Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Death On Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother (Book Review)

Book Review

Death On Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother
Publisher: Citadel Press
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: Paperback - 368 pages
               Audiobook: 12 Hours 11 Minutes
               Kindle: 2180 KB
               Nook: 2 MB
ISBN: 978-0806540894
ASIN (Audiobook): B08Y6317W3
ASIN (Kindle): B08F2W7V49
BNID: 978-0806540900
Genre: True Crime

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Bestselling author Caitlin Rother explores the mysterious death of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau, who was found hanging from a second-story balcony of her multimillionaire boyfriend's San Diego mansion in 2011. She was naked and gagged, with her ankles tied and hands bound behind her. On the door to her bedroom investigators found a hand-written message: "SHE SAVED HIM, CAN YOU SAVE HER." The death was deemed a suicide, but Rother reveals there's more to the story...

"I got a girl, hung herself in the guest house."

The call came on the morning of July 13, 2011, from the historic Spreckels Mansion, a lavish beachfront property in Coronado, California, owned by pharmaceutical tycoon and multimillionaire Jonah Shacknai. When authorities arrived, they found the naked body of Jonah's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, gagged, her ankles tied and her wrists bound behind her. Jonah's brother, Adam, claimed to have found Rebecca hanging by a rope from the second-floor balcony. On a bedroom door in black paint were the cryptic words: SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER.

Was this scrawled message a suicide note or a killer's taunt? Rebecca's death came two days after Jonah's six-year-old son, Max, took a devastating fall while in Rebecca's care. Authorities deemed Rebecca's death a suicide resulting from her guilt. But who would stage either a suicide or a murder in such a bizarre, elaborate way?

Award-winning investigative journalist Caitlin Rother weaves stunning new details into a personal yet objective examination of the sensational case. She explores its many layers-including the civil suit in which a jury found Adam Shacknai responsible for Rebecca's death, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department bombshell decision to reconfirm its original findings. As compelling as it is troubling, this controversial real-life mystery is a classic American tragedy that evokes the same haunting fascination as the JonBenet Ramsey and O.J. Simpson cases. 

Book Trailer:

My Book Review:

In her latest novel, Death On Ocean Boulevard, investigative journalist / author Caitlin Rother takes the reader behind the scenes of a riveting true crime story for an in depth look at a highly publicized mystery death case set in picturesque Coronado, California.

On July 13, 2011, thirty-two year old Rebecca Zahau's naked body was found bound, gagged, and hanging from the second-story balcony of her multimillionaire boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai's San Diego mansion by his brother, Adam Shacknai. What ensues is an intricate and multi-layered story of Rebecca's mysterious death, an inept investigative process, and the ongoing suicide-murder debate that continues to befuddle the public for the past ten years since her death. 

Death On Ocean Boulevard is a riveting story that easily draws the reader in from the start, keeping them captivated as the author weaves a thoroughly intriguing and intricate recounting of a highly publicized true crime case. I remember seeing this case profiled on the NBC Dateline investigative / mystery show, so when I saw that the author was writing an in depth true crime novel based on this case, it peaked my interest and I knew that I had to read it.

You can't help but get drawn into this complicated, fascinating, and multi-layered story, it is a gripping account into the mysterious death of Rebecca Zahau, and whether her death was a suicide or a murder. The author provides the reader with a fascinating and richly detailed and in depth look into the back stories and lives of each participant; an extensive research of the shoddy investigative, legal and financial aspects of the case. 

After an extensive and determined investigation into this case, the reader follows the author's accounting of a haunting tale of one woman's tragic and senseless death, and the ongoing pursuit of her family to change the cause of death from suicide to undetermined, with the hope to reopen the investigation focused on a criminal case. In addition, the reader is also provided with information of Jonah Shacknai's six year old son Max's tragic accidental death while under the care of Rebecca two days before Rebecca's death, and the speculation that both deaths are either a coincidence or could be connected. 

The author provides an impartial account of the mysterious death, while leaving it up to the reader to form their own opinion on whether Rebecca's death was a suicide or a murder. After reading both sides of the suicide-murder debate, I found myself waffling back and forth on this debate, and I fear that this conundrum will never be resolved. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I loved the author's vivid description of Coronado's history, and the landmarks on this picturesque peninsula locale along the San Diego Bay. 

Death On Ocean Boulevard is a gripping and haunting account of a tragic and mysterious death that is a must read for all true crime fans.


About The Author

New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 14 books, ranging from narrative non-fiction crime to mystery and memoir. Her newest book is DEATH ON OCEAN BOULEVARD: Inside the Coronado Mansion Case (April 27, 2021). Her backlist includes HUNTING CHARLES MANSON; SECRETS, LIES, AND SHOELACES; LOVE GONE WRONG; DEAD RECKONING; THEN NO ONE CAN HAVE HER; I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU; NAKED ADDICTION; POISONED LOVE; BODY PARTS; TWISTED TRIANGLE; LOST GIRLS; WHERE HOPE BEGINS and MY LIFE, DELETED

A Pulitzer Prize nominee, Rother worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 19 years before quitting the news biz in 2006 to write books full-time. Her journalism has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Daily Beast. She has done more than 200 appearances as a crime commentator on TV, radio and podcasts, ranging from "20/20," "People Magazine Investigates," "Nancy Grace," and "Crime Watch Daily," to shows on HLN, Oxygen Network, Investigation Discovery, C-SPAN, XM Radio and PBS affiliates. She also works as a writing-research-promotions coach and consultant.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Night Fall by author Nancy Mehl!

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl
Book 1: The Quantico Files Series
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Format: Hardcover - 329 pages
               Paperback: 336 pages
               Audiobook: 9 Hours 25 Minutes
               Kindle: 4261 KB / 333 pages
               Nook: 3 MB / 336 pages
ISBN (HC): 978-0764238185
ISBN (PB): 978-0764237638
ASIN (Audiobook): B08ZGG7LSL
ASIN (Kindle): B08CJ7TP4N
BNID: 978-1493429899
Genre: Suspense

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: The Quantico Files Series
Book 1: Night Fall
Book 2: Dead Fall (Publication Date: November 2, 2021)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours. 

Book Description:

Now that Alexandra “Alex” Donavan is finally free of her troubled upbringing, she’s able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Kansas and Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains traveling across the country–all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case while battling her own weaknesses, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Killer.

Book Excerpt:

Four murders. Only a week or two between each one, and they all look random. Nothing about the victims is similar—as if our UNSUB is selecting whoever is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Three men, one woman. Two Caucasian, one Black, and one Hispanic. Three of them younger, one in his seventies. All the bodies were discovered on trains and were stabbed multiple times.”

They could hear him take a deep breath before going on. “Unusual tags on the outside of the boxcars. Something like Bible verses, but we’ve searched several Bible apps to find them, and they’re not in any version we could locate. We’re not sure what the UNSUB is trying to tell us. He signed his work, but we have no idea what the initials TM mean. His name? Or something else?”

There was a slight pause. “I’m sending you some photos of the tags right now, along with everything else we’ve got, which isn’t much. We don’t have any real evidence. This guy is careful . . . and smart. At this point, we’re not in charge. He is. Have your team look over this information before they get here, okay? I’ll expect them at the command post in the morning. We’re setting it up now. Does that work for you?”

“They’ll be there, Stephen. Talk to you soon.”

The call done, Jeff turned on his laptop and pulled up the information Barstow had just emailed. He sent the file to a large screen on the wall and began slowly clicking through the photos.

In mere seconds, Alex felt like all the blood in her body had frozen, as if time itself had come to a halt. Her mind couldn’t seem to process what she was seeing.

How could this be happening?


Excerpt from Night Fall by Nancy Mehl. Copyright 2021 by Bethany House Publishers. Reproduced with permission from Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Night Fall, the first book in The Quantico Files Series, author Nancy Mehl transports the reader to Kansas City and Wichita for an intriguing suspense story that will keep the reader guessing and turning the pages.

Author Nancy Mehl weaves a slow-building and suspenseful tale written in the third person narrative that follows FBI Special Agents Alex Donovan and Logan Hart on their investigative mission to find a serial killer who calls himself The Train Man after an eery nursery rhyme, and who is determined to fulfill a prophesy on the world by releasing a strain of the Ebola virus airborne that would make Covid-19, H1N1, and MRSA look like mild colds. Alex and Logan are part of an elite team who are determined to bring the killer to justice before the prophesy of releasing the virus airborne is fulfilled and spreads out into the world.

I loved reading this slow-building and action-packed story. Alex and Logan kept me intrigued as their investigation takes on a dangerous cat-n-mouse game with a psychotic killer who is determined to fulfill the deadly prophecy. The reader will be easily drawn into this well written story that alternates between Alex and Logan's investigation, with that of the killer's clever and well thought out plan to fulfill the prophecy, it's a race against time that is like a game of chess. 

The story's richly descriptive plot will keep the readers guessing as secrets, possible motives, and clues are uncovered during the investigation. And to add to the intensity of the cat-n-mouse game, Alex's traumatic past is brought to the surface, and she struggles to keep her PTSD in control as it is intertwined with the killer's shared upbringing and plan of destruction. The reader will definitely be kept guessing, as the chilling twists and turns and surprising conclusion will leave them simply stunned. I look forward to reading Dead Fall, the second book in The Quantico Files Series.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how eerie this story is considering what our world has been going through with the Covid-19 pandemic. While the story was written possibly before and during this pandemic, it does make you wonder what if ... hmmm ... 

Night Fall has enough drama, tension, action, dark secrets, and unexpected twists and turns that will take the reader on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.


About The Author

Nancy Mehl is the author of more than 40 books and a Christy Award and Carol Award finalist as well as the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year award. Her short story, Chasing Shadows, was in the USA Today bestselling Summer of Suspense anthology. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson.

Contest Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nancy Mehl. There will be three (3) winners (U.S. addresses only) for this tour. ONE Grand Prize winner will receive: ONE (1) physical copy of Night Fall, ONE (1) $10 Gift Card; and ONE (1) physical book set of the Kaely Quinn Profiler series (including Mind Games, Fire Storm, and Dead End). Additionally, TWO (2) winners will each receive ONE (1) physical copy of Night Fall. The giveaway begins on April 19, 2021 and ends on May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour Event

Tour Participants:

04/19 Review @ The Book Review Crew

04/20 Review @ Geaux Get Lit

04/20 Review @ Savings in seconds

04/22 Review @ Nikki H. Roses Book Reviews

04/22 Review @ Splashes of Joy

04/23 Review @ Novels Alive

04/23 Review @ The Bookwyrm

04/24 Review @ Jane Pettit Reviews

04/25 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

04/26 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

04/27 Review @ Kritters Ramblings

04/28 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

04/29 Review @ Nesies Place

04/30 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews

04/30 Review @ Spookys Maze Of Books

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Deadening by Kerry Peresta (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Deadening by author Kerry Peresta!

Book Review

The Deadening by Kerry Peresta
Book 1: Olivia Callahan Suspense Series
Publisher: Level Best Books 
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Format: Paperback - 310 pages
               Kindle - 3893 KB 
               Nook - 7 MB
ISBN: 978-1953789358
BNID: 978-1953789365
Genre: Psychological Suspense

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Olivia Callahan's quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why.

Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces, and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked.

Could she really have been that person?

And if so, does she want her old life back?


“A gripping read populated by likable characters. Peresta draws us into a colorful detailed world and makes us care what happens to the people living in it. We root for Olivia as she struggles to regain her memory, her bearings, and the identity she lost long before her injury. Excellent!”
– Susan Crawford, Internationally bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow.

“The Deadening is a captivating psychological suspense novel that will have you holding your breath with each turn of the page. Peresta has created a world chock-full of characters who are dynamic and unforgettable, for better or worse. Hold onto your seat.”
– Clay Stafford, bestselling author and founder of Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference

Book Excerpt:


The stiff bristles of the brush grew coppery as he scrubbed back and forth, back and forth. Wrinkling his nose at the smell, he groped for the mask he’d bought, looped it over his head, and snugged it into place.

He dipped the brush in the red-tinged solution in a blue, plastic bowl beside him on the floor, and continued scrubbing. Fifteen minutes later, he emptied the bowl down the toilet and shoved everything he’d used into a trash bag. He fought to staunch the bile creeping up his windpipe, but his throat constricted and he gagged. After retching into the sink, he turned on the faucet and splashed water on his face. Paused to take deep breaths. He could do this. He had to do this. He gripped the edge of the counter and stared out the bathroom window.

She’d not told anyone. Thank God for that. No one could know. No one would ever know. He’d make sure.

He walked to his garage, opened his car trunk, tossed in the latest trash bag. His hands felt icy. He rubbed them together, wiggled his fingers, and slammed the trunk shut.

Admittedly, her terror had excited him. Confusion. Dawning realization in her expression. His lips curved upward into a smile, then disintegrated. Reliving it didn’t change anything. He needed to move forward.

He returned and studied the carpet. In spite of his efforts, the stain still needed work. He cursed, dropped to his knees, and pounded the dampness with a fist.

Through a veil of fatigue, he watched in horror as the kidney-shaped stain stood and pointed an accusatory finger at him. He blinked, hard. Was he hallucinating? How long had he been without sleep? He crabbed backwards, leaned against the wall, pulled his knees to his chest and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them some moments later, the blood-apparition had disappeared.

He groaned.

He stared at the ceiling until his brain spit out a solution.

The problem lay in the other room. That’s how he looked at her now.

A problem to solve.

He rose from the floor and walked out.

His eyes slid from her pale face, down her form, to her feet. He no longer thought of her as warm, soft, desirable. She had been so scared…eyes wide and unblinking as she fell. He shook his head and pushed the image away.

Nesting her in towels so her blood wouldn’t pool on the couch, her bronze-sandaled feet with their shiny, pink toenails hung over the edge. He looked away. “Get a grip, man. Just do it.”

The towels fell away when he picked her up. He wound them back around her, careful to tuck in the edges. His heartbeat slammed his ribs.

She was fragile, a little bit of a thing, like a bird. He drew his index finger across her lips. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “If you had just…if you had only…” His voice trailed away. Jaw clenched, he carried her to his car.

Chapter One

Nathan ambled along sidewalks that wound through the manicured hospital grounds, fishing in his pocket for a lighter. He lit the cigarette dangling from his lips and inhaled deeply, his smile saturated with nicotine’s unholy bliss.

“Thank God,” he mumbled around the cigarette, and withdrew it from his lips, stretching. He glanced over his shoulder at the brightly lit ER entrance to Mercy Hospital, rubbing his neck. He rolled his shoulders, inhaled several deep drags from the cigarette, dropped it, and ground it beneath his shoe. “These night shifts are killing me.” He groaned and gazed at the sky. Clouds hid a full moon. He’d been grateful to get the med tech job, but after two months of bodily fluid testing and storage, he was bored. He needed a challenge.

Nathan followed his typical route through the hedged lawn, almost on auto-pilot, so when he stumbled and sprawled onto the grass face-first, he was stunned. What had tripped him? Cursing softly, he explored his cheeks, nose, forehead. No damage done that he could tell. “Klutz,” he berated himself, pushing up to hands and knees.

Something soft and warm lay beneath his palms. His breathing sped up. He looked down, but it was too dark to see. Trembling, his fingers inched their way to lips, nose, eyes, stiff knots of hair. His mouth dropped in horror. The clouds obligingly slid off the moon and revealed a woman’s body, her hair blood-matted, her face ghostly white. The grass around her head was rusty with blood. He edged his head toward her lips to check her breathing. Shallow, but at least she was alive.

He scrambled to his feet, fighting nausea and staring at his palms, sticky with the woman’s blood. Shrieking for help, he raced into the hospital and skidded to a stop in front of the desk. The ER nurses behind the reception desk squinted at him like he was deranged.

“Possible head injury!” He flailed an arm at the entrance. “Someone, anyone, come quick!”

A male nurse and two aides followed him outside, shoes pounding the sidewalk at full gallop. The tech stopped, turned, and signaled them to tread carefully as they parted ways with the sidewalk and navigated the shrubbery in the dark. Single file, panting, they tiptoed through the shadows until the tech raised a palm for them to stop.

“Here,” he hissed at the nurse, and held a point like a bird dog.

The nurse dropped to the ground and clicked a flashlight on. “Ohmigosh,” he whispered. He lifted the woman’s thin, pale wrist and glanced at his watch. Satisfied that she had a pulse, he slapped the flashlight into Nathan’s bloodied palm. “Stay with her!” He rushed inside.

Within minutes, looky-loos poured from the ER and clustered around the limp form.

“Move back!” Nathan stretched out his arms like a cop directing traffic. “She’s barely breathing!” His glanced nervously at the ER entrance.

The crowd didn’t yield an inch. The ER doors whooshed open. A stretcher clattered down the sidewalk and onto the dew-damp grass. Chills shivered up the tech’s spine as the ashen pallor of death climbed from the woman’s neck to her face. He dropped to the ground and picked up her hand. The paramedic team drew closer, their flashlights piercing the darkness with slivers of light. The crowd eased apart to let them through.

Nathan bent closer to the woman, and whispered, “Hang in there. Help is on the way.”

The stretcher slid to a stop beside him. The paramedics dropped to their knees, stabilized the woman’s head with a brace, staunched the bleeding, and wrapped the wound. They eased her onto the stretcher and rumbled away. The aides shared nervous smiles of relief. They looked at Nathan, then followed the paramedic team back inside.

Nathan, his heartbeat finally slowing, called, “Thanks for the assist, guys!” as they walked away.

The crowd dispersed with curious glances at Nathan, who watched until the group disappeared behind the ER’s double glass doors. He heaved a sigh of relief and swiped perspiration off his forehead. He patted his scrubs pocket for a cigarette, reconsidered, and trotted toward the ER entrance.

After the automatic doors parted, he jogged past two closed-door exam rooms and paused at a third, wide open. He looked inside.

The paramedics shared their observations with the ER doctor on call as he deftly explored the woman’s wounds. When he finished, he nodded, barked instructions, and pointed at the bed. In seconds, the woman’s transfer from stretcher to bed was complete. One of the nurses whisked a blood pressure cuff around her arm. Another hooked an IV bag to a chrome stand, pierced the skin on the back of the woman’s hand, slid in a needle, and taped it down.

The tech stepped back from the door to allow the paramedics to exit. Holding his breath, he stole into the room and crept past a floor-to-ceiling supply cabinet. He planted both palms onto the smooth, white walls behind him and inched sideways, melting into the corner next to a shelf holding tongue depressors, a box of plastic gloves, and a sanitizer dispenser.

“Pulse one-fifteen.” The nurse studied the blood pressure cuff. “Blood pressure eight-five over fifty.”

“Need a trach,” the doctor barked. “She’s bleeding out. Get some O neg in here.”

A blur of motion, two nurses and the ER doctor huddled around the woman’s body. When they stepped back, a laryngoscope, an endotracheal tube, and four sticky electric nodes leading to a cardiac monitor had been secured.

The medical team stilled, their eyes riveted to the monitors. The nurses wore sage green scrubs. Both had pink stethoscopes around their necks. The ER doctor had on a crisp, white jacket with his name scripted in black on the pocket. Nathan fidgeted and stuck his head out from the corner a little to focus on the screens.

The readings sputtered, stalled, plummeted.

“Code Blue!” The doctor spun around. A nurse jumped to the wall and slapped a flat, white square on the wall.

“Code Blue!” echoed through the ER’s intercom system. Frantic footsteps in the hall. Shouted instructions. Clanging metal. Squealing wheels. Nathan squeezed farther into the corner as the cart bearing life-saving electronic shock equipment exploded through the door.

“Brain must be swelling,” the doctor mumbled. He grabbed two paddles and swiped them together. “Clear!”

The woman’s body jolted. The doctor’s head jerked to the cardiac monitor. Flat.

“Clear!” He placed the paddles on the woman’s chest.

Her frail torso arced. The machine blipped an erratic cadence, then droned a steady hum.

The doctor cursed. “Clear!”

Another jolt. The monitor surged, sagged, then settled into a reassuring metronome blip. Tense faces relaxed. Applause spattered around the room.

The doctor blew out a long breath. “Okay, people, good job.” He smiled.

Within minutes, more lines snaked from the woman’s form. An orogastric tube drooped from the corner of her mouth, behind the intubation tube. A lead to measure brain waves clung to her forehead. The doctor studied each monitor in turn. Nathan let out the breath he’d been holding, slid down the wall into a crouch, and balanced on the balls of his feet.

“Any additional instructions, Doctor Bradford?” Brows raised, the nurse waited.

He rubbed his head thoughtfully. “Think she’s stable for now. CAT scan already ordered?”

She nodded. “Of course.”

“Tell them to expedite.” He cocked his head at the woman. “May be a long night. Watch her closely.” The doctor strode to the door, paused, and turned. He glanced at the tech huddled in the corner. “Good job, son.”

Nathan grinned and rose from his crouch, his chest puffed out a little. He’d never saved a life before. After a sympathetic glance at Mercy Hospital’s latest Jane Doe, he returned to the lab.


Excerpt from The Deadening by Kerry Peresta. Copyright 2021 by Kerry Peresta. Reproduced with permission from Kerry Peresta. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In The Deadening, the first book in the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series, author Kerry Peresta weaves a suspenseful tale that follows the challenges that Olivia Callahan faces as she puts the pieces of her life back together after a traumatic assault.

Olivia is found with a serious head injury by a med tech on the grounds of Mercy Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Comatose, blind, with a traumatic brain injury, and paralyzed, Olivia doesn't have any identification on her, and is classified as a Jane Doe, until her nurse sees a missing person report on the television six days later. Olivia is considered Mercy's Miracle when she regains consciousness and begins the journey of recovering, but she doesn't have any memory of her past. Olivia is determined to reclaim her life, but as her memories return via triggers that prompt flashbacks, Olivia is surprised by the way she had lived in the past, and with the help of Richmond Detective Hunter Faraday, they are determined to find the person behind the assault, and deal with the tangled web of deceit from her past that surfaces along the way. 

Author Kerry Peresta weaves an intriguing and suspenseful tale set in the alternating locales of Richmond, Virginia, and Glyndon, Maryland, that follows Olivia Callahan on her quest to reclaim her life after a vicious assault left her with a traumatic brain injury, and no memory of her past. You can't help but get drawn into Olivia's story as she gives a realistic depiction of the challenges she faced as she puts her life back together. 

Told in the present time and interwoven with flashbacks to her past, the reader gets to know Olivia as her memories return via triggers. Olivia is no longer the person she used to be, and with the help of Detective Faraday, she wants to find the person who caused the assault, and move on with her life. 

The story has a great mixture of drama and suspense that keeps the reader engaged and guessing what will become of Olivia's quest to reclaim her life, and how she resolves the tangled web of deceit from her past. Olivia's journey is filled with grit, emotions, family drama, deceit, heartbreak, and realistic trials and tribulations, you can't help but cheer Olivia on as she discovers what person she wants to be going forward. I look forward to reading the next book in the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series

The Deadening is a riveting and suspenseful story that you won't be able to put down.


About The Author

Kerry Peresta’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper column, “The Lighter Side,” 2009-2011; and magazine articles in Local Life Magazine, The Bluffton Breeze, Lady Lowcountry, and Island Events Magazine. She is the author of two novels, The Hunting, women’s fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing in 2013, and The Deadening, released in February, 2021 by Level Best Books, the first in the Olivia Callahan Suspense series. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter. She is past chapter president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member and presenter of Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network, and the Sisters in Crime organization. Recently, she worked as editor and contributor for Island Communications, a local publishing house. Kerry and her husband moved to Hilton Head six years ago. She is the mother of four adult children, and has a bunch of wonderful grandkids who keep life interesting and remind her what life is all about.

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kerry Peresta. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour 

Tour Participants:

04/01 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

04/02 Guest post @ Novels Alive

04/02 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads

04/04 Interview @ Author Elena Taylors Blog

04/05 Guest post @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea

04/05 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy

04/06 Review @ Margaret Yelton

04/07 Review @ nanasbookreviews

04/08 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books

04/09 Interview @ CMash Reads

04/12 Review @ Books and Zebras @ jypsylynn

04/14 Review @ Quirky Cats Fat Stacks

04/14 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

04/15 Interview/podcast @ Blogtalk radio

04/15 Review @ Just Reviews

04/15 Review @ Novels Alive

04/16 Guest post @ Nesies Place

04/17 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook

04/18 Showcase @ EienCafe

04/19 Interview @ BooksChatter

04/20 Showcase @ Im Into Books

04/21 Review @ Book Reviews by Nikki H. Rose

04/22 Review @ The World As I See It

04/23 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

04/23 Showcase @ Books to the Ceiling

04/24 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs

04/25 Review @ rozierreadsandwine

04/26 Review @ The Book Review Crew

04/27 Review @ Spookys Maze Of Books

04/29 Review/showcase @ The Bookwyrm

Friday, April 16, 2021

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Three Missing Days by author Colleen Coble!

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble
Book 3: The Pelican Harbor Series
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Format: Hardcover - 352 pages
               Paperback - 352 pages
               Audiobook - 8 Hours 38 Minutes
               Kindle - 352 pages / 4283 KB
               Nook - 352 pages / 4 MB
ISBN (Hardcover): 978-0785228547
ISBN (Paperback): 978-0785228523
ASIN (Audiobook): B08CS3VYWK
ASIN (Kindle): B08BYZ9BR4
BNID: 978-0785228530
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Buy The Book: 

Buy The Series: The Pelican Harbor Series
Book 1: One Little Lie
Book 2: Two Reasons To Run
Book 3: Three Missing Days 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description: 

Book Three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murderer and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything. It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

Book Excerpt:

“I know what you did.”

The muffled voice on her phone raised the hair on the back of Gail Briscoe’s head, and she swiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Look, I’ve reported these calls. Don’t call me again.”

She ended the call with a hard finger punch on the screen and stepped onto her front porch. The late-May Alabama air wrapped her in a blanket of heat and humidity, and she couldn’t wait to wash it off. She should have left the light on before she went for her predawn run. The darkness pressing against her isolated home sent a shudder down her back, and she fumbled her way inside. Welcome light flooded the entry, and she locked the door and the dead bolt with a decisive click that lifted her confidence.

She stared at the number on the now-silent phone. The drugstore again. Though there weren’t many pay phones around anymore, the old soda shop and drugstore still boasted a heavy black phone installed back in the sixties. The caller always used it, and so far, no one had seen who was making the calls. The pay phone was located off an alley behind the store by a Dumpster so it was out of sight.

The guy’s accusation was getting old. Counting today, this made seven calls with the same message. Could he possibly know about the investigation? She rejected the thought before it had a chance to grow. It wasn’t public knowledge, and it would be over soon. She clenched her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. She had to be vindicated.

But who could it be, and what did he want?

Leaving a trail of sweaty yoga shorts and a tee behind her, she marched to the bathroom and turned the spray to lukewarm before she stepped into the shower. The temperature shocked her overheated skin in a pleasant way, and within moments she was cooled down. She increased the temperature a bit and let the water sluice over her hair.

As she washed, she watched several long strands of brown hair swirl down the drain as she considered the caller’s accusation. The police had promised to put a wiretap on her phone, but so far the guy hadn’t stayed on the phone long enough for a trace to work. And it was Gail’s own fault. She should have talked with him more to string out the time.

She dried off and wrapped her hair in a turban, then pulled on capris and a top. Her phone vibrated again. She snatched it up and glanced at the screen. Augusta Richards.

“I got another call, Detective. Same phone at the drugstore. Could you set up a camera there?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early, and I don’t think that’s necessary. The owner just told me that old pay phone is being removed later today. Maybe that will deter the guy. It’s the only pay phone in town. He’ll have to use something else if he calls again.”

“He could get a burner phone.”

“He might,” the detective admitted. “What did he say?”

“The same thing—‘I know what you did.’”

“Do you have any idea what it means?”

Gail flicked her gaze away to look out the window, where the first colors of the sunrise limned the trees. “Not a clue.”

“Make sure you lock your doors and windows. You’re all alone out there.”

“Already locked. Thanks, Detective.” Gail ended the call.

Ever since Nicole Pearson’s body had been found a couple of months ago, no one needed to remind Gail she lived down a dirt road with no next-door neighbors. No one wanted to buy the neighboring place after such a lurid death, so the area remained secluded other than a couple of houses about a mile away and out closer to the main road.

She stood back from the window. It was still too dark to see. Was someone out there?

Pull back the reins on your imagination. But once the shudders started, they wouldn’t stop. Her hands shaking, she left her bedroom and went to pour herself a cup of coffee with a generous splash of half-and-half from the fridge. She had a stack of lab orders to process, and she couldn’t let her nerves derail her work.

The cups rattled as she snatched one from the cupboard. The coffee sloshed over the rim when she poured it, then she took a big gulp of coffee. It burned all the way down her throat, and tears stung her eyes as she sputtered. The heat settled her though, and she checked the locks again before she headed to her home office with her coffee.

No one could see in this tiny cubicle with no window, but she rubbed the back of her neck and shivered. She’d work for an hour, then go into the lab. The familiar ranges and numbers comforted her. She sipped her coffee and began to plow through the stack of papers. Her eyes kept getting heavy. Weird. Normally she woke raring to go every morning.

Maybe she needed more coffee. She stretched out her neck and back and picked up the empty coffee cup.

Gail touched the doorknob and cried out. She stuck her first two fingers in her mouth. What on earth?

The door radiated heat. She took a step back as she tried to puzzle out what was happening, but her brain couldn’t process it at first. Then tendrils of smoke oozed from under the door in a deadly fog.

Fire. The house was on fire.

She spun back toward the desk, but there was nothing she could use to protect herself. There was no way of egress except through that door.

If she wanted to escape, she’d have to face the inferno on the other side.

She snatched a throw blanket from the chair and threw it over her head, then ran for the door before she lost her courage. When she yanked it open, a wall of flames greeted her, but she spied a pathway down the hall to her bedroom. Ducking her head, she screamed out a war cry and plowed through the flames.

In moments she was in the hall where the smoke wasn’t so thick. She pulled in a deep breath as she ran for her bedroom. She felt the cool air as soon as she stepped inside and shut the door behind her. Too late she realized the window was open, and a figure stepped from the closet.

Something hard came down on her head, and darkness descended.


Excerpt from Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2021 by Thomas Nelson. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Three Missing Days, book three of The Pelican Harbor Series, author Colleen Coble transports the reader back to the Gulf Shores area of Pelican Harbor, Alabama, to catch up on the story of Police Chief Jane Hardy and Investigative Journalist Reid Dixon.

While Jane, Reid, and their son Will are building their relationship, Reid's ex-wife Lauren comes back into the picture after being missing for eight years and causing a lot of trouble and hearteache. And if that isn't enough, Jane's plate overflows when her office has not one, but two murders to solve ... and it is all intertwined with Jane's memory of three missing days from her past. And to make matters worse, someone is hellbent on seeking revenge on their family, and has setup Will for one of the murders. 

With a murderer seeking revenge on the loose, their son setup on a manslaughter charge, and trying to remember three missing days of Jane's past and battling personal family demons, Jane and Reid join forces to find the murderer and prove Will's innocence. 

Author Colleen Coble weaves a fast-paced and suspenseful tale written in the third person narrative that follows Jane and Reid's investigative journey in search of the murderer and clearing their son's name, while dealing with the lies, secrets, and deceit from their past, and stopping a person from their past who is hellbent on destroying their family. The reader will be easily drawn into the continuation of this well written story with its richly descriptive plot and setting. 

The author does a wonderful job of transporting the reader back to Pelican Harbor, as Jane and Reid's latest investigation unfolds. The drama and suspense is intense; and the tangled web of family drama, secrets, lies, deceit, and heartache will keep the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next until the surprising conclusion to the story. This is the third and final book in The Pelican Harbor series. This series is one that romantic suspense fans will thoroughly enjoy reading.  

Three Missing Days has enough drama, tension, action, flashbacks and clues from the past, a growing list of suspects, a hint of a romance, and unexpected twists and turns that will take the reader on one heck of a thrilling roller coaster ride.


About The Author

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender TidesSunset CoveHope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble Author Page

Contest Giveaway

Win A Set Of The Pelican Harbor Series Books


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble and Thomas Nelson. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) physical set of the first three books in the Pelican Harbor series. (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited. 

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