Author: Gregg Bell
Age Group: New Adult/Adult
Genre: Drama, Suspense, Romance
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Published by: Thriveco, Inc.
Pages: Approx. 200
Copy Provided by: Author
My Goodreads Review Link
Jamie Thompson is the perfect person. Her CEO father has made sure of that. She has the perfect manners, a perfect tennis backhand and a perfect life. Jamie has a silver spoon in her mouth—and she’s gagging on it.
She has to get away.
She’s come up with the perfect plan. A friend in a west Texas border town has lined up an accounting job for her, but when Jamie gets there the job has fallen through. But there’s a waitress position open at a bar and grill. The one thing Jamie knows is she isn’t going back to her father, and so, broke, sixteen hundred miles from home and alone for the first time in her life, she goes for it.
What she finds is a world of gun-toting cowboys, Mexican drug gangs, the occult and a string of brutal rapes and murders. And Ricky Benson, a flame-throwing baseball pitcher, fallen from grace, who she falls head over heels in love with.
But the violence escalates. A fellow waitress is murdered, and Jamie feels like she might be next. Then Ricky Benson is accused of murder.
Jamie can make one phone call and her father will send the company jet for her—or she can stay and face the life that confronts her and fight for the man she loves.
Reviewers Note: I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
4 Solid Stars!
After A Rocky Beginning, This Read Picks Up And Takes Flight With A Great Story That Kept Me Reading To The Very End!
I thought about how I wanted to do this review and because I feel different about the first half of the book than I do the second half, I decided to divide my review into two parts.
The First Half of the Book...
I had a hard time getting into this one. It was a bit slow and I just couldn’t connect with the characters.
Its starts out with our twenty-one year old heroine, Jamie, leaving the security of her home and family to travel sixteen hundred miles across the country to get some distance from her overbearing and controlling father. He’s woven himself so intricately into her life, she’s literally suffocating. He’s mapped out her future to take over the family company and she’s wants this as well but he’s stepped in and thwarted any independence she might achieve by using his influence to sway people away from her. So she’s decided to move from the big cities of Illinois to a small, backwater town in Texas, hoping to gain some distance, freedom and a bit of time away so she can perhaps go back one day with a fresh perspective.
Her father, however, doesn’t want to let go that easily and the worse part is, he’s firmly implanted his voice so deep into her psyche, she hears his opinion in her head regarding every decision or move she makes, every person she encounters and every situation that arises. Jamie really needed that distance. When we first meet her, she has a very naive view of the world she lives in. After she moves to Texas, its not to long into her stay before she’s concerning herself with a situation she’s very ill equipped to manage. I didn’t care for Jamie in the beginning. I felt her personality lacked the maturity she needed for her age, which was probably intentional on the authors part because of the sheltered existence she’d had up until that point.
On Jamie’s first day at the bar she’s working waitress at, she sees a handsome man walk in who instantly gains her attention. Ricky is a derelict who fuels the local gossip mill of their small town and right from the start, people warn Jamie to stay away or caution her to be very wary of his secrets and womanizing ways. Ricky is a partier, he’s a flirt and he doesn’t have much ambition because of past circumstances, but upon meeting Jamie, he soon decides he wants to turn himself around. But then tragedy strikes his life once more and Ricky is caught in the middle of a murder charge.
I liked Ricky’s character. He seemed genuine and he wanted to change his daubaching ways after meeting “the one”. My biggest complaint is this book was presented to me as an angsty-romance story and with little emotional connection to the characters, I didn’t see very much romance between these two before everything goes horribly wrong, yet somehow they still manage to find deep feelings for one another and confess the “I Love You’s”. It seemed like something was skipped over for us the reader, during their time together.
I think the main problem was, I just couldn’t connect with Jamie or Ricky emotionally. There wasn’t any real characters development to grasp on to. I wanted more from them so I could see myself in their shoes and that wasn’t there for me. I also really hated Jamie always thinking about “what her father would do or say”, even though it was part of her development. It was just always there, in everything she did.
The Second Half of the Book...
Now, heres where my review changes dramatically and my rating increases!
Suddenly things start to happen very quickly after page 100. Ricky find himself in a terrible situation and Jamie is left scraping to hold the pieces of her life together.
Illegal immigrants, jobbing at prostitutes, are being murdered throughout the story and no one is stepping in to investigate the situation. The small town they are living in is corrupt and steeped in lore and superstition. Without giving too much away, the pace of the story picks up considerably, there’s emotional situations to grasp onto, there was lots of angst and heartbreak and I could finally see some character development as well as growth starting to happen. The author makes use of shorter chapters, switching narrative POV’s between characters to make for a quicker, more suspenseful and exciting read. Whereas I struggled a bit with reading the first half, I absolutely couldn’t put the book down during the second half.
Jamie is determined to see her man exonerated from the murder charges he’s been accused of. Her entire character changed during this situation. She became a more indepth, more mature character and I loved how she stood beside Ricky the whole way through. Ricky’s character depressed me to no end at this point, but thats a good thing! It means I finally connected with him and was cheering in his corner. I wanted things to work out for him and for his and Jamie’s future.
And that ending! Wow, just out of nowhere, when you think things can’t get any more suspenseful or strange or heartbreaking, they do and in spectacular fashion.
The Wrap Up:
Overall, looking back at this read in full, I really enjoyed it. I think the pacing could have been picked up in the first half and there could have been more romance between the two mains but the second half more than made up for it. I hate how this book ended, but I also loved it. The choices these characters made, the little bit of mystic added to make you think and the overall story itself was just a well written, great read. This author did a wonderful job with this novel and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his work.
NOTE TO THE AUTHOR: Thank you, Mr. Gregg Bell, for the chance to read and review.
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