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Author: RJ Garcia

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Publisher: The Parliament House

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Quote ExcerptIf someone asked me to classify my life under a genre, I would have to give more than one answer.  It was a mystery and suspense, at the same time.  It could also be called a love story.  Maybe not a love story between one boy and one girl, although it was a little of that too.  It was really a love story between four friends

This quote is from the last chapter of the book, and it summarizes the story perfectly!

Synopsis: Tommy and his little sister have had a hard life with their mother who is in rehab.   She finally loses custody of the children, and they are sent by the state to go live with an uncle, whom the children do not know, and the uncle’s wife, in a small town.

Although this new chapter in Tommy and Izzy’s life brings forth, a new town, a new home, and new guardians, Tommy and Izzy become comfortable, and Tommy meets some new friends whom he connects with instantly.  This exclusive group of friends sneak out every Saturday night, at midnight, to meetup in the woods, and these meetings soon lead to clues about a cold kidnapping and murder case.  As clues are discovered, Tommy takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of these unsolved mysteries. Along with the help of the gang, his newly found friends, the group discovers suspicions that are unbelievable.

My Review: I loved this book a lot! I read this in 2 days, I just could not put this down.  The book is of average length, finishing at 345 pages, but the chapters are short, making it easier to read more in one sitting!  I would get through 4 or 5 more chapters, simply because I was so connected to the book, and knew I could get one more chapter in quickly.   I kept telling myself,  ”just one more chapter”.

This book contains everything I love in a story:  Drama, anticipation, love, mystery, suspense, and even a little romance.  First and foremost, this is a Mystery and Suspense novel and the book sure delivered in this category!

I loved the way the book was written in general.  It begins by detailing events from the past, 9 months earlier to be exact, and then changes to present day. The character perspectives change constantly from Tommy to Finn as well.    I love a book that is told through different perspectives. The different perspectives adds flare, individuality, and a level of insight that you just do not get when a book is limited through only one perspective.

I loved the teen drama, and how accurate that was portrayed.  I also loved the emotional piece of the family drama, and the shivers that this book gave me a few times throughout, due to some suspenseful and mysterious scenes!

The characters were delightfully written.  I loved them right away, all of them. They were believable, and relatable.  I liked reading about the new friendships formed between Tommy and the gang.   My favorite character was Tommy.  He endures so much, and yet he is still such a protective older brother to Izzy and to the girls in the group.   He makes some not so great decisions, sure, but then again, he is 15 years old, and those decisions just helped me to solidify my liking for Tommy; because that is what made him seem real, and believable.

I also loved Reese’s character.  She is put into a hard situation, having to take in the children of her husband’s sister.  Children she does not even know.  Nevertheless, she opens her home, and her heart to these kids, and quickly shows the children comfort, and nourishment to help make them feel at home.

There were a few quotes in the last chapter that I read over several times that I loved.  The last chapter is from Tommy’s perspective, and includes his closing thoughts.  I got a sense that these quotes were the author’s thoughts speaking through Tommy.  I do know for sure, this is my just my interpretation.  For example, the quote in the opening paragraph of this review summarizes both the book itself, as well as how Tommy viewed his life.  I found that rather interesting.

Another quote that I found interesting:

“You know how people say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I don’t think that is exactly true.  I think what doesn’t kill you makes you realize how strong you really are.  And I realized, I’m pretty tough”

Could this be a representation of how the author felt after having completed the book?

Closing Thoughts: This book is most definitely a Five Star Read! The plot, time-frame, story line were all on point!  This is a great book club read as it presents many opportunities for discussion questions!

GREAT JOB R.J Garcia, on a well written debut novel! You have given readers a well told story about friendship, love, family, and murder mystery that had me both heartbroken, and frightened throughout!  I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the next page turner!  This book is appropriate for all age groups, starting with YA!

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