Six Years by Harlan Coben

Six yearsSix Years

By Harlan Coben

Dutton, 2013, 368 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0525953487

Reviewed by PJ Nunn

Some books are enticing because the characters seem to come alive on the page. If you close your eyes you can almost hear their voices. Other books tickle your senses, making it seem as if you can feel the hint of rain on your face, or catch the scent of the ocean on the breeze. These are all characteristics of a good book.

When I picked up this book, it wasn’t the first I’d read by Harlan Coben and I wasn’t surprised that the first line immediately captured my attention. It read:

I sat in the back pew and watched the only woman I would ever love marry another man.

There’s heartbreak waiting to happen. I kept reading. Jake Fisher might be anyone. He could easily have been a friend of mine from college. And who among us can’t relate to a lost love? That’s not to say his story is universal, it’s quite unique. But there are enough commonalities for any of us to relate to him in his quest to find the girl he’ll always love.

Like pretty much everything he writes, Harlan didn’t slack off on this one. It’s really good, but about half way through it gets better. That indefinable essence that pulls the reader in and shifts into high gear comes into play. Suddenly I was questioning everything. Did harlanthat really happen? Did Jake really see that? Or is he hallucinating? Who’s telling the truth? The circumstances had become so vivid it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t.

I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say too much. Suffice it to say that Six Years is unquestionably one of the best books I’ve read in a while. If you like suspense and riddles; if you like to be engaged by lifelike characters and a story that never moves in a straight line, then you’ll want to read this one. Really.

An interview with Heather L. Reid

ReidHeather is a new acquaintance of mine, but I believe we’ll be seeing a lot more of her work in the future, especially as the YA and NA markets are expanding so much these days. Enjoy!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

HR: I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. At the age of four I started dictating stories to my mother who would illustrate them for me. By the age of nine, I was writing plays for friends and binding my own picture books with cardboard and string.  At eleven I tried my hand at a first novel. (No, you can’t read it. It’s buried in a deep dark hole somewhere in the Tasmanian Outback and guarded by a three-headed dingo.) It was then I told my parents I wanted to be published by the age of sixteen. I also told them I wanted to be Wonder Woman, a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, a Broadway star, and an archaeologist. Those dreams faded. I never did get that invisible jet, and I would be a lot older than sixteen before I got a publishing deal, but the dream of being a writer stayed with me. After college I decided to stop dreaming and start getting serious. I joined the Society of Children’s book Writers and Illustrators, joined a writer’s group, read books on writing, went to conferences, workshops, and most importantly, I started writing every day. Some of it was crap. Ok, at first, a lot of it was crap, but writing takes work. After over twelve years of studying and writing, my first young adult novel, Pretty Dark Nothing, sold in a two book deal to Month9Books. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m still learning. I write because I have to. It’s a part of what makes me, me.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

HR: When my debut sold in a two book deal. That’s the day I could finally call myself a professional writer and had reached my goal to be published.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

HR: Since this is my debut and it doesn’t release until April 23rd, I’m not sure what my income will be. Ask me next year once Pretty Dark Nothing has been out for a while.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

HR: My focus has always been to tell the best story I can. That hasn’t changed at all. What has changed by getting published is my confidence.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

HR: I’ve been writing for most of my life and been serious about it since about 1995, so technically it’s taken me seventeen years! That being said, there were several years that I didn’t query or work towards publishing. If I count up the actual time I was working on Pretty Dark Nothing, including drafting and two major revisions, it took about four years altogether. It’s been a long journey, but totally worth it.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

HR: No. I have no regrets and am happy where I am in my life right now.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

HR: I plan my week in advance, taking certain days to work on marketing and other days to write. It’s a balance and you do have to be flexible. Sometimes the day doesn’t go according to plan and that’s ok as long as the work gets done. You also have to be able to multi-task and know which things are priority and which things you can wait on.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

HR: So far, it’s seeing the cover for Pretty Dark Nothing for the first time. That was AMAZING!PettyDarkNothing

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

HR: Several years ago, I had a one to one critique with an editor from one of the big six for Pretty Dark Nothing. She read the first 30 pages and wrote me a glowing letter, asking me for the full manuscript. We talked for an hour about the story and she seemed really excited about the project. I sent the full manuscript and waited, and waited, and waited for a reply. Nine months later I received a nice personal rejection stating that she was sorry it took so long to make a decision, but in the end she was going to pass. I admit that I was crushed and put the manuscript away for nearly five years. I almost gave up entirely, but everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t trade my publisher now for anything in the world. I’m exactly where I want to be.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

HR:  Pretty Dark Nothing is full of demons, and I don’t mean the hot fallen angel, bad boy types. These demons are the evil, hairy, sulphurous kind, bent on manipulating and destroying Quinn’s life. Throw in some romantic sparks with a psychic amnesic, an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite get over, and suspension from the cheerleading squad for failing grades, all while the demons are pushing her to the brink of madness, and I hope it’s a recipe for something darkly paranormal and not quite typical.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

HR: Be patient. Writing is a process and the best way to learn is by doing. Also, finding your voice, your process, is about trial and error. Try different techniques, but don’t be afraid to adapt them and make them your own.

Don’t give up. If you are passionate about writing, if you are willing to work and grow in the craft, if you are ready to listen to constructive criticism and strive to improve, if you can’t imagine doing anything else, then don’t give up on your dream. It might take months or years to get published, but it’s worth it.

Everyone’s journey is different; don’t compare yours to someone else’s and don’t put other people’s choices down. You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself. Keep learning, keep striving and remember those who help you along the way. Don’t get caught up in trends, social networking, or platform building. A writer writes first and foremost. That’s the most important thing, everything else is secondary.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

HR: I love Goodreads. I think it’s important to connect with other readers as a reader and Goodreads is the perfect tool for that. It allows me to make friends and talk books, which I love. I don’t like screaming ‘buy my book’, it’s not me. I prefer to forge relationships and if people are interested in my book, great, and if not, that’s ok too. Twitter and Facebook are great too, but again, I prefer to be more personal and not make everything about me or my book.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

HR: Outright self-promotion is hard for me. I don’t like spammers and I don’t want to come across as that type of author, you know the ones who tweet links or reviews of their books every two minutes. I use social media to be social, so I’m out of my comfort zone posting stuff about my book. I do it, but I try to strike a balance and make sure it’s not all I do. Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I have a book coming out, but I’m much more than just those two things and it’s important to me to connect with readers and other writers on a more personal level.

Where can we buy it?

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble

 

Heather, thank you for taking time to share with us! Folks, she’s a debut author who’s worked long and hard to get here. And she’s good! So if you like reading this type of book, please spread the word and pick up a copy! Happy reading!

Promotion That Has Worked for Me by Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith

Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith

My first book came out in 1982 long before most folks had computers and there was no such thing as the Internet. I had no idea that I should be promoting my book or if I had, how to go about it. The publishing company (and it was one of the biggies at the time) sent me a few complimentary books and I gave them away. I arranged my one and only book signing at a local bookstore and had a nice crowd. Being the only published author around, I received some good newspaper publicity.

Since that time, and about 34 books later, not only have things changed drastically, but I’ve learned a lot about promotion and tried just about everything anyone suggested. I started out sending flyers about new books with tear-off order blanks to all my friends and relatives. I may have sold enough books to pay for the postage.

I’ve given many, many talks at libraries—something I still like to do. When the economy took a dive, people still came to hear what I had to say, but fewer bought books. I’ve given talks at Rotary Clubs, other service and women’s organizations, fun and sometimes quite successful.

I’ve had booths at book fairs and craft fairs and done well at both. One thing I’ve learned, is that you must engage people as they are strolling past. Ask them to come take a look at your books, or in my case, I often ask if they like mysteries. Once you can start telling a bit about each of your books, they are far more likely to purchase a book than if you don’t put yourself out a little. Believe me, I’ve seen authors at book fairs sit in a chair and read and never look up even when someone is perusing their book.

I’ve had book launches in all sorts of interesting places: art galleries, our local inn, a new-age recreation center, my home, and several at a used bookstore.

Of course, now we have the computer and the Internet and there are all sorts of places that we can promote our books for free. I love Facebook for many reasons. It is a great place to promote books, make new friends, keep up with the old ones and find out what is going on with my family. I’ve promoted books that have just come out, new posts on my own blog, and my stops on blog tours.

That brings me to one of my favorite promotions, blog tours. I’ve paid blog companies to arrange them for me but finally realized I could do tours myself and find more logical blogs to visit. It is a lot of work from beginning to end if you do it right. You need to contact the blogs you want to visit, find out what they’d like you to write (you want to have something different on every post), arrange the schedule, take the time to write the posts and send everything along that is needed: the post, a .jpg of your cover, one of you, a blurb about the book, your bio, and links. You need to remind the host the day before the post is to appear and you have to promote the post when it does. It’s important to visit the blog and respond to everyone who comments. There are glitches, but that’s a whole other subject.

Do blog tours result in sales? Yes, though not huge sales I’ve read about from other authors—but I love doing them. I usually offer a prize to get people to follow along. I never give away the book I’m promoting, because I’m hoping for sales, but I do give away earlier books in a series. But the most popular prize is always having the winners name used for a character in the next book.

In fact, I love blogging. Why? I think mainly because I’m a writer and I love to write. What do I write about? All sorts of things: my books, what I’m doing, my family, book reviews, movies, and I love hosting other authors. http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

I do Tweet, but not the way some people do. I use Twitter to promote new blog posts, my blog tours and my appearances. I don’t have enough time for more because I’m writing two books a year.

DAngerousImpulses,NewCoverThe latest, Dangerous Impulses written as F. M. Meredith. An attractive new-hire captivates Officer Gordon Butler, Officer Felix Zachary’s wife is befuddled by her new baby, Ryan and Barbara Strickland receive unsettling news, while the bloody murder of a mother and her son and an unidentified drug that sickens teenaged partiers jolts the Rocky Bluff P.D.

http://www.amazon.com/Dagerous-Impulses-Rocky-Bluff-Volume/dp/1610090608/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364492508&sr=8-1&keywords=Dangerous+Impulses+by+F.+M.+Meredith

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Sound of Broken GlassThe Sound of Broken Glass

Deborah Crombie

William Morrow, 2013, 368 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0061990632

Reviewed by Patricia E. ReidDeborah Crombie

A seedy hotel in the Crystal Palace district of London is the scene of the murder of Vincent Arnott, a well-respected barrister.  Detective Inspector Gemma Jones is called to the scene, accompanied by newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot.  It appears that the victim arrived at the hotel alone but let someone in through the fire door once he was in the hotel.   The victim was found naked and apparently strangled.

The officers visit the Arnott home to inform Mrs. Arnott and find that she is suffering from dementia and, evidently, her husband has been doing his best to care for her at home.  It is difficult for Mrs. Arnott to begin to understand what the police officers are attempting to tell her.  Mrs. Arnott can’t offer any information that would help the officers in their investigation due to her condition.

Arnott was at a local pub prior to going to the hotel.  The guitar player at the pub, Andy Monahan, was involved in an argument that evening. Arnott had supposedly had words with Monahan,  as well.  It turns out that Duncan, Gemma’s husband, had previously dealt  with Monahan in an earlier case.  Because of Duncan’s earlier acquaintance with Andy, he helps a bit with the investigation even though he is not authorized to do so.  Before Gemma and her assistant can get too far into the investigation another barrister is found murdered and the circumstances are much like the Arnott murder. The only difference being the second victim was found in his home not at a hotel.

Gemma’s husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is off work at home caring for the couple’s three year-old foster daughter.  Their daughter has been having a hard time adjusting and Gemma and Duncan have taken turns using leave in order to stay home and care for the girl.  Duncan’s leave is about to run out and he is investigating a new school for Caroline.  While he is checking into possibilities for Caroline, he finds yet another connection to Andy Monahan.

The past plays a large part in the present happenings and it takes awhile for Gemma and her crew to finally uncover the entire story and find the killer.  The conclusion took me completely by surprise.  I enjoyed “The Sound of Broken Glass” and would recommend the book.

An interview with Tess Collins

Tess Collins LCC 2004I first met Tess Collins more years ago than I’m going to say and I’m delighted that she’s got a new book coming out next month! If you’re not familiar with Tess and her work, I hope you’ll take time to read this and that you’ll hurry to buy Notown when it hits the market!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

TC: I was recently looking through a baby book that my mother kept of my first few years and one of the most frequently quoted phrases that I used was “let’s pretend”. She said I would make elaborate stories for me and my brother where I was the princess and a monster was after us, then I’d make a magic circle for our protection.  So how long have I been a writer—well, at least since then.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

TC: Not sure writers ever feel successful. It’s always a “oh God, what am I going to do next.”

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

TC: If I were to look at the person I was when I started pursuing publishing, then I would say, I expected to have a life which was focused on writing that became more of a life writing when I can, promoting as much as I can.  But it is what it is.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

TC: (loud, hysterical laughter)

PJ: =) Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

TC: I suppose at one point I had to choose between writing to the market and writing the stories I wanted to tell. If I chose one, I’d likely be publishing a book a year and making loads of money, but art won out.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

TC: I spent about ten years in writing classes learning craft.  Had one book that I sent out a gazillion times that no agent wanted, so wrote another which got an agent within a few months and sold a few weeks later to a major NYC publisher. Goes to show that it is a crap shoot.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

TC: I’ve lots track of time so often that I don’t even know how to answer that question. I’ve tried making schedules—I’ll write this day; promote that day. It never works. It’s all a mishmash of doing multi-tasking and hoping everything gets done.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

TC: It hasn’t happened yet, but in my mind, I play it over and over as: the time I met John Irving.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

TC: That I haven’t met John Irving yet.

PJ: Ok, John – it’s time! What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

TC: The best was having two kids buy my book for their mother and that I’d gone to high school with their mom.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

TC: I think you can only write the best book you know how to write.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

TC: Don’t give up.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

TC: I’m a very introverted person, so being in public takes a lot out of me. I have to float in a blacked out floatation tank after a particular people filled day.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

TC: The Law of RevengeNotownCover

The Law of the Dead

The Law of Betrayal

How Theater Managers Manage (non-fiction)

Helen of Troy

Notown

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

TC: A day in the life of a woman who decides to kill her second husband.

Where can we buy it?

TC: Amazon, Barnes and Noble; most online booksellers

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

TC: I’m a closet MMA fan.

Thanks Tess! All right you guys, let’s get to shopping and reading, enjoy!

Holy Smoke by Frederick Ramsay

Holy SmokeHoly Smoke

A Jerusalem Mystery

Frederick Ramsay

Poisoned Pen Press, 2013, 250 Pages

ISBN No. 978-1464200922

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

Ramsay’s latest novel takes the reader to Jerusalem in the year 29 C. E.  A badly scorched body is discovered behind the veil of the Holy of Holies.  The Holy of Holies is the Temple‘s inner sanctum and a sacred place for the Jews.  Only the High Priest may enter and only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

The body is discovered when a cord is sticking out from the veil of the Holy of Holies.  It had been discussed that a cord should be tied around the high priest’s ankle when he entered on the Day of Atonement but this had never been put into practice.  The first item of concern is how to get the body or whatever is attached to the cord out from behind the veil.  This is finally accomplished and the body attached to the cord is unrecognizable due to severe burns.

Gamaliel, the Rabban of the Sanhedrin is the ranking rabbi in all of Judea.  Gamaliel is drawn into solving this mystery but before he reaches a conclusion, another burnt body is found. This time the body is in a shop and not the temple.  Gamaliel gets Loukas, the physician, to join him in trying to figure out whose body was burned and left in the Temple and why.

It is no big surprise to find out that the murders are a part of a war beginning between the countries that supply hul gil to the shops in Jerusalem.  Hul gil is opium derived from the poppy and some of the opium is much more potent than other varieties.  Gamaliel and Frederick-RamsayLoukas are followed and narrowly escape injury as they seek out answers.

The author has served on the University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty and is an ordained Episcopal priest. Ramsay has written a number of books.  “Holy Smoke” is the third in a trilogy set in Jerusalem.

On the home front – happy birthday to my son

Dave coming home from dialysis

Dave coming home from dialysis

I think it’s probably been too long since I’ve taken a minute to update those of you who’ve been so supportive of my son Dave Jr throughout his illness and recovery. Today’s his 34th birthday and a real reason for us to celebrate as so many of his doctors never thought he’d live this long!

For those of you who don’t know, he’s been diabetic since he was 8, but didn’t control it well during his rebellious teen years and as he grew older, he began to suffer the consequences. In 2007 he moved back home because he kept getting sick to the degree that he was having trouble keeping a job. In 2010, he was in the hospital 7 times, but they couldn’t track the root of the problem. On January 3, 2011 I had to call an ambulance because he was so sick he could no longer stand. They soon discovered he had a staph infection that caused him to go septic. During the next few weeks his kidneys failed, they had to remove his teeth because the infection had lodged in his jawbone and he underwent 15 + surgeries trying to clear the infection from his right kneecap before they finally had to amputate his right leg above the knee. For all of us, it was a nightmare of gigantic proportions and there were many times my husband and I were called to come to the hospital because they didn’t expect him to survive the night.

But fighter that he is, he hung on and just kept breathing. He was released into a specialty rehab hospital in April and came home in May. He was still on so many medications that he could hardly be considered alert and had a hard time participating in the physical therapy he needed to get his muscles functioning again. Little by little, though, he began to recover.

Last November, he had a low blood sugar episode that caused another ER visit. He’d apparently been low so long it was hard to revive him. They had to intubate him, then sedate him to keep him from pulling out the tube. When he was awakened from the sedation the next day, he couldn’t remember anything later than 2009. They told us that was not unusual and did all the routine tests to rule out a stroke or other cause. As there was no obvious cause, they presumed his memory would return. Still, the major problem with that was that he didn’t remember the amputation and kept trying to get up and walk, then he’d panic in finding his leg gone and several times fell and hit his head, requiring yet another CT scan to be sure no further damage had been done.

His short term memory seemed to reset whenever he slept, so if we visited, then he took a nap, he didn’t recall that we’d been there. But gradually it began to get better. He was released into a short term rehab facility in December and made great strides there. He still had a lot of things that he didn’t remember but his short term memory was much better and he didn’t have to keep reliving the loss of his leg, which was a huge relief to all of us.

His medicaid funding for the rehab ran out and he came home in February. We were all glad to have him back home, but he soon realized that the home PT wasn’t giving him any progress at all toward getting well enough to get a prosthetic leg, so we talked to a social worker and found another nearby rehab facility to take him in for 6 weeks. He was both apprehensive and excited about going and we took him on the appointed day. Unfortunately, a mistake with his medications that night caused him to arrive at dialysis the next morning unconscious. Once again he was taken to the ER and once again he awoke with no memory of the last several years.

He’s been back in the rehab facility for several weeks and is again making progress in regaining his memory, but it’s been much slower

Dave, Caleb, Josh and Jake at Jake's wedding May 2012

Dave, Caleb, Josh and Jake at Jake’s wedding May 2012

this time and we’re making arrangements to bring him back home. No parent should ever have to go through something like this, but I’m thankful nonetheless. I’ve seen the things he’s had to endure and I honestly don’t know if I could’ve faced them with the same courage and determination that he’s shown. I’m so proud of my son, and of my family and friends for the way they’ve stood by him throughout this ordeal.

I want to thank those of you who have been so kind. Some of you have met him over the years, either when he attended Cluefest with me or when he helped us with one of the Criminal Pursuits conferences. He’s always telling his nurses about the “famous” authors his mom works for (he thinks you’re all famous =) and how he likes to listen to the audio books some of you have written (he also developed glaucoma along the way and can’t read anymore). Those of you who sent cards he still has them in a box of treasures that he keeps.

So on his 34th birthday, I wanted to tell you how he’s doing and to say thank you again for supporting him and for supporting me. I really appreciate you!

An interview with L.M. Preston

LM PrestonLM Preston is a recent acquaintance of mine. She’s extremely talented and writes YA novels with a compelling and captivating voice!  She’s also incredibly nice and works hard to help other authors get noticed in the NA and YA realm. Get to know her, please!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

LM: I’d been writing since I was 12 yrs old, then life happened at 21 yrs old and I stopped writing until just 7 yrs ago.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LM: When someone I didn’t know purchased my first book. I know that’s not much to some people but I felt honored to have just one person who doesn’t know me read and enjoy my stories.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LM: The writing life is not what I expected. I have to do more than write. I have to write, promote, be social, and constantly improve my art. Not to mention, because of writing I’ve met some amazing people that I would never have met had I not been writing.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LM: Ha! The starving artist is more like it. I never did it for money. However, I did start turning a profit about 3 yrs ago, which is good for any business. Also, I do believe I’m wealthy, with love and support from people who never knew me before they experienced my stories.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LM: Nothing. Mistakes are great teachers. Everything I have learned on this journey of writing has made me rich beyond the books I’ve written.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

LM: Meeting LA Banks! Oh my gosh, she was an amazing inspiration to me and a beautiful spirit. I would’ve never, ever had the chance to meet her face to face had I not been a writer and had a really good excuse to invite her to meet me in DC :-D

Purgatory_Reign_cover0012

Purgatory Reign by LM Preston
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance, Action Adventure

Book Trailer Linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atvKA9E4bPI&feature=youtu.be

Read samplehttp://www.freado.com/book/13273/purgatory-reign

Release Dates:
eBook (March 2013)
Print (May 2013)

Pre-Order:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Purgatory-Reign-Series/dp/0985025131/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344012202&sr=8-1&keywords=purgatory+reign+by+lm+preston

B&Nhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/purgatory-reign-l-m-preston/1112078542?ean=9780985025137

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/285543

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15815030-purgatory-reign?ac=1

There was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

There was an Old WomanThere Was an Old Woman

by Hallie Ephron

ISBN: 978-0-06-211760-1

A William Morrow April 2013 release

304 pages

Reviewed by Carl Brookins

I could hardly put it down. Creepy, tension filled, elegantly crafted, filled with emotional turmoil and characters that seem to rise from the pages and sit beside you while you read. Not a mystery in the usual sense, not a novel of slam-bang adventure with bodies dropping on every other page. This elegantly crafted novel demonstrates a mastery of story-telling, of how to feed tidbits of information to the reader in a way that not only keeps one glued to the book, but step-by-step raises gut-wrenching questions of life and death and reality.

Somehow, Ephron has plumbed the dark recesses of the mind of an elderly woman named Mina Yetner. Independent still at ninety-one, and living in a small New York City neighborhood on the edge of a salt marsh, she’s sound of mind if physically frail and she’s determined to live out her life as she has always done, to the very end. Mina is a wonderful fresh character and readers shouldn’t be surprised if her voice comes, unbidden to mind while they turn the pages.

In this time of aging baby boomers, of rising concerns about privacy, rampant mortgage offers, retail development, and uncertain government, here is a universal crime novel that should be read by just about everybody on the planet.