Tag Archives: thriller

FEAR HAS A NAME by Creston Mapes ~ tackling my ‘to read list’

Fear Has A Name

Psychological thriller, FEAR HAS A NAME, pulls together several threads, each with its own angst. There surely is no lack of emotional apprehension in this story, and some unsettling moments

The violent home invasion by a husky man dressed in black forces Pamela Crittendon to flee, with her two young daughters, to a neighbor’s house. Author Creston Mapes delves into the interior of his character’s psyches in a compelling manner. This attack upon their home forces Pamela to fight her tendency toward slipping into fearful agitation (passed down by her fear and anxiety ridden mother).  The author tends to drop things in at the end, and he thereby allows the daughter to discover why her mother is so fear ridden and it brings Pamela closer to her mom.

Reporter Jack Crittendon is writing a series of articles on a missing pastor who left what might be a bogus suicide note. The attack on Jack’s wife and daughters brings back “the old Jack,” the violent side he thought he’d buried. The missing pastor, secondary plotline has its own well developed characters. This sub-story keeps Jack busy on his job at the newspaper, allowing Pamela to deal with scary things on her own, as Jack’s rage increases toward the husky man.  Jack becomes even more unhinged when he’s accused of collecting and distributing child pornography. There were two places that stretched my believably. One was the police investigation of these pornography charges. The police explained too much and just plain talked conversationally way too much to the accused. And two, it was predictable that Pamela would flee to her mother’s house, which puts her on a collision course with danger. These are minor issues in what is a well written psychological study couched in a thriller. This is a good independently published read with a powerful spiritual message.

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LOOKS THAT DECEIVE by Braxton DeGarmo ~ a review

Looks That Deceive

Steven James ~ Move over!

LOOKS THAT DECEIVE by Braxton DeGarmo is both edgy and gritty crime fiction and a seat of the pants medical thriller. ‘Edgy’ because it pushes the edge of the envelope. It could be categorized as noir.

Lync Cully, a workaholic, dedicated detective has been loaned to the Major Case Squad. He’s investigating a series of gruesome and bizarre assaults on women in the legal profession, an explosion killing a lawyer, and the torture and murder of another man. The “wonder boy” of the detective squad, he knows these crimes are related.

Amy Gibbs, Cully’s former  girlfriend, is a medivac nurse and part of the team transporting the torture victim by chopper to the emergency room. The horrifically injured man is able to mumble a few words about the killer to her and her partner before expiring. Cully wants to hold back this information from the public, but it gets out to the press, putting Amy squarely in the sights of this heinous killer.

The author uses plot construction often typical of thrillers. The reader is introduced to the highly intelligent and technologically advanced killer as “Lady Law,” a pseudonym the male predator uses online to lure females in the legal profession into his trap. He is adept in the use of aliases and ruse. The reader also becomes aware the killer has relationships with other characters in the story and they are none-the-wiser about his violent and depraved other life.

As it turns out in this deadly tale, looks can be deceiving. If you like unabashed, nail biting thrillers with an inspirational twist, this novel is for you.


DOWN and OUT by Marcy Dyer ~ a review

Down and Out

INSPIRATIONAL THRILLER

From the first words of the first chapter, the author pulls me right into the life of Candace Downs — her situation, her hardships.

Candace originally hailed from Texas, but has been working as a publicist with a Christian theater ministry in New York City. Having just lost that job, she returns home to work in her cousin Carl’s repo business on the night shift. She’s had to condense all her worldly possessions into one suitcase and a carry-on piece of luggage. Having acquired an aging VW Beetle with holes in its floorboard, she shows up for work at the repo agency in what she thinks of as “work clothes,” a skirt and blouse with heels.

That’s when she meets Josiah Bradley, the handsome owner of Viper Security, who has been assigned to train her for her first two weeks on the job. He takes one look at her appearance and thinks she won’t last long. Her partner on the night shift, Beth Anne, takes an immediate dislike to her and calls her “Barbie.” Candace, in a tit-for-tat, returns the favor by calling Beth Anne “Dumpling.” However, Candace soon shows she’s got some mettle. Just as Candace and Beth Anne begin to iron out their differences, Candace is assigned to tow the car of a bank night security guard, Lucien Robard, after his car has been struck in an accident. He is taken by her beauty, begins stalking her, and has designs to turn her into “the perfect wife,” even if he has to beat her into submission

The author ratchets up Lucien’s craziness in a very eerie way. I could feel him mentally upping the stakes as his threats and actions became more menacing, as serial offenders do. The reader gets a glimpse of his madness when in his inner dialog he recall the other women who had not lived up to his expectations. That served to make me wonder what had happened to them. Of course, I could only surmise they were no longer among the living and that question was answered by the end of the book.

One of the most charming elements of the story are the three quirky old lady relatives (Granny and her sisters, Aunt Gertie, and Aunt Bertie). We meet the eccentric trio when they get into a fender bender. The other driver shoves Granny and Aunt Gertie wallops him with her Bible while Aunt Bertie beams him with her umbrella. We later catch them going to a line dancing class and to my surprise they were not members of the class, but teaching teenage girls all the moves.

This story could be considered inspirational, or it could be considered a thriller with major characters who are people of faith. It is not primarily a preachy story. It is definitely an action packed thriller. There were some editing issues with prepositions left out, more so toward the end of the novel. In Today’s publishing environment, this type of thing has become all too common.


Did You Write a Mystery or a Thriller?

Stabbing

Many authors anguish over whether they’ve written a mystery, a suspense novel, or a thriller. This is especially important when entering a writing contest, because if the manuscript is submitted in the wrong category it could be disastrous.
A good rule of thumb says mysteries are about whodunit, while suspense/thrillers are about how it was done and how the protagonist is going to avoid having it done to him/her, or to someone she/he loves.
Most murder mysteries begin with a murder, often on a dark and stormy night. Then the novel proceeds with the main character (an amateur or professional sleuth) finding clues that lead to the eventual capture of the murderer.
A thriller/suspense novel is often character driven and depends upon the protagonist gripping the interest of the reader. Often it’s the sleuth’s foibles or personality and character flaws that engage the reader. The main character is then going to match wits with the killer as the chase is on. A thriller/suspense novel often has the main character trying to prevent the villain from committing an even more heinous crime. If your detective, pair of sleuths, or group of protagonists are in a high stakes environment with a great threat looming and the unthinkable about to happen, you’ve probably written a thriller.
 
But then there are sub-genres. Murder mysteries can be divided into cozies, “locked room” mysteries, food mysteries, pet mysteries, even gardening mysteries. Thrillers can be classified as military or espionage, political, medical, legal, psychological. Just when it looked like it was all figured out, the detective novel messes it all up because some of them are mysteries while others are thrillers. And what about romantic suspense and capers? Yikes!

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