Tag Archives: crime fiction

Terri Blackstock’s Downfall is a Touching Story of Redemption with a Crime Drama Twist

Who wants Emily dead?  How does an old Alfred Hitchcock movie figure in as a clue? 

Newly released for March 2012 is Downfall, by Terri Blackstock, which is the final installment in her Intervention series . However, it also reads as a stand-alone novel. In fact, I had not read the first two books myself and was not the least bit lost while reading Downfall. In this series, Blackstock takes on the tough topic of drug addiction, one that hits really close in her own family life.

Downfall character Emily Covington has turned her life around after being rehabilitated for a drug addiction. However, her family still watches her every move and misjudges her actions as they try to make sure she isn’t slipping back into using drugs again. She is enrolled in college and staying sober. When a car bomb almost explodes her car one morning, everyone immediately wonders if it is drug related. Her mother’s police officer boyfriend promises he will monitor the case, but as he is distracted by another murder, Emily decides to take on some of the case herself, which puts her life in danger as the cases may be related. She wants to know who wants to kill her and if someone else is also in danger!

Blackstock’s opening pace is right on target, giving separate small glimpses between a mystery criminal called The Avenger, a seemingly unrelated murder (until she finds out it is someone she knows!), and Emily’s life while it is again at the point of unraveling. As a reader, I wanted to know the tie-in between all the scenarios and that kept me reading to the end.

Though Downfall is a novel of suspense, I think once you get halfway through the book, the suspense becomes a lighter focus and the book concentrates more on Emily’s redemption within herself, her life, and her family. It is very touching and though I don’t have experience with substance abuse, I think anyone who has had it grip their lives will relate to this book.

However, in general, it is also a poignant read and gives other readers insight into addiction, recovery, redemption, and God’s grace.  Putting the addiction theme to the side for the moment, it is a page turning mystery for suspense readers looking for a novel for a single evening or weekend read. Both reasons will keep you reading it through to the finish.

To read more about Downfall, as well as the first two novels of the Intervention series, click on this link to Terri’s website:  http://www.terriblackstock.com/books/adult-fiction-books/the-intervention-series/.

You can also find more about Terri and her work at www.terriblackstock.com.

Author biography, Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Her most recent book, Vicious Cycle, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, as did Intervention, the first book in the Intervention Series. Intervention was also a 2010 Carol Award Winner. The series deals with the subject of drug abuse and its impact on families. Other reader favorites include her books Predator and Double Minds, as well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series. In September, Shadow in Serenity will release. Her next Intervention Novel, Downfall, will release in February 2012.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

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New Crime Novel with Paranormal Twist: Lis Wiehl and Pete Nelson

It seems everyone has always loved a good crime and/or mystery novel, right? The current reading trend has paranormal romance and supernatural horror also flying off the shelves. This new novel I’m reviewing, Waking Hours:  An East Salem Novel by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson, couples both genres together into a fiction novel of suspense that will leave you hanging at the very end and wanting more.

Former NFL player Tommy Gunderson, turned Private Investigator-in-Training, and Dani Harris, psychologist working for the District Attorney’s office, take on a shocking murder case of a teenage girl. With the murder stemming from a local high school party, it seems odd that none of the other party attendees seem to be able to remember what happened that night.

Tommy and Dani were once Homecoming King and Queen, but things were left unspoken and they haven’t seen each other since. When they meet again on this case, both are unsure of each other’s feelings.  As this case draws them closer, they both discover supernatural elements occurring all around them. For instance, why does Dani awake every night at 2:13 a.m.? Why are her dreams so apocalyptic? And why does Tommy feel like he is being watched at certain times? What incomprehensible forces are at work in this town?

The novel does a great job intertwining crime with a mystic story line. The paranormal element will leave you spooked and wanting to know more. It was an easy read, yet I found myself not really getting interested until about Chapter 19, almost halfway through the book. At that point the crime, and the paranormal elements, got much more interesting. Though the author took time to introduce the characters, I felt it wasn’t fast paced enough for me, or maybe in relation to other books I’ve read recently. However, many people might love the book the way it is and I try to realize that sometimes authors take it slow to build up suspense. The later half of the book was pretty decent and a quick read. The ending saved the book for me, as I finally started to get spooked, began to wonder about the supernatural occurences, and saw the proverbial fight against good and evil come in to play.  The theme of the heavenly versus the demonic always interests me and it’s why I love some of these Christian books that Thomas Nelson publishes. I am extremely intrigued now to read the second novel, as this book totally left a huge cliffhanger regarding the events happening in the town of East Salem.  I’ll want to read the second novel due to this. It would be an easy entertaining read for you to settle in with and might spook you a little if you aren’t used to reading horror or paranormal already.

I am not a huge fan of Fox News, who Lis Wiehl works for, and do not endorse her or the show or their statements, but the book was purely an entertaining read and she seems to have been able to use some of her former prosecutor skills to pen the crime scenes. Wiehl has another crime fiction series published with another supporting author as well, but I haven’t read any of those to compare this too.

Here is the Book Jacket Synopsis of Waking Hours: An East Salem Novel~

All towns have secrets. Some have demons.  Welcome to East Salem. A deceptively sleepy town where ancient supernatural forces are being awakened.  A local high-school girl is found murdered in a park amid horse farms and wealthy homes of northern Westchester County, New York. The shocking manner of her death confounds the town and intrigues forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris, who is determined to unravel the mystery. All the suspects are teenagers who were at a party with the girl–yet none remembers what happened. Could one of them be a vicious killer? Or is something more sinister afoot–something tied to an ancient evil?

But it’s not just her waking hours that challenge Dani. Each night, her eyes open at 2:13 due to troubling dreams. Dreams filled with blood, water, and destruction. Is it a clue–or a supernatural sign?

Across town, former NFL linebacker Tommy Gunderson finds his state-of-the-art security system has been breached by an elderly woman. Mumbling threats in Latin, she attacks him with an uncanny, preternatural strength. Before he has time to process the attack, someone close to him is implicated in the girl’s murder at the park. He agrees to help–and finds himself working with Dani, the only girl who could resist his charms years ago when they were in high school.

A heavy darkness is spreading. Yet a heavenly force is also at workIt will take astute analysis and forensic skills to solve the crime. But Dani and Tommy suspect there’s more the mystery than murder, more to their growing friendship than chance… and more to the evil they’re facing than a mere human killer.

Waking Hours is available as of Oct. 3, 2011.

You can learn more about Lis Wiehl at www.liswiehlbooks.com.  Pete Nelson is an established and acclaimed author. He lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York.

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I was sent this book from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of their BookSneeze Book for Bloggers program. The statements are totally my own opinions and they only asked that I give an honest review in return for the book.

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