed writing my children, I really wanted to write for adults.

Advertisements

What inspired you to write your book?

My family and I experienced the panic and chaos created by the enormous North East blackout of 2003. We were sitting by a campfire completely oblivious until a neighbor approached carrying a shotgun telling us that most of North America was dark. He said it was a Russian cyberattack. My twelve-year-old son couldn’t sleep that night as he was frightened that we were under attack and that enemy soldiers were breaking into the house. That feeling of being in the dark, not knowing the truth was truly terrifying. For the next five days, our part of the world was not functioning – no credit cards – no cash – no ATMs working – the gas pump wouldn’t pump – store shelves were empty – the experience still haunts me and played a large part in motivating me to write Lethal Keystrokes.

In addition, I have always had an interest in technology and computers. In fact, before medical school, I worked as a programmer for IBM. As a physician, I became concerned about the impact of technology on children i.e., too much screen time. But with the intrusion of social media and the ‘internet of everything,’ I feel there is too much connectiveness without true human contact. My biggest concern outside the medical/social sphere is our security – individually and collectively as a nation. There are too many electronic eyes and ears out there. Are they helping and protecting us or making us vulnerable to those who wish harm upon us?

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope that this book causes people, companies, and governments to think about their digital security. We also need to be aware that the voids, created by Western nations in places like Somalia, where there was intervention and then complete withdrawal, are filled by groups that could become terrorist organizations.

What drew you into this particular genre?

To be honest, I was attempting to write a very emotionally charged true-life novel about some of my experiences in cancer and palliative care. It was tough. I needed to step back and ‘reset’. Previously, out of a more academic interest I had researched some of the key political and technological issues key to Lethal Keystrokes. I took that information and started writing something that was pure entertainment, so fast-paced and exciting that you can’t put it down and a total escape from the trials of day-to-day life. Writing it worked wonders for me and I hope that everyone that reads Lethal Keystrokes enjoys immersing themselves in the action. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

That is an interesting question. I’m somewhat surprised by my answer. It is not the main antagonist but his sister that I found the most fascinating and challenging character to write, and from the reaction of a few earlier readers, they agree with this choice. She starts out with the same vitriol as her older brother but as she spends more time in Western society, she stops focusing on all its flaws and begins to appreciate the positives, including the opportunities for women. She has to battle through the conflicts between her traditional role that involves support for her brother and her own journey to personal freedom. How does she bridge the chiasm between Islamic culture and her growing acceptance of America’s ideals?

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Marketing has changed so much. If you aren’t good with social media, you’re doomed so I embraced it despite my misgivings about technology. I do not profess to be an expert but Instagram has been quite useful as well as Twitter. Still, I really don’t like the feeling of anarchy – everyone has their own truth – that exists out there in the digital world. Bottom line:  technology is a tool, not a lifestyle.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write a one-page, beginning-to-end, synopsis of your plot. Stream of consciousness writing is unlikely to be successful. Writing toward a known conclusion ends up moving you farther, faster and easier than just sitting down and pecking away, hoping that it will all fall into place. If you can’t come up with the ending you don’t have an idea worthy of your time and energy. And work it is. A novel is much harder than a short story. Keeping an audience engaged for 300 pages is no easy task. So have a complete idea and be disciplined by writing something every day when possible. 

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m still writing the book about my medical experiences.  I have also started a second book featuring the heroes from ‘Lethal Keystrokes’ as they combat a threat to America of a different nature. Hint: It will use more of my medical knowledge.

Advertisements

About the Author

John D. May was born in London, Ontario. He has balanced multiple passions over his life, including his work as a biologist, his career as a physician, his volunteer service at medical outreach clinics in Guatemala, singer-songwriting, and storytelling. He has written several songs for well-known Canadian artists and released two CDs, available on iTunes and Spotify under the name Johnny May. His time is divided between his rural farm property near Toronto and the south of France.

https://linktr.ee/JohnnyMay

Lethal Keystrokes by John D. May Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A group of people who feel wronged by the world seeks their revenge, and one group of people must stop them before it’s too late in author John D. May’s “Lethal Keystrokes”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

America’s vulnerability is its hidden fanatics, those individuals who harbor fury, grief and a driving desire for revenge. While blending in with their neighbors, co-workers and customers, they plot the demise of their country. They have a network. They have resources. And they have the courage to make it happen.

Lethal Keystrokes is the gripping story of a small group of revenge seekers and those who try to keep America safe.

The Review

This was a truly captivating thriller. The author did a great job of layering the narrative with characters that kept the novel’s story intense and entertaining, and yet also brought an emotional depth and human angle that allowed readers to either recognize or identify with. The tension and fast-paced atmosphere and the story itself left me as a reader hanging off of the author’s every word, enthralled by the twists and turns the story took.

Yet in this book, it was the theme and setting that really brought this thriller to the forefront of the reader’s mind. The exploration of modern technology and our dependence on it both as individuals and as a society was remarkably felt through this novel, as the threats and high stakes of the novel really put our dependence on technology for so many aspects of our lives into a whole new perspective. The modern era has presented a host of new challenges to face, and the genre the author explores allowed these characters to feel much more relevant and alive on the page.

The Verdict

Heart-pounding, thoughtful, and entertaining, author John D. May’s “Lethal Keystrokes” is a must-read techno-thriller novel! The action and suspense of the novel will thrust readers into the 21st century with a vengeance, and the emotional chords the backstories and characters bring to the narrative give the heart that this modern thriller needed to keep readers invested throughout this novel. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

John D. May was born in London, Ontario. He has balanced multiple passions over his life, including his work as a biologist, his career as a physician, his volunteer service at medical outreach clinics in Guatemala, singer-songwriting, and storytelling. He has written several songs for well-known Canadian artists and released two CDs, available on iTunes and Spotify under the name Johnny May. His time is divided between his rural farm property near Toronto and the south of France.

https://linktr.ee/JohnnyMay

Agapē (Heart’s Compass Book One) by Lisa Cordeau Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman scarred by her past must place her trust in 3 detectives after witnessing a murder that could bring down a powerful mob boss in author Lisa Cordeau’s “Agapē”, the first book in the Heart’s Compass series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Fiercely independent, Cassie settled into an unpredictable, sometimes dangerous life under the park bridge with Janice and Pete. Her heart marred by past betrayals, she found trusting others difficult. But, after witnessing a murder, will she sacrifice her freedoms and place her trust in three unselfish men bent on keeping her, Pete, and Janice safe?

Detectives Alex, Raf, and Ryder Consopolat, brothers raised with a strong sense of family unity, strive to bring down the local mob boss, but their witnesses keep dying. Fate intervenes, providing them one final opportunity to end a tyrant’s reign. Can they keep their reluctant allies alive, or will they all be victims of The Boss?

The Review

This was such a brilliant and captivating read. The adrenaline-fueled thriller takes readers on a wild ride, showcasing a brutal landscape of gangsters and corruption that felt very reminiscent of a noir thriller in a more modern-day era. The world-building and atmosphere played heavily into the narrative, adding tension and sending chills down the reader’s spine as the gangsters of this tale crept ever closer to the cast of characters.

Yet it was the characters themselves that brought such heart to this story. The exploration of life on the streets as a homeless person was such an emotional and powerful change in direction for this type of thriller. The hardships and struggles Cassie, Pete, and Janice undergo on a daily basis and in their backstories only add to the dangers the gangsters bring to their feet, and the balance that the author stuck with the story of the brothers/detectives and how they came to interact with these witnesses over time added a depth to the emotional connection readers will have to this story. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, entertaining, and delightfully written, author Lisa Cordeau’s “Agapē” is a must-read thriller of 2022. A fantastic balance of emotional storytelling and exhilarating action-packed detective work, the story shines as a stand-alone narrative while also leaving room to grow as a series that examines the personal lives of those involved while also adding deep-seated character studies to a thrill-ride of a suspense story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Her mother’s love of books inspired Lisa to read and write from an early age. She filled her journals with story ideas and made up towns full of interesting characters. One of their favorite used book stores offered an exchange program, so they spent many weekends perusing the shelves of novels there. After returning the novels they read, they walked away with several bags filled with new stories to explore. Although life took her in other directions, writing has always been her first love. Returning to those pages, she became motivated to accomplish her dream of publishing her debut novel, Agapē. Now, her dream is a reality.

School Shooter by Thorsten Nesch Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book was sent to me to be reviewed weeks prior to the rash of mass shootings that have affected the United States in the last couple of weeks, including the Buffalo Tops Friendly Market store shooting and the Uvalde School Shooting. As the title suggests, this book deals with the topic of school shootings. As such, reader discretion is highly advised, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and communities affected by these tragedies.

A group of students who hide from a mass shooter discovers that one of them is in fact the shooter in author Thorsten Nesch’s “School Shooter”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

During a school shooting six highschool kids flee into the library of their school and barricade themselves, but it turns out one of them is the shooter …

The Review

For so many reasons, this was one of the more difficult novels I’ve read in recent months. The fear and anxiety that one can only imagine experiencing as a student stuck in such a life or death situation are captured here in the author’s work. The chilling nature of the atmosphere the author crafts really pulls readers into the narrative, while the character development was rich and well developed, with each character or “suspect” in the thriller adding depth and emotions into the narrative as readers try to figure out who is behind the heinous crime.

The theme and message of this narrative were no doubt the heart of the novel. The horrors of school shootings are something that has become more and more prevalent in recent years, and the emotional way the news hits so many of us as children become targets in places that should be a safe haven made this story feel monumentally more important now than ever before. The examination of how students interact with one another, the need for better mental health and social services to help students and end instances of bullying, and of course the terrible way gun laws enable people to access weapons that have no business accessing them, are all felt heavy as the narrative progresses.

The Verdict

Haunting, emotional, and thought-provoking, author Thorsten Nesch’s “School Shooter” is an important and memorable read for those who want a balance of thriller fiction with discussions around how students are cared for and how to best utilize gun control laws to end the frequency of these shootings. The author’s ability to bring readers into the narrative and feel the pressure and emergency of the situation the novel presents will have readers invested in this narrative heavily. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Thorsten Nesch is an award-winning author published in traditional publishing houses with more than 1,500 live readings in a dozen countries at schools, universities, book fairs and on cruise ships. He received literary arts grants and was invited for writer’s residencies in H.A.L.D. Denmark and LeseLenz, Hausach, Germany.

He was born in Solingen, Germany. 1998 to 2003 he lived in Canada. 2004 to 2013 in Leverkusen, Germany. Since 2014 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Permanent Resident in Canada.

“His style is a stroke of luck“, Jury of Hans-im-Glück-Award.

http://thorstennesch.com/

To Help Support the Families of the Uvalde Community, Please consider donating using this link: https://www.favordelivery.com/donate/supportuvalde?hide_header=true

Little Owl by Lauri Schoenfeld Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A mother must find a way of unlocking her past, saving her marriage and discovering the truth behind her daughters disappearances in author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Adaline Rushner is a woman in pieces. Her daughters have gone missing, and although the authorities seem to have found their bodies, something still isn’t right. Her husband, Cache, can’t bear the pain and wants to move on, but Adaline can’t shake the feeling they’re still alive. She even starts seeing them in the house, though Cache does not. Adaline wonders whether this current tragedy has something to do with the misfortune and painful experiences she suffered in her own childhood, but her memories have gaps in them that she can’t quite close on her own.

After Adaline and Cache move to Salt Lake City, everything gets even stranger. Local cop Officer Abbott thinks Adaline’s distinctive owl necklace may somehow link to his own missing daughter. Adaline’s neighbor Maggie offers assistance and comfort, but Adaline suspects her of hiding other truths from her. Adaline tries to prepare for her girls’ eventual return while investigating her own past forgotten traumas, but a threatening message urges her to let the past stay forgotten. Can Adaline find the truth and save her marriage to Cache, or will the tangled web of memories from her past keep her from moving on?

Author Lauri Schoenfeld’s psychological thriller is a suspenseful tale of family trauma, discovering our inner strength, and understanding the power of forgiveness.

The Review

Wow. This was my first thought after reading this incredible thriller. The character growth was outstanding in this narrative. The heartbreak and tragic nature of the protagonist and her refusal to accept the loss of her daughters was such a natural and emotional reaction that any parent would likely be able to relate to in those circumstances. Her relationships and the twists and turns the narrative takes to force the readers to question if Adaline is truly having a break from reality due to the loss of her children, or if something far more sinister is afoot.

The thing that really drew me into this narrative was the atmosphere and theme of trust that the author played with. One thing I always look for in a thriller is if you can guess right away who the true “culprit” is, or if the story is so rich that you can’t make up your mind either way. This novel was definitely in the latter category, making me question everyone and truly shocking me several times over the narrative. 

The Verdict

A haunting, shocking, and entertaining thriller, author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl” is a must-read novel of 2021! Honestly, this book captured the same shock and wow factor that Dean Koontz’s “False Memory” did, not necessarily by shocking with the revelation but the actions and twists the narrative took readers in. The final revelation of what happened to these children and who is responsible will absolutely be a jaw-dropper of a revelation, and make this story really stand out! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Lauri Schoenfeld currently resides in Utah with her husband, three kids, and dog, Jack Wyatt Wolverine. She’s a child abuse advocate, a Nancy Drew enthusiast, and is part cyborg. Teaching creative writing classes to her community is one of her favorite things to do when she’s not having long conversations with her characters. Visit her at www.laurischoenfeld.com

https://www.instagram.com/laurischoenfeld/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/laurischoenfeldevents/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B094YTXTFH/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58205041-little-owl%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DtcaeVHp5mn%26rank%3D2&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Hinterland by L.M. Brown Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Trigger Warning: Themes revolving around mental illness are present in this novel. If you or someone you know suffers from illnesses such as schizophrenia and are easily triggered by these storylines, reader discretion is advised.

A husband and father trying to take care of his wife and child finds himself struggling as a childhood friend returns home, bringing complex feelings back to the surface and a dark secret threatens to tear apart his family in author LM. Brown’s “Hinterland”. 

The Synopsis

Nicholas Giovanni’s life revolves around his five-year old daughter Kate. When he isn’t driving his taxi, he is taking care of her and her mother Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was before Kate was born. When his childhood best friend, Ina, returns next door, tensions rise in the house. Already unstable, Kathleen suspicions of Ina and Nicholas grow until a day of violence ensues and Kathleen disappears.

Kate’s life is shattered by her mother’s disappearance. No-one will tell her where Kathleen is. Although Ina helps to take care of Kate, Nicholas keeps her at arm’s length. He cannot bring himself to tell the truth about Kathleen’s last day, until Kate runs away, and he realizes his silence has torn everyone apart. To find Kate and to keep Ina in his life, there are truths he must face, if it’s not too late.

The Review

This was a well written, slow-burn style mix of family drama and thriller. The author explores two important themes in this narrative: the lengths a parent would go to in order to protect their child, and the hardships of trying to care for someone suffering from a severe mental illness. 

The protagonist Nicholas is a complex man, with both many faults and a desire to protect his daughter Kate from heartbreaking truths. From the return of his childhood friend Ina to the struggle he has with his wife Kathleen and her struggle with a serious mental illness, the author beautifully focuses on character development to highlight the story within this book. 

The Verdict

An emotionally charged, dramatic, and evenly paced read, author L.M. Brown’s “Hinterland” is a must-read thriller drama. The heartbreaking circumstances that push Nicholas and his family to the edge are truly engaging and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and definitely felt like the delivery of the narrative was very reminiscent of a classic Hitchcock thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to preorder your copy today or grab it on October 13th, 2020!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

L.M Brown is the author of novels Debris and Hinterland, and the linked short story collections Treading The Uneven Road and Were We Awake. Her award winning stories have been published in over a dozen magazines. She grew up in Ireland but lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters.

https://www.facebook.com/LornaBrownAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/l.m_brown/

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A tragic loss and desire for a better life leads a woman down a dark and dangerous path into the past and future in author Karen Hamilton’s psychological thriller, “The Last Wife”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

In Karen Hamilton’s shocking thriller, THE LAST WIFE (Graydon House, July 7, $17.99) Marie Langham is distraught when her childhood friend, Nina, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before Nina passes away, she asks Marie to look out for her familyher son, daughter, and husband, Stuart. Marie would do anything for Nina, so of course, she agrees. 

Following Nina’s death, Marie gradually finds herself drawn into her friend’s lifeher family, her large house in the countryside. But when Camilla, a mutual friend from their old art-college days, suddenly reappears, Marie begins to suspect that she has a hidden agenda. Then, Marie discovers that Nina had long suppressed secrets about a holiday in Ibiza the women took ten years previously when Marie’s then-boyfriend went missing after a tragic accident and was later found dead. 

Marie used to envy Nina’s beautiful life, but now the cards are up in the air and she begins to realize that nothing is what it seemed. As long-buried secrets start surfacing, Marie must figure out what’s true and who she can trust before the consequences of Nina’s dark secrets destroy her.

The Review

The author does an excellent job of ramping up the suspense early on in the story. At first glance, the mystery of the promises Marie made to Nina seems harmless, but they are anything but. The edgy nature of the thriller lends itself well to the cast of characters and their hidden natures.

The author’s focus on character development really shines through in this thriller. The mark of a good mystery shows in this narrative, as the characters all show evidence of both good and nefarious intentions, marking them as well-rounded and complex characters that are both relatable and engaging to readers. 

The Verdict

An edge-of-your-seat thriller, author Karen Hamilton’s “The Last Wife” is a must-read summer mystery that is reminiscent of the shocking and electrifying mystery surrounding Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”. The characters steal the show as by book’s end those you thought you could trust suddenly are not, and readers are left shocked as the book comes to a close. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @KJHAuthor

Instagram: @karenhamiltonauthor

Facebook: @KarenHamiltonWriter

Goodreads

Advertisements

Author Bio: 

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend.

Advertisements

Now Here is an Excerpt From “The Last Wife” by Karen Hamilton


PROLOGUE

Clients trust me because I blend in. It’s a natural skill—my gift, if you like. I focus my lens and capture stories, like the ones unfolding tonight: natural and guarded expressions, self-conscious poses, joyous smiles, reluctant ones from a teenage bridesmaid, swathed in silver and bloodred. The groom is an old friend, yet I’ve only met his now-wife twice. She seems reserved, hard to get to know, but in their wedding album she’ll glow. The camera does lie. My role is to take these lies and spin them into the perfect story.

I take a glass of champagne from a passing server. I needn’t be totally on the ball during the latter half of the evening because by then, people naturally loosen up. I find that the purest details are revealed in the discreet pictures I snatch during the final hours, however innocuously an event starts. And besides, it seems this event is winding down.

The one downside of my job is the mixed bag of emotions evoked. I rarely take family photos anymore, so normally, I’m fine, but today, watching the wedding festivities, the longing for what I don’t have has crept up on me. People think that envy is a bad thing, but in my opinion, envy is a positive emotion. It has always been the best indicator for me to realize what’s wrong with my life. People say, “Follow your dreams,” yet I’d say, “Follow what makes you sick with envy.”

It’s how I knew that I must stop deceiving myself and face up to how desperately I wanted to have a child. Delayed gratification is overrated.

I place my camera on a table as the tempo eases and sit down on a satin-draped chair. As I watch the bride sweep across the dance floor with her new husband, I think of Nina, and an overwhelming tide of grief floods through me. I picture her haunted expression when she elicited three final promises from me: two are easy to keep, one is not. Nonetheless, a vow is a vow. I will be creative and fulfill it. I have a bad—yet tempting—idea which occasionally beckons me toward a slippery slope.

I must do my best to avoid it because when Nina passed the baton to me, she thought I was someone she could trust. However, as my yearning grows, the crushing disappointment increases every month and the future I crave remains elusive. And she didn’t know that I’d do anything to get what I want. Anything.

ONE

Ben isn’t at home. I used to panic when that happened, assume that he was unconscious in a burning building, his oxygen tank depleted, his colleagues unable to reach him. All this, despite his assurance that they have safety checks in place to keep an eye out for each other. He’s been stressed lately, blames it on work. He loves his job as a firefighter, but nearly lost one of his closest colleagues in a fire on the fourth floor of a block of flats recently when a load of wiring fell down and threatened to ensnare him.

No, the reality is that he is punishing me. He doesn’t have a shift today. I understand his hurt, but it’s hard to explain why I did what I did. For a start, I didn’t think that people actually sent out printed wedding invitations anymore. If I’d known that the innocuous piece of silver card smothered in horseshoes and church bells would be the ignition for the worst argument we’d ever had, I wouldn’t have opened it in his presence.

Marie Langham plus guest…

I don’t know what annoyed Ben more, the fact that he wasn’t deemed important enough to be named or that I said I was going alone.

“I’m working,” I tried to explain. “The invitation is obviously a kind formality, a politeness.”

“All this is easily rectifiable,” he said. “If you wanted me there, you wouldn’t have kept me in the dark. The date was blocked off as work months ago in our calendar.”

True. But I couldn’t admit it. He wouldn’t appreciate being called a distraction.

Now, I have to make it up to him because it’s the right time of the month. He hates what he refers to as enforced sex (too much pressure), and any obvious scene-setting like oyster-and-champagne dinners, new lingerie, an invitation to join me in the shower or even a simple suggestion that we just shag, all the standard methods annoy him. It’s hard to believe that other couples have this problem, it makes me feel inadequate.

One of our cats bursts through the flap and aims for her bowl. I observe her munching, oblivious to my return home until this month’s strategy presents itself to me: nonchalance. A part of Ben’s stress is that he thinks I’m obsessed with having a baby. I told him to look up the true meaning of the word: an unhealthy interest in something. It’s not an obsession to desire something perfectly normal.

I unpack, then luxuriate in a steaming bath filled with bubbles. I’m a real sucker for the sales promises: relax and unwind and revitalize. I hear the muffled sound of a key in the lock. It’s Ben—who else would it be—yet I jump out and wrap a towel around me. He’s not alone. I hear the voices of our neighbors, Rob and Mike. He’s brought in reinforcements to maintain the barrier between us. There are two ways for me to play this and if you can’t beat them…

I dress in jeans and a T-shirt, twist my hair up and grip it with a hair clip, wipe mascara smudges from beneath my eyes and head downstairs.

“You’re back,” says Ben by way of a greeting. “The guys have come over for a curry.”

“Sounds perfect,” I say, kissing him before hugging our friends hello.

I feel smug at the wrong-footed expression on Ben’s face. He thought I’d be unable to hide my annoyance, that I’d pull him to one side and whisper, “It’s orange,” (the color my fertility app suggests is the perfect time) or suggest that I cook instead so I can ensure he eats as organically as possible.

“Who’s up for margaritas?” I say with an I’m game for a big night smile.

Ben’s demeanor visibly softens. Result. I’m forgiven.

The whole evening is an effortless success.

Indifference and good, old-fashioned getting pissed works.

Excerpted from The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton, Copyright © 2020 by Karen Hamilton 

Published by Graydon House Books

Judenrein by Harold Benjamin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A troubled man with a checkered past finds himself forced into the role of a hero when a white supremacist led America faces a terror attack that is set to pin the blame on the already disparaged Jewish community, and plunge the nation into chaos in author Harold Benjamin’s novel “Judenrein”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

Zack Gurevitz has had a checkered past. A Yeshiva boy, turned Green Beret, turned junkie, excommunicated by his one-time faith and now the potential savior of people he doesn’t even like.

As a white supremacist movement stealthily takes the reins of power in America, it is again the Jews who are made out as scapegoats. Stripped of wealth and citizenship, they are made to live in 21st century ghettos that hark back to a sinister and murky past that many had thought would never return.

But things are about to get much worse. With the revealing of a planned terror attack that will place the blame firmly at Jewish feet and condemn millions to death, Zack is contacted by Jewish leaders in Detroit, begging for his help.

Reluctantly he agrees and before long he is mired in a conspiracy that will have far reaching consequences for his country, the Jewish population and even his own sanity.

As the clock ticks down, can Zack find a way to avert a looming disaster? Who is behind the conspiracy? And can he really trust anyone?

The Review

There has never been a more relevant time for a thriller novel such as this. The author conveys a powerful story that relates a long history of violence, hatred and prejudice through a dystopian thriller lens. 

The author does an amazing job of creating a vast cast of characters, but most importantly a complex, multi-layered protagonist. Getting to see Zack struggle with his addiction and the complex relationship he has with his people and the circumstances they find themselves in really made the narrative shine through much brighter. It brought the harrowing experiences occurring in the dystopian future into the light and showcased how scary the events of our own world are sadly not far off from this reality, making it a plot that readers greatly pay attention to. 

The Verdict

A true page turner, author Harold Benjamin’s “Judenrein” is a heart-pounding thriller. This sad and dystopian future  is a stark reminder of how important it is to resist the hatred that threatens to overtake the world, and the flawed nature of protagonist Zack keeps the reader fully invested in the character’s journey through this dystopian world. It is a must-read thriller that won’t disappoint fans, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Harold Benjamin is the pen name of a 50-something Jewish writer who lives in the American midwest. He grew up in New York. Three out of his four grandparents were born in the 19th century.

Judenrein is available as an ebook and paperback.

For more information, visit www.judenreinbook.com.

Website: http://judenreinbook.com/

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4j26RJJMCQ