"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, November 29, 2013

Outlaws, Dilettantes + Barbarians


photo by Shirley of My Bookshelf
Last evening I was in attendance as CKUA radio and the Edmonton Journal hosted four local journalists turned authors.  Stay tuned for my personal post but in the meantime check out the link below.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Book Boys Will Love To -Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate

Local author Marty Chan reads an excerpt from his new novel
Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate at a book launch party
at Audrey's Books Tuesday evening.

This dynamic new young adult novel takes some liberties with the story of Ehrich Weisz aka Houdini, focusing on the time Houdini pulled his own disappearing act at the age of 12, Marty Chan imagines a different twist taking the reader to an alternate dimension where technology meets time travel and magic in a book sure to capture the imagination of a young audience.





The room was filled to capacity with standing room only
for Marty Chan's presentation.



Above, the medallions  were handcrafted 
and used on the book cover below.


Following a spectacular evening of magic tricks and a reading, local author Marty Chan signs copies of his new steam punk Young Adult novel at Audrey's Bookstore.  Stay tuned for upcoming review of Erich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate (available at your local bookstores).  The following synopsis is quoted from Marty Chan's site:  www.martychan.com

The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate
When young Ehrich Weisz - the future illusionist, Harry Houdini - follows his brother, Dash, through a strange portal, he is thrust into an alternate New York where the immigrants aren't just different ethnicities but different species. He finds work in this strange steampunk world as a Demon Hunter, tracking down dangerous otherworldly visitors that threaten the city's safety, while hiding his own foreign origins. A curious medallion, his only clue to finding his brother, leads Ehrich to a mysterious woman caught up in interdimensional intrigue, and he must learn who to trust as he unravels the truth if he ever wants to find his way home.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
Author:  Ann Patchett
Published:  November 2013
Publisher:  Harper
Genre:  memoir
ARC
Source:  A complimentary ARC was provided for the purpose of preparing this review.  Receipt thereof bears no influence on my opinion nor this review.


This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is both wide-ranging and deeply personal, overflowing with close observation and emotional wisdom. Stretching from her tumultuous childhood, from a disastrous early marriage and a later happy one, she charts the hard work and joy of writing, and the unexpected thrill of opening a bookstore. Patchett shares stories of the people, places, ideals, and art to which she has remained indelibly committed. Brimming with thoughtful advice and emotional wisdom, this collection brings into focus the large experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, writer, and friend.
An irresistible blend of literature and memoir, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a unique examination of the heart, mind, and soul of one of our most revered and gifted writers.

My thoughts:
Ann Patchett, in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, reveals through a compilation of essays, her inner workings and imaginations as she pursued that dream which she was predisposed to fulfill at the tender young age of six or earlier, as memory fails to ascertain just how early destiny revealed itself to her.  Of course, this memoir is not only about the writing process, it is about life and those things precious, learned and understood. It is about a young Catholic girl who reconciled a dislike for the expectations of Christmas when she house sat a big old home with an enormous fireplace which required her constant attention during Christmas break.  Alone and left to her own devices and a supreme collection of books, Patchett was able to let go of Christmas past, keeping the story her father read to her over the phone many Christmases previous, the story of an orphan who gave up her one present of coloured pencils to a gypsy girl who had not a single gift.  It's a gift without physical record yet the memory remains indelible in her mind.

Patchett continues to share bits and pieces of her life, like how her earlier distain for motorhomes became a love for the big rambling homes on wheels and the time she decided to write about the police of LA by training for admission to the police academy.  The biggest obstacle, a six foot wall, which she conquered!  Marriage, her best friend the abandoned dog she fell in love with, to her grandmother.... all shared through the pages of this memoir allow us a peak into her life and her soul while keeping a theme of writing and book love on the perimeter and scattered throughout.

I adore this book for the advice, the bird's eye view of this fabulous author and her career and the satisfactory exploration of her literary prowess.  I feel I know her rather better and admire her ability to jump with both feet forward, taking on a challenge or two and embracing all that life offers.  You don't have to be an aspiring author to appreciate all This is the Story of a Happy Marriage has to offer as a metaphor for living, loving, and being; you just have to enjoy a good story.


Ann Patchett is the author of six novels: the New York Times bestselling State of Wonder and RunThe Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Taft, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; The Magician’s Assistant; and Bel Canto, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize, the BookSense Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction: the New York Times bestselling Truth & Beautyand What now? Patchett has written for many publications, including the Atlantic MonthlyHarper’s Magazine,Gourmet, the New York TimesVogue, and the Washington Post. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Find out more about Ann on her website and follow her bookstore, Parnassus Books, on Twitter.


Review: The Stranger You Know by Andrea Kane

The Stranger You Know
Series:  Forensic Instincts
Author:  Andrea Kane
Published:  September 2013
Publisher:  Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 368
Genre:  Thriller
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Receipt thereof bears no influence of my opinion nor this review.

It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.


College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they’re posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life—a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath’s desire to outdo another. As more red-haired victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey—a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopath won’t stop until he makes sure she’s dead.

My thoughts:

It's 1 am and I just finished reading The Stranger You Know.  As disturbing as the crimes were in this novel, the writing and the characters kept me turning the pages long after bedtime.  Tomorrow I am going to be so tired but I couldn't put it down.  I was determined to see it to the end just as the team at Forensic Instincts was determined to catch the serial killer.  

The Stranger You Know is a disturbing psychological thriller with a serial rapist/murderer intent on making Casey his ultimate prize.  Casey has built an impressive team at Forensic Instincts and between them and the skills they bring to the table, they are a formidable force.  Only a psychopath would mess with them and in The Stranger You Know one seriously deranged psychopath not only does so but sets his sights on the head of the team, Casey.

One by one, red headed college girls are disappearing and later found dead.  Their lives brutally taken.  Just as frightening, Casey starts to receive phone calls from a blocked ID and it has to be the killer.  He taunts her, discloses that yet another girl has fallen victim, and then tells Casey her time is coming.  As the crew investigates, using technology that makes one leery of using a cell phone ever again, among other "talents," it is clear that time is running out and they must use and be the best of the best to catch this psychopath before he does the unthinkable.

Warning to readers, the very plot is disturbing and descriptions are mildly graphic.  But it's not just what you read but what your own imagination conjures up that'll have you on personal alert.  This is one book you want to read with the lights on and the doors locked! If you enjoy psychological thrillers, like Mary Higgins Clark's, you'll enjoy The Stranger You Know.



Meet the Author:

Andrea Kane’s psychological thriller The Girl Who Disappeared Twice became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long line of smash hits. With her acclaimed signature style of developing unforgettable characters and weaving them into carefully researched story lines, Kane has created Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators. Recruited because of their special talents and dynamic personalities, the high-energy members thrive on blatantly disregarding authority. Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces and with training in behavioral and forensic psychology, this unstoppable team solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement.
With a worldwide following and novels published in more than twenty languages, Kane is also the author of numerous romantic thrillers and historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is busily crafting a new challenge for Forensic Instincts.
Visit her at www.AndreaKane.com


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Life, Love, Art: an Evening With Alanis Morissette and Margaret Atwood


Last evening I attended a premiere event wherein two globally recognized artists were paired up with a moderator in a forum about Life, Love and Art.  What do these two esteemed artists have in common besides success?  Both are advocates for the arts and in one form or another, for feminism.  Both have overcome trials though Alanis' were perhaps a bit tougher (in my opinion) on a personal level considering the exploitation by a former agent.

Alanis Morissette Festival of Ideas Promo Photo
Morissette developed her first "recording company" at the age of 10 when she used a tape recorder to tape herself singing a self-composed song which she later presented to friends who worked in the industry.  She had a single made, "Fate Stay With Me" in 1985 and a "company" was born.  


As a child she was often told she had a terrible voice, mostly by her brother but her belief in herself and her talent took off the day she was singing a song in church and she really "belted" it out, singing with all her heart.  Afterwards a lady in the congregation told her she had a lovely voice and from there Alanis knew she must use that voice.

She has since earned critical appraise and 12 Canadian Juno Awards, 7 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe nomination and sales of over 60 million albums worldwide.  She has performed songs for theatre and film including "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Prince of Persia," and "City of Angels."  She has done some acting and appeared as a celebrity guest member on the television hit "The Voice."  Alanis is a supporter of female empowerment and a public speaker as well as supporter of "spiritual, psychological and physical wellness." (from the evening's program: Life, Love, Art)  She is currently writing her memoir/biography and resides in Toronto, Ontario.



Alanis believes everyone has two - 30 talents and when you do not use those talents you are denying yourself which is a recipe for depression.  She highly recommends The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde.  Incidentally, if you look up reviews for this book Margaret Atwood states, The best book I know of for talented but unacknowledged creators. . . . A masterpiece." (portions of her review quoted on Amazon.ca)



Ms. Atwood started out as a writer at a time when women writers were not of the norm.  Publishers typically had a publishing quota of two to three female authors per year.  If you were in addition to those select few, you were out of luck.  I can see why authors may have written under pseudonyms in an effort to increase their odds though Ms. Atwood didn't.  Struggling to find her way in the world of publishing she has made her splash and developed it into a wave of followers and fans of great literary fiction.  She doesn't believe in genre writing.  She writes what comes to her and asks herself what would she do in a particular situation but does not see herself in any of her characters.  Margaret Atwood has authored "more than forty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. " (from the program Life, Love, Art).  Her novel Alias Grace won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Premio  Mondello award in Italy.  Her novel The Blind Assassin  won the Booker Prize in 2000.  She is also the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award.  She resides in Toronto, Ontario. 




She shared this bit of wisdom on the writing process:  writing is like a dark room, everything is in the dark.  The journey into darkness is going into that very black place and finding something  of value and bringing that to another world.  Through the dark with a lantern shining upon something that is already there, that is how you reveal your world in the written word.  (paraphrased from the conversation with Margaret Atwood.)






The moderator for the evening, also from Toronto, was Jared Bland.  His credentials include current book editor for The Globe and Mail and previously the senior editor at House of Anansi Press where his responsibilities included poetry and Canadian fiction, and once served as the managing editor of The Walrus magazine, editing fiction and poetry and culture coverage.

These two women have strengths and weaknesses.  They are funny, observant (note the photo above where Margaret Atwood is leaning forward, actively listening and participating), kind, bold, confident, and brilliant.  They believe in the arts and its role in society.  They advocate for women and believe in pursuing dreams and developing and using talents to better the lives of others.  Neither do what they do for fame nor glory.  They do it because they love what they do and love to see the effect they can make in others' lives.  They are truly women of vision who contribute to society as a whole through their works.  Both are on Canada's Walk of Fame.

Fun part of the evening, I met Margaret Atwood and she signed my book!!!  Prior to this event I'd known of Atwood but hadn't yet read her but I am currently three chapters into Alias Grace!  She has a fascinating style that I long to explore more.  I've long been a fan of Alanis Morissette.  Some of my personal favourites are: Everything and You Oughta Know and Ironic (watch the YouTube video here.)

*The evening is part of the "biennial Festival of Ideas, a partnership between the City of Edmonton, The Edmonton Arts Council, Capital Power and the University of Alberta.  The festival is built on a tradition of forging connections between the sciences and the arts, as well as the university and the broader community.  To this end, the festival invites performers, writers, visual artists, scientists and the public intellectuals to share their views and exchange ideas with the general public through forums, panel discussions, artistic productions, and community events." (Life, Love, Art program)

The author for the 2014 festival (November 23/14) was announced as being Joyce Carol Oats.  Feel free to visit festivalofideas.ca and register for updates.


Links to related articles:
http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/22/2o13-11-21-alanis-and-atwood/
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/Preview+Atwood+Morissette+meet+Edmonton+stage/9189963/story.html



Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: The Alligator Man by James Sheehan

The Alligator Man
Author:  James Sheehan
Published:  October 2013
Publisher:  Center Street
Pages:  400
Genre:  Legal Thriller
ISBN 9781455508648

Roy Johnson, the former CEO of Dynatron, preyed on smaller companies, swallowing them whole and spitting them out after taking huge profits. He left Dynatron with a one hundred million dollar golden parachute before the company took a nose dive, wiping out the jobs and benefits for all its employees. When Johnson goes missing and pieces of his clothing are discovered in alligator-infested waters, it is assumed he was murdered, and he’s dubbed the Alligator Man by a New York Times columnist. Billy Fuller, a former Dynatron employee who lost everything, including his wife, is just one of many who has a motive to murder Johnson.
Kevin Wylie, a lawyer in Miami, learns that his father, legendary trial lawyer Tom Wylie whom he hasn’t spoken to in 28 years, is having surgery for cancer and may not survive. Kevin decides to visit his father in St. Albans, and hopefully, get some answers on why his father abandoned him. While there, Kevin learns that his childhood friend Billy is the chief suspect in Roy Johnson’s murder. All the evidence points to Fuller’s guilt, but both Kevin and his father believe in Billy’s innocence. They decide to reunite to fight the courtroom battle for Billy’s life.
James Sheehan’s THE ALLIGATOR MAN (Hachette Book Group/Center Street; October 2013) is a story of corporate greed and corruption that unfolds within the four corners of a courtroom. In a review of Sheehan’s debut novel, The Mayor of Lexington Avenue,Booklist praised it as “not only a top notch legal thriller, [but] also a moving story about love, guilt, personal redemption and friendship.”  In his inimitable style, Sheehan has once again rendered a top-notch legal thriller that is also a compelling tale about love, loss, and family bonds—and just how strong those bonds can be.


My Thoughts:

Author James Sheehan must have been an incredible lawyer, never giving up, leaving nothing out, no effort too big.  At least that is how I felt after reading his newest legal thriller The Alligator Man, an engrossing novel edging into the same class as John Grisham's, but with less legal jargon.  

The Alligator Man begins with a man's late evening walk down a road bordered on either side by swampland "owned" by the alligators.  It's a clear night in this small Florida town.  No lights nor traffic on the road as the man walked it.  Then a car approaches, crosses the lane, hits the man and takes off.  The next day, a wife reports her husband missing.

The missing man (heretofore to be known as The Alligator Man) has numerous enemies.  But one man, a former employee of the missing man's company is in town.  He's lost so much...his job, his pension, his insurance, his wife, and now his home all because of the alligator man.  He has motive and opportunity and now Billy (William) Fuller is being tried for the murder of Roy Johnson (a "gazilllionaire" aka The Alligator Man), his former boss and owner of Dynatron which collapsed into bankruptcy, leaving its more than twenty thousand employees destitute.

Billy hires Kevin Wylie, a trial attorney whom he knows from his years as a teen.  Defending Billy with a somewhat hostile judge, a beautiful prosecutor, and death threats is a daunting task but Wylie leaves no stone unturned nor does Carlyle Buchanan, the "sheriff's man in Gladestown".  Fortunately for Wylie, Carlyle believes in the case and in justice and his motives are not only professional.

With an amazing, jaw-dropping twist of events as the story climaxes and the trial comes to conclusion, Sheehan hasn't finished pulling the punches.  He could have left the story there, for the reader to imagine the ending, but he doesn't.  Sheehan doesn't like loose ends, not in his written work and I suspect not as a former trial attorney.  Two to three chapters from the end, I thought the story was complete but it wasn't.  It wrapped up only after every thread was tied, every "i" dotted and every "t" crossed.  Voracity, patience and endurance are evident in his writing.  How could he have been any different in his career?  

James Sheehan preceded the publication of The Alligator Man with three legal thrillers The Mayor of Lexington Avenue, The Law of Second Chances and The Lawyer's Lawyer.  Being awed by The Alligator Man, I must now read his previous works and I know you will too once you've read The Allligator Man.



Meet the Author:


Born and raised in New York City, Sheehan moved to St. Petersburg, Florida to attend Stetson Law School and was a practicing trial attorney in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area for 30 years.  He is now the Director of the Tampa Law Center at Stetson University College of Law and is also a Visiting Professor of Law. Sheehan is the author of three acclaimed legal thrillers, the bestselling The Mayor of Lexington AvenueThe Law of Second Chances and The Lawyer’s Lawyer.  
To connect with James, visit his website,Jamessheehanauthor.com.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano


A Talent for Trouble
Author:  Jen Turano
Published:  October 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages:  352
Genre:  Historical fiction, Christian fiction
Source:  a complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Receipt thereof has no influence over this review nor my opinion.

For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife. When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change–and soon–before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?
Download an excerpt HERE.

My thoughts:

Felicia Murdock is a compassionate woman.  She gives to the poor and needy, food, clothing, kindness and her time.  She dresses in big dresses with bows and other adornments, not quite the fashion of the times but it suits her needs, temporarily, at least until the man she has set her heart upon, the local reverend, marries.  Felicia is rather devastated after four years of trying and failing to get the reverend to notice her.  

"Delightful" is no longer enough for her so she donates her old frocks and begins to dress in a manner of the times that reveals her true nature.  Felicia Murdock, at 24 is single, beautiful, adventurous, and has a penchant for trouble.  Wherever she goes, it finds her without much effort.  Her well-meaning efforts causing the need for interventions in the form of Grayson Sumner.

Grayson Sumner has a history of which he is ashamed and though he'd love to get to know Felicia better, doing so could put her in terrible danger and he has already had, on more than one occasion, to rescue her from herself.  But just being close to her is dangerous for him and for her. Though he tries to distance himself, inevitably they are drawn to each other.

A Talent for Trouble is a fun bit of a page turner with a protagonist who is feisty and funny; her wit causing more than a smirk, her adventures often evoking a chuckle from the reader.  This story transpires in a time when horse-drawn carriages occupied the streets, ladies dressed in beautiful gowns and men in suits and balls were a highly anticipated social experience.  On a more serious note, it is also a time when it's difficult to be Chinese in a western world, and opium dens occupy the seedier parts of town. Jen Turano manages to include all these factors within a flowing plot in which the balance of serious issues, the courting scene and lighthearted humour appropriately intermingle with a dramatic climax.



Meet the author: 

Jen Turano, author of A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and A Talent for Trouble, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's the Buzz - Robin Esrock Shares a Bucket List for Travelling Canada


Robin Esrock signing his book,
The Great Canadian Bucket List - One of a Kind Travel Experiences.


http://www.wordtravels.tv

http://www.canadianbucketlist.com


October 20th was a bucket list day for me as I was able to cross off an item on my bucket list. (yes, I have one.  Don't you?) I was thrilled to do so because in agreeing to go to a book launch with a friend, I really didn't know who I was going to see.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered the author doing the presentation not only looked familiar but is the co-host of one of my very favourite television travel programs, Word Travels!


ROBIN ESROCK!!!

Robin has released two books:  Word Travels and The Great Canadian Bucket List - One of a Kind Travel Experiences.  It is the latter book that Robin is promoting during his cross-country tour from BC to Ontario.  He plans to continue the book tour next year in the east including the Maritime provinces.  Both books are available at any of the venues during his speaking tour when you attend in person at the event.  Major bookstores carry The Great Canadian Bucket List while Word Travels may be purchased at Amazon.com or in person while on his tour.  If the opportunity to attend one of Robin's book launch stops comes your way, you must attend.  It was the best book launches I've attended!

"Full of adventure, humour, photos and fun facts, The Great Canadian Bucket List is the definitive list of things to do in Canada before you die." (www.canadianbucketlist.com)

Robin Esrock is a renowned travel writer who spun a successful tv series idea to a network and became a popular co-host on Word Travels along with Julia Dimon with whom he co-hosted.

Robin travelled every province and territory, gleaning experiences that you'd never have known existed in this country.  From culture, food, adventures for the adrenaline junkies, hidden gems and well-known destinations; Robin Esrock has compiled a travel guide unlike any other and the whole bucket list travel idea seems to be catching on.  Just check with your local book store and you'll find bucket list adventure ideas abound.  Few, if any though, include the humour and the personal touch that Robin infuses this must-have guide with.





Monday, November 11, 2013

Books for Soldiers



Books for Soldiers is a non-profit organization based in the States wherein soldiers register books they'd like to receive and the public registers to obtain a list from which they may select a request to fill.

If ever there were a need for an escape from reality, perhaps this is the method and the need.  If you live in the States, check out the site link below to find out how you can help.




Remembering our soldiers, wherever they may be, both past and present, on this Remembrance Day.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And the Giller Prize is Awarded to.....



.....Edmonton author Lynn Coady for her book of short stories, Hellgoing.  240 pages, published by House of Anansi Press, 2013.

With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Lynn Coady gives us eight unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last.

A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can’t seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day.

Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history. (Goodreads)



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner to be Announced Tonight!!!





Review: Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Killer Image
Author:  Wendy Tyson
Publisher: Henery Press
Published:  October 2013
Pages: 316 
Edition:  Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC)
Genre:  mystery
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC book tours which in no way influenced my opinion nor my review of this novel.


Philadelphia image consultant Allison Campbell is not your typical detective.  She’s more familiar with the rules of etiquette than the rules of evidence, prefers three-inch Manolos to comfy flats and relates to Dear Abby, not Judge Judy.
When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will.  But in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish the truth from the fa├žade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.
My thoughts:
Killer Image presents a new angle in detective fiction wherein our detective is an image consultant with an almost completed degree in psychology.  Fleshing out the character of Allison, the consultant, Tyson reveals a past that still haunts Allison.  Not that she was at fault but she would never let up on herself, thinking there had to be more she could have done for young Violet who disappeared from the treatment centre Allison worked at while doing her degree.  A few letters from Violet afterwards revealed the naivety and fear she found on the streets.  Those letters remained under Allison's bed as a reminder of why she would never again consult with children.  
Her resolve would later melt when she met Maggie, the teen-age daughter of a politician who had high aspirations and feared his daughter would ruin his chances of the White House if Allison wouldn't take her on.  Beneath the rough exterior, the indifference, the goth make-up and clothing; Allison detected a child who needed her.  Certainly her own family had failed her and Allison understood that too.
Against her own judgment, Allison agrees to work with Maggie but when Maggie becomes a suspect in a ritualistic/sadistic murder of a divorce attorney, Allison first has to prove to herself and then to the authorities Maggie's innocence.  Doing so, though, could endanger her life.
Killer Image is dark, well-plotted and character driven with an unusual twist near the end. As Tyson builds the characters, reveals secrets from their pasts, she also leaves room for future growth in a promising new Allison Campbell Mystery series of which Killer Image is the first.
If you enjoy dark mysteries, don't mind a little gore and love to get to know the characters whom you are reading about, give Killer Image a try.  

Meet the author:
Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since.  When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach – and if she can combine all four, even better.  Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.  She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm. Killer Image is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.
Connect with Wendy on her websiteTwitter, or Facebook.

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