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MY SISTER’S GRAVE: A Legal Thriller ~Robert Dugoni

“’There is nothing so dangerous as a maxim’. –C.J.May   Some Rules of Evidence: Reasonable Doubt in Civil and Criminal Cases (1876)” (Location 49% of uncorrected proof)

The most important part of MY SISTER’S GRAVE for me was the story about how a disappearance and murder affects a family and a whole community.  The relationship between sisters and the after affects upon the remaining child, are examined from a different perspective and demonstrate that manipulations do not produce the loving truth or freedom from danger.  Those secrets drive a good story and often produce an even scarier scenario – the melodramatic conclusion of the story just kept me glued to the very last drop in the bucket.

I do not have a book cover for this book, so I will share MY SISTER’S GRAVE description from Amazon:
Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.

TLC Booktours   sent me an unproofed, uncorrected e-copy of this book for review.  I appreciated the read very much and enjoyed reading MY SISTER’S GRAVE

Here is the Author’s Biography from Amazon:

“Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed and New York Times–bestselling author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction. Murder One was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for literary excellence. Dugoni is also the author of the bestselling standalone novel Damage Control, and his nonfiction exposé, The Cyanide Canary, was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year selection. Dugoni’s books have been likened to Scott Turow and Nelson DeMille, and he has been hailed as “the undisputed king of the legal thriller” by The Providence Journal.”

The final copy of the book has just been released and the words of praise are mounting up for this suspenseful book – just like the snow in the North Cascades on the final pages. It takes place in a fictional town in Washington State and it is always fun to know the territories and the qualities of the communities being described and experienced.

I had a bit of trouble with the story at the beginning, whereas THE FIXER took place in Washington State, it was highlighting sexual abuse particularly of foster children and our incredible Children’s Justice Center and responsibilities.  I felt this story was confusing at the start (maybe because of the spelling errors with an unproofed copy) but I could not find the life flow – the value – within the story except by the attacking the victim behavior, which was very unenlightened and protective of the sexual perpetrator.  Tracy, the family survivor, was under nearly constant attack and threat for her life, her work, and even her community. She is a scientist and needs to know and search for true answers.  I just had to stop for half a day and take a deep breath; I had to be angry about the abuse heaped on our President, upon myself, the constant jibs and jabs at the lead character and the profound loneliness of trying to survive in that environment and stay true to the self and values.   There was an element where all the female victims were to blame for their tragedy, which became overwhelming.  I had to drag myself back to reading this book and finally cheer the truth creating a real freedom and release – a moment of loving sex also benefited this tale – oh! To be believed and supported.

 Robert Dugoni Online

Related:
The Fixer
The Condor Song
The Highest Tide
The Contractors 

THE VINEYARD: A Novel ~Michael Hurley

“Dory was rich.  Stunningly rich. Although she thought of herself as someone just like everyone else, there was no one quite like Dory.  She lived her life as though everything were possible.” (Page 9)

“Michael Hurley holds a degree in English Education from the University of Maryland and a law degree from St. Louis University.  He is admitted to the bar in Texas and North Carolina.   His debut novel The Prodigal (2013) won the Chanticleer Grand Prize and was shortlisted for several other literary awards. After more than thirty years in trial practice, Michael retried in 2014 to write, sail, and pursue the secret of life fulltime.  He lives near Charleston, South Carolina, and keeps up with readers at www.mchurley.com “ (from the inside cover)

From the jacket:

“Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  As they come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher, known only as ‘the fisherman,’ threatens to change everything they believe about their worlds – and each other.”
“…a complex and ambitious, allegorical tale of old money, young passion and ancient mystery in a classic New England seaside village.”

I truly enjoy reading this romantic story / almost saga (can 3 months of summer be a saga?) and the problems the characters endure and muddle through.   This story was so well written it was just a get lost and enjoy the flow of the words on each page.  The premise was interesting too and I always love sailing stories, including water details, islands and the private culture developed by the isolation.  I had one day to read the 375 pages and then I was off to enjoy the beach myself.  The Biblical allegory was a bit blatant for my taste, but then I think many people do not know the stories these days so maybe that will not bother other readers.  I definitely felt I was relating to the Southern Christian experience and it made me laugh a couple of times in remembrance of my experience of these religious notions and how the people I encountered were not even aware that their deep down thinking was not very Global in its capacity – they often chock it up to superiority when it is a mask for fear.

The three women in the story were a hoot to read about until I watched what was going on in our country during this last election cycle.  The characters had a realness which was frightening and insulting and made me think about the 1% boys and girls who will be in control of the country – inherited wealth and no Global thinking.  Although Dory was caring and loving towards her friends, in personal crisis she was downright scary; this is a person in control and setting the standards?  In crisis she was an airhead and queen of the bling, who was very kind and generous to her friends.   Women as sexy manipulators – whew we are stuck in the religious mold again – let’s all go shopping;  I sent my pup jumping off my lap as I burst into a knee slapping happy dance!

The Ivy League produces three more who are really cupcakes to tradition and unable to see the big picture and in reality just want the same old same old of the wealthy cults.  A few clever moments thrown in to balance the boat and keep the keel balanced.  I just relaxed and let go of my cares.

Fabulous escape reading and I am sure the ‘30 some things’ of the world will make this a best seller.  That has left a rather bitter aftertaste in my sphere; we don’t know what we don’t know!

TLC Book Tours  – I enjoyed this read I think I would have liked the family saga about the timber industry in the Northwest a bit better – location, location, location.  Oh how the young are blinded by money and create a strange reality.

Related:
A Breast Cancer Alphabet 
Becalmed
The Hourglass
Accidents of Marriage

GLIMPSING HEAVEN: The Stories and Science of Life After Death ~Judy Bachrach

“It’s a tough thing to reexamine previous beliefs and lay oneself open to completely different conclusions.  For myself, I happen to know that all too well.
“Because, I realize as I write this book, I have spent almost my entire life being wrong.  And sometimes you can reconcile what you think now with what you thought before.  But in this instance, you cannot.”  (Page 185)

Judy Bachrach is a professional journalist with a long and distinguished career, who was a volunteer in a Hospice program for many years.  She believed that when we die we are gone, there is nothing more, until she began collecting stories from folks who had died and come back to life. They carried with them memories of a different life; she began interviewing the death travelers.

GLIMSPING HEAVEN is a compellation of six years of interviews and diligent research with top medical researchers, professionals and those who have experienced living after death.  Many of the death travelers are silent about their journey because so many individuals believe they are judged to be mentally ill, but when they do share their memories, “These memories are in many instances both verifiable and chillingly accurate.” (Promotion material)

I feel it is a privilege to have been asked by TCL Book Tours   and National Geographic Books to read and review this book.  Thank you for this opportunity.

The writing style in GLIMPSING HEAVEN is quite lovely and it is a gentle reveal and pursuit.  Bachrach has interviewed worldwide experts on death traveler memories and then numerous personal stories of folks who have experienced life after death.    The reader is amazed at all the new information, discoveries, and the sheer number of people who share this experience since the invention of CPR.

The reader will be diving into their belief systems and asking the questions: What do I believe about death and beyond?  What does my belief inform me about living my life?

I expect a level of excellence when I see NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC is involved and I was not disappointed at all with this terrific read and exploration adventure.

From the promotional material about the author:

“JUDY BACHRACH is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine.  She is a longtime journalist whose early career was spent at The Washington Post, as after which she became an on-air television critic for Maryland Public Broadcasting, film critic for WRC-TV, critic for NPR’s All Things Considered and a political columnist for The Washington Star.  Bachrach has covered notable figures such as Amanda Knox, Lou Dobbs, attorney General John Ashcroft, Stephen Hawking, Nigella Lawson, one time Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sheryl Crow, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie of Monaco and others.  She is the author of TINA AND HARRY COME TO AMERICA (the biography of Vanity Fair and New Yorker’s editor Tina Brown and her husband, Harry Evans: August 2001.  Bachrach founded thecheckonline.org in 2008; the first online advice column for the terminally ill and their friends and relatives based on her years of experience as a hospice volunteer in Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy.  She graduated from Chatham College, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  She lives in Washington D.C.

Judy Bachrach Twitter 
Judy Bachrach LinkedIn 

Related Reading:
Sting and Bones
The Forever Man 
The Most Important Day of Your Life
When Women Were Birds

THE LAST CONCEPTION: a Novel ~Gabriel Constans

THE LAST CONCEPTION is about all the ways we conceive and add to our biological heritage. The story takes us through 34 year old Savarna’s journey to discover a partner, answer her family’s needs, continue the blood lines of an ancient Indian spiritualist’s and her family’s lineage, and tell them she is a Lesbian. The interesting part of Savarna’s life is that she is an embryologist and environmentalist and these aspects are a big part of the story.

Entering her life is Charlemagne (Charley) who helps Savarna think through the possibilities and undertake the risks necessary to evaluate her dilemma and find solutions. They transition into supportive partners, which allows Savarna to come out to her traditional parents who emigrated from India. When her mother has a heart attack the family begins to relax their standards and be open to Savarna producing a child which would preserve the family bloodline as Savarna is the only family member remaining who can conceive. There is a visit from Grandmother from Southern India, and Savarna also makes a trip to her Grandmother’s home.

So many of those personal discussions which people find hard to navigate are covered in this story and it becomes refreshing to discover what ideas may be conceived. Very interesting premise and worthy discussion found here.

I had a bit of trouble getting attached to the story and the “secret” seemed rather confusing. I had promised the author to stick with the story for review and the writing began to flow with fluency about a quarter of the way. It was an old story with some technological advantages and parents who were willing to embrace their children’s American lives. I enjoyed the read and thought there was realness to the conversations.

Gabriel Constans is an author, journalist, screenwriter and trauma counselor. Gabriel’s fiction includes Buddha’s Wife, Saint Catherine’s Baby, and Rwandan Folk Tales. Gabriel is closely associated with the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, The Ihangane Project (both In Rwanda), and Building for Generations (which works in Tanzania and Peru).

Gabriel Constans’ Website 
Gabriel Constans’ Blog
Gabriel Constans’ Facebook 

Related:

The Moonlight Palace 
Imaginary Life 
The Clover House
Losing Touch