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I am a lawyer & mother by day & a midnight writer. I just finished my first novel, a legal thriller, JUSTICE FOR SALE. More...

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Check out Kristen Lamb's Post

The talented and intuitive Kristen Lamb has penned an excellent article over on her blog - 

Lies, Denial and Buried Secrets - How to Create Dimensional Characters:


I'm posting this from my phone so I can't mange to create a hyperlink to her blog.

Lies, Denial and Buried Secrets - How to Create Dimensional Characters. 

She expounds on how we show a different side of ourself to different people and we don't do it to be deceptive . It's part of life. We all do it. We have our mom face, work face, the face or mask we show our acquaintances, neighbors, friends and then the truer face we share with our more intimate friends.

It's an interesting read and a helpful article for anyone struggling to create more believable, dimensional characters. Take a look. You'll be glad you did. 

She is also offering a second chance for writers to participate in her class: Hook Your Readers - The First Five Pages

Check out her blog now to find out more and read all about using lies and secrets to add character depth and also tension, mystery and suspense to your novel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Fixer -- Joseph Finder Explores Secrets, Corruption, Greed & Father Son Relationships

The Fixer by Joseph Finder: Finder's Latest Novel: Important to Finder that the Book be About Fathers & Sons:

The Fixer by Joseph Finder

Verdict: 5.0 Stars out of 5 Stars

Finder is one of those authors who writes fast paced books you can’t put down, but it’s a bittersweet love affair with a book that you can’t put down. You hate for it to end and the faster you read, the quicker you get to the end. Ugh, now I must wait another year for his next book — always worth the wait. Do I wish Finder’s books came out more often? Hell yea! Would I want him to sacrifice his storytelling techniques, trendy exploration of themes and taut, gripping narrative just so I could read more of him? Hell No! 

We don’t need any more James Patterson clones who put out 20 books a year (okay I exaggerate a little), all of them now “Co-authored,” by another author. Hint hint: I don’t think I’m exposing any big secret here by sharing my opinion that Patterson no longer writes his books. I’m sure its a win-win for the co-author. They write the book, do the work, but hell, who wouldn’t do that for their name in print at the front of the bookstore — yes a real live bookstore. Patterson’s co-authors benefit from the experience. The thing is, as readers, we don’t know what we are getting. When each novel is co-authored by a different author we can’t look forward to a certain writing style or the unique voice of a favorite author. 

 With Joseph Finder, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Chevy Stevens and a few others … I’ll bide my time and wait the year or more for the next book because I know I won’t be disappointed — well normally I’m not disappointed. Every author hits a low from time to time. I haven’t experienced that low or slow speed or anything remotely resembling a down hill ride with the brilliant author, Joseph Finder. The names I've linked to above will take you to my reviews of the author's novels.

The Fixer explores the lengths to which people will go to cover up mistakes, accidents or anything that might cost them money and even further lengths people will go to cover up crimes, their past and to keep things hidden.

Investigative reporter, Rick Hoffman sold out on his dream of becoming the next Woodward and Bernstein for a high paying job writing puff pieces for a Boston elite magazine. He did it for the money and glamour — sold his soul, but the cash flow and expense accounts didn’t last when the magazine cut the print edition. 

Almost out of cash and fresh from a recent breakup with his gorgeous-model fiancee, Hoffman returns to his home town and is forced to live in his father’s run down, dilapidated home that hasn't been occupied for years.  His father lives in a nursing home and hasn’t spoken a word since his stroke, eighteen years ago.  Hoffman begins renovations of the family home with the help of one time friend and neighbor and discovers large amounts of cash hidden in the walls of his father’s study, to the tune of over three million bucks.
 Where did the money come from? Before his stroke, his dad made barely enough money as a lawyer to keep his two kids in private school and the house afloat after their mother’s death.

What’s a guy to do when he finds three million bucks. 
Me, I’d probably hide the money and ask no questions, but that wouldn’t make for a very suspenseful story now would it.

 Left in the hands of the talented author who brought us Suspicion last year and the concept has all the makings for the next big thriller film. In 2002, Finder’s novel High Crimes was made into a major motion film.

Rick hides the the money, well most of it and sets out to learn where it came from. Some things are better off not known. Some things are better left buried. 

Rick, begins the novel as a somewhat superficial, egotistical, status seeking jackass who is more concerned about image than people. His former fiancee, points this out to him early on. She pegs him when she alerts him that he never loved her — only the image of her, his decorative arm piece, his trophy girlfriend. So he pockets about a hundred grand and hides the rest. After bumping into a former high school girlfriend, one he dumped because she didn’t fit into his future image, Rick drops about ten grand on new clothes then wines and dines her with the upper echelon of Boston, ordering expensive caviar dishes with ridiculous names like Beggars Purse and a four thousand dollar bottle of wine. Andrea is anything but impressed.


While Rick doesn’t garner the attention he hoped from his former flame, dropping 25K in a weekend draws the attention of just about every person Rick doesn’t need on his tail. 
It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to pick up on his new found wealth and Rick finds himself in one ass beating, near death situation after another.

“Who have you been talking to?” The thugs want to know as they crush his ribs. Hmm … not “Where is the money?”

We are taken on a 374 page ride of Rick trying to find out where the money came from and along the way, Rick learns that he never really knew his dad at all and by the end of the book, Finder has transformed the MC from a selfish, image seeker into a decent, caring man who vows to do the right thing, regardless of the costs. He is willing to risk his life to ... well I can't tell you that or it would spoil the book.

Joseph Finder is by far one of, if not the best author I’ve read in a decade. His last two stand alone novels have given us ordinary people who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances and he is the master of upping the anti at the perfect moment. Just when we begin to believe Rick is safe, wham bam his world is torn a part again. Throughout the book the character is given plenty of opportunities to leave well enough alone ... stop asking questions about The Fixer … the cash bank … and some other long buried secrets. But the investigative reporter in him can’t quit. What he learns about his father gives him the courage and drive to continue his quest for the truth.

Turns out dad had more to hide than money and his law practice involved some shady big hitters. Rick’s dad was what’s known as a Fixer, hence the title of the book. 

Corrupt? Or just the price of doing business in a big city with the big boys? We all have our own opinions, morals and ethics. We all have different backgrounds in the under-goings, under the table, behind the scene events in politics, city government, construction contracts … 

I’m from Louisiana so none of this is unbelievable in the world where I grew up. I hail from the great state of Louisiana where we having bragging rights to Huey Long and the charismatic Edwin Edwards as two of our finest governors ever. One of the more infamous quotes in Louisiana about Edwards has always been — “He may be a crook … but he’s our crook.” 

What I Liked:

 His writing is action packed, fast paced and the suspense builds and builds with perfect mini climaxes at the perfect time.

 The chapter ending cliffhangers that made it impossible for me to stop reading.

 His dialogue is real, full of subtext and never, “on the nose.”

 A lot of authors are able to keep my attention once they grab it. The last few books I read took me a while to get into , but I kept going at the insistence of others, (The Girl on the Train for example), but Finder never fails to captivate me from the beginning. He grabs you on the first page and never loses you.

 With Finder there are no sagging, drooping, dragging middle areas. Many authors could cut their pages by about 100 and get the same result. Not Jo Finder. The man doesn’t waste space and never waste our time (the readers).

His characters are believable. None of the perfect Mary Sue or super smart, too good looking, MC’s with awesome jobs and perfect families — no, we get real life people we can relate to. We’ve all had issue with our parents, regret for things left unsaid or undone or regret for things said without apology. Most of us have dealt with an aging or debilitated relative in a nursing home or assisted living and we know the guilt that accompanies those visits, lack of visits and the general thought of putting them in a home rather than caring for them ourselves. We’ve all lost a job or a fiancee or suffered heartbreak, divorce, embarrassment, humiliation, etc. His characters are made up of tiny components so real that each one of us will resonate on some level. His characters are flawed and we witness the actual character transformation. He doesn’t just tell us that Rick is a selfish … and then at the end throw in one gratuitous scene of character revelation. We watch it unfold, transpire before our eyes and it is done with such impeccable precision and timing that the author doesn't call attention to it or take away from the story’s plot. In fact the character arc enhances the plot.

 His writing is clear, concise, succinct and to the point. No purple prose here or wasted space on overly described characters or settings. If an office building looks just like any office building then it doesn't require a page and a half of fluff, but if there is something unusual or unique about a particular setting, Finder shows it to us via all the senses. He is particularly strong in this area. Using the sense of smell, taste and sound, all of which conjure up vivid images in our mind. He doesn’t rely solely on sight. I love the way he introduces new characters with a short physical description, but gives us something in their mannerisms or way of speaking that make them memorable and distinctive.

Finder's novels are always filled with plot twists and unexpected reveals. The closer you get to the end the quicker the twists funnel in. He always sets them up early in the story and the pay off is usually a whopper.

 Finder never fails to remind the reader what's at stake for the main character and what he stands to gain or lose. He puts his MC in danger, and his life is threatened — not just threatened, but the threats are acted on and the character is beaten nearly to death ( great symbolism here,) but if I discuss it I will give away one of the best secrets revealed in the book


I really don’t have any. This book does require some suspension of disbelief. I've said this a million times — you can’t write a tight, fast paced thriller or read one without the willingness to suspend disbelief. This is especially true now in the digital era. Bad guys could always find the MC or money or whatever secret, hidden item they are searching for in a matter of seconds with computer hacking, GPS devices, Phone spying software etc. But if we want to continue being entertained with thrilling novels of suspense, then we know in advance that we are expected to suspend disbelief. If not, I suggest reading memoirs and other non fiction.

After writing the draft of this review, I learned that Joseph Finder's own father died while he was writing The Fixer.

Read Amanda Orr's Full Review of The Fixer, where Joseph Finder said in a phone interview that his new suspense novel, The Fixer, is his most personal book. "My father died while I was writing it," Finder said in a phone interview. "The story started out differently than it ended up. It was important for this book to be about father and sons."

Finder discussed The Fixer, on June 10, 2015 on Murder Books

You can purchase The Fixer at Amazon.

Read more about the author, Joseph Finder on his website.

Read more of my Novel Reviews

What are you currently reading? Have you read The Fixer? If not, I highly recommend it. What books are on your summer TBR list?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Same - Sex Marriage: U.S. Supreme Court Should Rule In June 2015

Same Sex Marriage — Civil Rights Issue Finally Before the U.S. Supreme Court

Listen to excerpts from the U.S. Supreme Court Hearing.

In April, The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for several hours on what is probably the greatest civil rights issue of my time. I was not around during the 1964 Integration Act.

The Supreme Court was acutely divided over the issue. For the most part the justices will play to their role and we can predict their individual opinions.  The 5 republican justices will vote conservatively and the 4 democratic justices will consider the issue.

There is one exception and the deciding vote will likely come from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy — Republican. 

Reports from those who listened intently to argument and questions put forth by the justices give hope to gay rights activists. The New York Times reported that Kennedy’s vote is probably crucial, and that based on the tone and substance of his questions, gay right activists have reason for optimism.

Kennedy appeared to send conflicting messages: Wary of moving too fast, but his demeanor appeared emphatic when he stated that same sex couples should be permitted to marry. It should be noted that Kennedy is the author of three landmark cases that have already expanded the scope of gay rights.

Kennedy’s primary problem with same-sex marriage appeared to be whether there had been enough time for federal debate on the issue to disturb what has been considered the concept of marriage for thousands of years. He added that the “social science on this” — the value and perils of same-sex marriage — is “too new.”

Kennedy also expressed severe qualms in excluding gay couples from the sanctity of marriage. See what I mean about sending mixed signals?

For those of you who will argue, as one person did on my FB comment, that marriage should be between two people for the purpose of procreating, how do you address the desire of the elderly to marry. I’m speaking of couples who are no longer in their child bearing years. Or what about younger couples who marry after making a conscious choice not to have children?

Back to the current trending topic of same-sex marriages:

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument stemming from the ban on same sex marriages in four states, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The arguments were divided into two segments:

  1. Whether the states must allow same sex marriage. Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  2. Does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

While Justice Kennedy sits on the fence, there was nothing ambiguous about Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’S remarks. Mary L. Bonauto, a lawyer representing the rights of a plethora of same-sex couples, urged the justices to remove “the stain of unworthiness” that the ban produces. Chief Justice Roberts suggested that Bonauto was asking the court to do something progressive and unconventional. “You’re not seeking to join the institution,” he said. “You’re seeking to change what the institution is.” Chief Justice Roberts said.

Scalia, a devout Catholic won’t likely change his views on homosexuality. Scalia expressed his concern that a priest or rabbi could be sanctioned for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage. That leads to another interesting and controversial topic. It requires another blog post devoted solely to a discussion of the equal protection clause and discrimination verses freedom of religion.

Scalia is the U.S. Supreme Court Justice who taught one of my law classes on the Greek Isles. I attended a summer law program through Tulane University. Justice Scalia was one of our visiting professors. He offered the day’s instruction as we sailed on a boat to Lindos, Greece. Despite many of our differing opinions I found him to be a charming and extremely likable, approachable person.

My thoughts:
For those of you who don't know me, I am a married heterosexual. I am also a republican so many of my thoughts, opinions and passions don't jive with my political party affiliation. I am a huge supporter of gay rights and I believe that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples.

  Now for my Two Cents:

I think the decision will come down this month or maybe in July. It will be a close call with the deciding opinion riding on Justice Kennedy. I predict a win for gay rights activists and a step forward for marriage. The court will hold that if a state issues a license for opposite-sex couples to marry then they must also issue a marriage license for same-sex couples. I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

You’ve heard of splitting the baby?
 Courts often decide in favor of one side for one issue and the opposing side on the other issue. Many legal experts expect the courts to rule in favor of same-sex couples on the second issue before the court, which is whether the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples that are legally made elsewhere, hence each state must offer full faith and credit to the legal unity of another state. By answering yes to the the second issue the court can avoid answering yes to the first question. The court can reach the same outcome without the polemical mandate of requiring each state to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. Aha ... avoid backlash.

I’m not sure how they will do it or what the vote will be, but I strongly believe that the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court decision will finally afford gay and lesbian couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples.

What do you think? I’m interested in how you think the court will rule, but also if you will favor or oppose their ruling.

The consensus seems to be that the court will strike down Michigan’s court ban on same-sex marriage, but like many Americans, they remain nervous about amending a definition of marriage that has prevailed for most of recorded history. See Same-Sex Skeptics, a Scary New World.

God, I hope my dang comment section is finally working. I've experienced some stressed filled days trying to switch back to blogger, but my easiest alternative was to leave up Disqus comments and pray that blogger platform takes them. If not it might be time to finally make the WP move.

Please join in the discussion and leave your opinion.

 I would like to know your opinion on same-sex marriage.

                Do you believe that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry and be afforded all of the legal and societal benefits of marriage as opposite-sex couples?

                 Does the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause give same-sex couples the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples?

Who should decide whether same-sex couples should be permitted to marry? Should it be left up to the individual states, thus allowing some states to continue the same-sex marriage ban?

                One step further, but this is a topic for an entire blog post. Does a person’s freedom of religion trump an individual’s right to same-sex marriage?

                 I am referring to the pizza parlor that refused to cater a same-sex wedding reception.

If you own a business whether it be a wedding consulting company, photography studio, catering, florist, etc., and based on your religion you oppose same-sex weddings can you refuse to bend your moral/religious views and decline to offer services to same-sex couples?

Or can the government force you to offer services?
Are you discriminating against a protected class if you refuse?

For those of you who believe freedom of religion allows you to refuse to participate in a same-sex union, could your business also refuse to perform a service for a bi-racial wedding? A Jewish Wedding?

Holy crap, I hope the people leaving comments don’t throw bricks at me? We all have our opinions and that is what is great about our country and this blogging platform. It allows us to discuss our thoughts and opinions on social issues. I am inviting you to participate and express your opinion, but be advised I do not want any racial slurs or bigotry comments. Please tell us your views. We are all passionate about certain ideas and/or laws.

Which States Currently Allow Same-Sex Marriages?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Restore Blogger Comments

How to Restore Blogger Comments:

I hope my blog title is a tease? Or worse ... misleading!

I need your help

I am not offering a tutorial on restoring blogger comments.

I'm having a blogger crisis. Many of you may have noticed during the A to Z Blogging Challenge that I use(d) one of the most complained about comment widget. 

Many years ago, long before blogger added threaded comments as an option, I grew tired and irritated with the blogger comment system. I liked the blogs that allowed people to reply to other comments. It felt like more of a discussion. I grew tired of having to reply to all comments at the very end of the comment feed. So, being the impulsive person that I am, I jumped at the chance to add a new ... cool ... better (so I thought) comment feed to my blog. I belly-flopped onto a different platform. I replaced my blogger comments with Disqus. And, like most impulsive people, I immediately regretted my decision.

For years, I considered switching back to blogger, but I could never figure out how to make the change without losing all of my comments and I treasure all of your kind, helpful and motivating words. I continued putting it off, despite the hardship Disqus caused my readers and me.

Disqus requires readers to sign in or join disqus (create an account) before allowing you to comment on a blog. What a hassle. After reading so many complaints in the A to Z Reflection post, I see how burdensome this was to all of you. And all those hoops you jumped through to leave me a comment, didn't help me return the favor. Not at all. If I clicked on your photo, name or link it didn't take me to your blog, profile, website, Twitter page, FB page or anywhere else helpful. The link only directed me to your Disqus page. I had to search for your blog so I could return the favor. It wasn't that difficult. Not during the challenge, anyway, because I could almost always find you in the comment section of another blog.

Still, I didn't take any steps to correct my problem. I didn't know how. I tired, but couldn't figure it out.

Well, it seems good ole Disqus has remedied the situation for me and I am now forced to figure out how to return to the blogger comment platform.

A few days ago, I finally purchased my own domain. I've been meaning to do it for some time, but didn't want to create any additional hurdles during the challenge. My new URL is Melissa Sugar Writes. I tried to wait out the person who own my name dot com, but since there are two lawyers with the exact same name (weird I know), it could be a long wait. Oh they offered it up at some ridiculous price, but I passed. Plus, by adding writes to my URL, people will know that this blog is connected to my writing and not a legal blog.

A day after implementing my new domain, I received some emails from some kind readers informing me that my comment section would not permit them to leave a comment. I checked it out and sure enough ... try dat ... you can't leave comments. I assumed it had something to do with the domain name switch.

That is, until today. I stumbled upon an article that informed me that Disqus no longer works with bloggers. Thanks for the advanced warning, Disqus .... NOT!

While trying to figure out what to do, I read an article in the blogger help forums that stated, Disqus No Longer Syncs Comments with Blogger. This became effective in May of this year.

No Comment!

No Way!

That's the last message I want my blog sending.

Please ... please ... please ... I love your comments! I live for your comments. Okay, that's going overboard just a tad bit. But, can you imagine a blog without comments?

So now I am shit out of luck and desperately need advice from any of you out there who know how I can switch back to the blogger comment forum.

I welcome any advice you have to offer? Any instructions? Any links to help sites? Anything. I need my comment area back up.

I've been told that you can still leave comments on my stand alone pages, like my Book Reviews Page

You can also leave comments on these pages:
Writers Links - which you might enjoy visiting as I have listed a host of resourceful links for writers
Legal Fiction
Greatest Hits - which is sort of (temporarily) under construction

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Kind Worth Killing -- Review - With Spoiler

Murder Mystery & Mayhem:

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Title: The Kind Worth Killing
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher:  William Morrow/Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 2015
Hardcover Pages: 320 (Book Length actually 308 Pages)
ISBN -13: 978-0062267528
ISBN -10: 0062267523
Source: Purchased
Verdict: 5 out of 5
Purchase: Amazon

If you have not read this book, I suggest you read my non spoiler review of The Kind Worth Killing

I fell in love with this book and even found myself rooting for the sociopathic killer to get away with her crimes. Call me demented, I don’t know. 

Remember Patricia Highsmith’s novel, Strangers on a Train & Hitchcock’s film adaptation of the book?

The Kind Worth Killing — Strangers on a Plane

Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, is a dark psychological thriller that many readers have compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  Hmm … another train reference. If you are a fan of either of the two aforementioned novels, this one will seduce you from page one and take you on a thrilling, suspenseful, mysterious, dark ride.

Lily Kitner and Ted Severson meet in a London Airport bar and then share several more drinks on an overnight flight to Boston. Cocktails lead to the truth game. Airplane fun. You tell strangers personal details you wouldn’t even share with your shrink. Ted is a wealthy, successful businessman; Lily, a gorgeous college archivist. The more they drink the more they reveal. Ted confides that his wife, Miranda is having an affair with the contractor working on their mega mansion. The man is taking his money and fucking his wife. When Lily asks Ted what he’s gonna to do about his wife’s infidelity, Ted, replies, with a grin, that what he really wants to do is kill her. 

Lily isn’t shocked or put off. In fact, she says, “I think you should.”

I’m hooked … reel me in.

A week later they meet and Ted is surprised by Lily’s casual demeanor when they again discuss murder. But, they form a plan. A plan to kill both Miranda and her boyfriend, the handsomely rugged, contractor, Brad. But … we all know that even the best made plans never come off without a hitch.

Please do not continue if you haven’t read the book, and believe me, you want to read this book. Don’t continue if you have not read the book and you do not want it spoiled.
                             Spoiler Alert

The Kind Worth Killing is divided into three parts. 

Part one: The Rules of Airport Bars

Part one is told in first person POV, alternating chapters between Ted and Lily. From Ted’s POV we learn about his life with Miranda and how he discovered her affair with the contractor. Lily, who is obviously more skilled in the art of murder gives Brad a blueprint to follow, so to speak. His assignment is to gather information, learn the comings and goings of both Brad and Miranda.

Lily’s chapters jump back and forth from the present to her past. We learn what motivates her to kill. We learn about her college boyfriend, his former girlfriend and her discovery of the two of them cheating on her.  She promptly fixes that problem by killing the boyfriend, but doesn’t decide to seek her revenge on the girl, Faith until later. You see, Lily may be a killer, but this killer had a code of ethics. If Chet was two timing both women then Faith is as innocent as Lily, but … beware, Faith, if you were in on the scheme and knowingly deceived Lily — she will exact her revenge. 

So all the while Lily and Ted are planning Miranda and Brad’s murder … they aren’t the only characters plotting a murder. Part one ends with a twist that blew me away … I never saw it coming. Not in a million years. You see, I considered Ted & Lily both protagonists of the book or the main characters. Part one ends with (remember I warned you of spoilers), Brad kills Ted. I read the final line and screamed what the fuck is going on here. He can’t be dead. But dead he was. This ain’t no vampire book. Dead is dead. I had really been looking forward to the developing romance between Ted and Lily, but scratch that because Ted is dead. And Brad isn’t remotely bright enough to have planned this on his own. He kills Ted, while Miranda is conveniently away for a week long trip to Florida. She’s alibi tight!

Part 2:  The Half -  Finished House

More twists & turns than spinning on the Tilt -A-Whirl as a tornado rips through the park and hoist the ride into the air. I’m not going to delve into each murder, twist and revelation. Part two alternates chapters told from Miranda’s POV and Lily’s POV. Of course, one of the big reveals is that Miranda used to go by a different name and is the girl Lily’s boyfriend cheated with. 

Part 3: Hide The Bodies Well (well has a double meaning)

Enter Detective Kimball. Part three alternates between chapters told from Kimball and Lily’s first person POV. Kimball becomes quite obsessed with Lily’s beauty and takes to following her on his own time. Lily likes the detective, but she can’t leave any loose ends, so in her twisted mind, he has to die. But … wait for it … another plot twist. She is caught in the act and he doesn’t die

What I loved & Didn’t Love — Notice I didn’t Say Like or Dislike:

I didn’t like the ending and that means I was rooting for a killer to get away with murder, so that makes me what … a serial killer groupie? Not even close. This was tough for me because despite her murdering tendencies, I actually liked Lily. Up until she attempted to kill Detective Kimball, Lily felt justified in each of her killings. Each victim wronged her — hurt her — deceived her. The author is such a brilliant and talented writer that he managed to create a character who kills people, but he developed the character in such a way that while readers may not have excused her killing, we certainly could understand her motivation.

It’s not that I approve of murderers going free. Quite the opposite. As a career prosecutor, murder goes against everything I stand for, every moral bone in my body.

Another reason I rooted for Lily to win in the end is because the book is full of so many bad guys — really bad people who lack decency and any sort of moral compass. But, Lily was the only bad person who killed for a good reason, even if you and I know that there is never a good enough reason to kill. Lily views murder as ridding the world of other bad dudes. Ending the lives of people who will continue to prey upon and harm others.

Until … she attempted to take Detective Kimball’s life

But deep down, Lily has redeeming qualities. She genuinely loves and cares for her parents. She feeds stray cats. Okay, well she did kill a cat when she was a kid, but in her defense that cat was going to kill her pet cat. She truly developed feelings for Ted. In Lily’s mind, she had to avenge his death. We just aren’t aware at the time that she is killing two birds with one stone, pun intended

Compare Lily to Miranda — both killers, but polar opposites. Miranda is a gold digging, hustler who kills for financial gain when a divorce would have netted her half of her husbands multi-million dollar assets. She conned the contractor, Brad into committing the murder, all the while knowing she would leave him holding the bag. Brad would either go down alone for Ted’s murder or Miranda would have to kill him. She could care less about his children. Miranda lies, cheats and intentionally hurts people.

Another reason I think I didn’t care for the ending is that after reading Gone Girl and the litany of dark, disturbing psychological thrillers that followed, many of us have come to expect the bad guy to get away. Even before Gone Girl … how many of you rooted for Tom Ripley? Or Dexter? It’s not like in your typical who dun it or legal thriller, where we insist the bad guy get his comeuppance.

I’m in the minority on this, but I liked the ending of Gone Girl. I see no other plausible way that story could have ended.

In a Nutshell:

I loved this book. I mean, I devoured it. Unlike some of my other recent (and not too recent) favorites, such as The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, The Kind Worth Killing seized my attention from the get go and didn’t let up. This book hijacked my full attention for two days. 

However, I didn’t particularly like the ending.

Too many things were out of character for the brilliant & conniving woman who’d been plotting, killing, and getting away with murder since she was a child. Lily, never would have attempted to kill a cop, out in the open.  She could have stayed one step ahead of the detective. He didn’t have any evidence on her.  She could have used his obsession with her to her advantage. It seemed like the author needed a way to wrap up the book and I didn’t buy it.

And her biggest mistake of all … why bury Brad’s body in the well on the property adjoining her family home? Lily was too smart to have linked herself to Brad.

Okay. I didn’t like the ending, yet I’m still praising this book as possibly the best book I’ve read in years. Why? Because the author is that good. He is a master storyteller, his writing flows, and he is the Don Czar of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. 

With only two pages left, the author gives us the final twist. In a letter to Lily from her dad, we learn that the property where the bodies are buried has been sold and the bulldozing is in full swing. We are left with the vision of the police digging up bodies from Lily's personal burial site and her stint in a psychiatric facility quickly morphing into a long prison sentence.

Or … my wish … the author left the ending open ended and is planning a sequel which will be 300 + pages of Lily’s murder trial(s), where we’ll be treated to Lily using her charisma and devious plotting to charm the jury into an acquittal. Or for those of you who would rather her face the music, she might be convicted, but I know the author would have us on the edge of our seats waiting for the verdict.

What did you think of The Kind Worth Killing? You shouldn't be reading this spoiler if you haven't read it? I'm most curious to know how readers compare this book to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train? Which did you like best? Are you as into unreliable narrators right now as I am. It must be extremely difficult for a writer to do, if done correctly. This one was written perfectly.

The Kind Worth Killing - Non Spoiler Review

Murder Mystery & Mayhem:

The Kind Worth Killing by: Peter Swanson

If you have read this book, jump over to my review/analysis of The Kind Worth Killing, which includes spoilers

Title: The Kind Worth Killing
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher:  William Morrow/Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 2015
Hardcover Pages: 320 (Book Length actually 308 Pages)
ISBN -13: 978-0062267528
ISBN -10: 0062267523
Source: Purchased
Verdict: 5 out of 5
Purchase: Amazon

Remember Patricia Highsmith's novel, Strangers on a Train, and Hitchcock's film 

The Kind Worth Killing: Strangers on a Plane

Lily and Ted meet in an airport bar and share a few martinis. They end up on the same overnight flight from  London to Boston, sitting together and knocking back more drinks. Cocktails lead to a game called the truth game and the strangers share information most of us wouldn't tell our shrink. But, you know what airplane flights are like? We can be ourselves, share intimate details because we're never going to see our companion again. 

Ted confides in Lily. He tells her of his wife Miranda's infidelity. They are building a multi - million dollar home near Boston. He will do anything for Miranda. Anything, that is ... until he discovers she is having an affair with Brad, the ruggedly handsome contractor. Ain't that a kick in the face. The man is taking his money and banging his wife.

Lily asks Ted what he intends to do about it and he playfully says, he'd like to kill her. Expecting shock from Lily, he doesn't get it. Instead she replies, "I think you should." A plot is hatched to kill Miranda. As we all know, nothing planned ever comes off without a hitch.

It is far too difficult to truly review this book without giving anything away and if you have not read it, you should read it and you need to read it without any spoilers. You won't be able to experience the depth of the cat and mouse chase, the chess game like story of murder, double crossings, and neurotic roller coaster dips and turns. 

If you've read the book, you can read my thorough review, including spoilers, here

The plot of this dark, suspenseful, psychological thriller is being compared to Strangers on A train.

Many people are comparing this novel to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. All three novels are narrated by more than one unreliable narrator. I loved Gone Girl and the Girl on the Train, but I have to admit starting both novels and putting them down before the end of the second chapter. Not so with The Kind Worth Killing. I finally forged ahead in the other two novels after repeated and insistent requests from writers and readers I admire. I'm glad I did because both Gone Girl and the Girl on the Train, finally picked up the pace and mesmerized me.

I didn't have that problem with The Kind Worth Killing. It grabbed me on page one and never let up. There are more unexpected plot twists than you can imagine. each plot twist manages to out do the other, with the exception of the mid point plot twist, which I never saw coming. It knocked me over the head and on my ass.

The Kind Worth Killing in told in 3 Parts. The first Part, The Rules of Airport Bars, switches back and forth between first person POV chapters narrated by Ted and Lily. The Second Part, adds a third narrator, Ted's Wife Miranda and the third and final part introduces a fourth narrator, Detective Kimball. Sadly, I cannot even go into the characterization of any of the characters because even that would give away too much of this expertly plotted novel.

Peter Swanson is a master of plot twists and surprise endings. Even those who are avid crime fiction readers will be surprised and shocked by many of the plot twists and reveals. I wish I could go into more, but doing so would deprive you of the thrilling ride this novel will take you on. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries, novels of suspense, thrillers or any crime fiction. If you like trying to figure out who the villain is ... this is your kind of book. If you like it even more when you guess wrong and the author continues shaking things up until the very last page, you will absolutely love this book. If you enjoy playing chess or solving impossible puzzles and mysteries, you must read this book.