FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
“What arrrre you doing?”
Tattle pats the assortment of flowers she just arranged in her hair. “To quote Susan Polis Schultz, ‘Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...’”
“Ok, it is official, you have spent too much time in the summer sun!”
“Wellllll, maybe, so let’s go in the shade for our Love of Literature Leap review.”
“COURAGEOUS CAIN by D.J. Davis?”
The two leap into the pages of the thriller.
“The year was 1986 and Josie Spephard, a loner except for her charming champion, lovable Border Collie, Fletcher, finds herself squarely in front of the fan when the crapola hits.”
Tattle gives Wrye a sideways glance. “Dog do-do aside, Josie has her reasons to be a loner, and finding a dead women staring back at her with open, dirt-filled eyes can turn anyone into a hard-shell duck-and-tuck turtle.”
“Or into a runner, and, our wild-haired, little athlete likes to run. Not talking just about putting on the sneakers and dashing down the trail.” Pumping his arms and moving his feet, Wrye does an imitation of a jogger. “She is a hard body cross-country runner with a shelf of trophies, metals and ribbons to show for it.”
“Yup, yup and triple yup, but she also runs from the world. Her dog plants a muddy paw on a map and that’s where they go, the moment life takes a twisty-turn that she doesn’t like.”
Wrye frowns, “That sounds harsh. I like Josie. She is self-reliant, independent and after a childhood of being raised by a grandmother who teaches her that love is a trap, the young lady has reasons to run, especially when her boyfriend Bradley Swanson, dumps her when she won’t marry him. She has no ties since her grandparents died, why should she stay put.”
Tattle holds up both hands defensively, “Hey, I’m on your side. I like Josie, too. The only love she really ever had was from her stroke handicapped grandfather who could barely talk and the current dog in her life. I feel her, and…” Peeks ahead in the book. “…find her brave and resilient. And, she needs all the bravery she can get when a serial killer has her in his sights for his personal affection and attention.”
“Thank doggone goodness she also gets the attention and affection of Deputy Gordon Wolfe, shy, scarred, and an amazing gentle giant.” He wiggles fluffy brows. “And what about their last names… Wolfe…Shepard… Coincidence? I think not! She soon finds herself not being able to run from the emotions he elicits so easily.”
“Ah, but there is another that claims her attention,” Pointing at a name in the story, Tattle offers a triumphant smile. “Cain! No one seems able to handle the massive dog but its evasive owner. Only Josie has a special connection to dogs, and she can see the abuse he suffered and the good dog behind what others see as a beast. Soon Cain connects with her receiving the only love he has ever known.”
“Then more bodies appear. The killer steals Josie’s undergarments and they show up in pictures of tortured women. She wants to run, but then there is Gordon, Cain, as well as a new friend, Darby, who ends up also abducted.”
Tattle shoots back. “Cain is being used as the killer.”
“Can she help find her friend? Can she allow herself to love Gordon? Can she resist the urge to run?”
“That last option is taken away when Josie finds herself trapped by the killer and Cain. Can her connection to the dog save her and Darby?” Tattle offers a worried sigh then brightens as she puts the book away and reflects. “This story is a heart-wrenching experience tumbled with biting-your-nails suspense and dramatic intensity. The depth of characterization creates real people. They aren’t the typical formulized type found in fiction but unique and flawed. But it is those imperfections that makes them perfectly human while their personal growth within the story is well-paced and believable. D. J. Davis’ descriptive prose puts you fully in the time and place. Today’s world is gone. Whatever is around you is gone. You are part of the COURAGEOUS CAIN universe. The small town and its community comes to life, while the villain stays well-hidden yet so obviously there. His first person narrative that appears in short bursts is down-right chilling. This book hooked me from beginning to end.”
Wrye takes over. “Being a dog enthusiast, I couldn’t help but warm to the animals within the story but especially to Cain. Even when he first appeared as a vicious brute, I felt the heart within. D. J. did a brilliant job of making him genuine and a creature you couldn’t help loving. The storyline is amazing, with hold your breath scenes and tissues at hands moments. I can’t offer enough praise for the storyline’s consistent momentum and the intricate character interaction. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait to get my hands on the next!”
“UNEARTHED, Duty Bound II by J. S. Marlo, is a contemporary woman’s suspenseful romance and the heroine put the A in adorable!”
Ohhh, Rowan “Ro” O’Reilly, is a spit fire and has the rebellious red hair to prove it. I like her!” announces Wrye.
“Did you know she is daughter of…wait for it… Riley Kendrick and step-daughter of Blythe Huxley from UNSCRIPTED, Duty Bound I?”
“Yup…yup…the one that went to Iceland for school, and the very one who returned from said country, heart-broken, coerced into giving up, Bjorn, the man who had stolen her heart.” Wrye shakes his head at the injustice of it all. “At the same time, she inherits, from her Aunt Mattie, the Buccaneer Bed & Breakfast, on Prince Edward Island. According to her good natured cook and housekeeper, every summer it sported a no vacancy sign. This year her establishment has few guests. It is due to a couple of bad reviews, that made little sense, since the B&B offers fabulous food and a clean, though, dated backdrop.”
“She does have one consistent guest, the hunky,” Tattle hits the air with a finger and makes a sizzle sound, “hot-beyond-hot, mysterious Avery Stone. He is a moody guest with a haunted expression who is nursing a limp. Meanwhile, another hottie with charm and a bed-side manner, yes, a young doctor and friend of her deceased aunt gives her a loan to help fix up the B&B. Only, that makes Rowan feel obligated to at least give the man his endless attention a chance. Yet, her heart still grieves for her old love and she is also continuously drawn to Avery.”
“Then there is the mysterious groundskeeper, the certainty her aunt’s death wasn’t an accident but can’t prove it, the bats in the closet that lead to old letters and family secrets annnnnd finding bones upon bones upon bones buried under the gazebo. It all keeps Rowan searching for the truth.” Wrye does the brow wiggle. “Da…da…da…daaaaa.”
“Only, all that digging about puts her in lethal danger!”
“And then?” urges Wrye.
“And then the reader has to read the book! And it is a book that will keep your nose buried in the e-pages and your heart clenched. Sometimes due to suspense, and other times to the heart wrenching trauma of her broken heart, trying to mend itself. Once again, J. S. Marlo has delivered a tale that combines genres with delightful and seamless perfection. Her writing style has become tighter and clearer. She, also, has this amazing skill at dangling just enough bait to make you want to read the next book in the series. And, I can’t wait.” Tattle offers a thumbs up.
“The characters, as in her previous book, were dimensional and interesting. There was also enough suspects to keep you continuously guessing until the very end, and the end has you wondering who will truly survive the villain’s unscrupulous, deadly intentions. I fully enjoyed reading this story. J. S. Marlo has delivered another winner!”
We have another Love of Literature Leap behind us and are looking forward to the next! Until then, keep reading.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
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