com First Reads GiveawayThis is the first Gwen Marcey novel that I ve had the pleasure to read however, the author gave enough background information that I knew enough to be able to comfortably read the story The mystery begins as Gwen is sent to Pikeville, Kentucky to lend her forensic art skills to help catch a serial rapist Since the sheriff obviously doesn t want her help and seems to resent her, Gwen manages to solve the mystery of a body that is found That body is tied to the snake handling holiness church in the area Gwen finds herself unable to trust anyone around her and must use her forensic skills to solve the mystery.
I found the novel required me to believe coincidences and connections in the novel that were just a little to neat for me While the descriptions of the holiness revival seemed real and engaged me in the scene, much of the solving of the mystery was not believable to me While the novel leans very Christian, it wasn t over the top preachy.
I m going to start this review with a sentence I never thought I d have occasion to say.
If you enjoy Cynthia Ruchti s books, you ll enjoy this thriller by Carrie Stuart Parks.
Let me explain One of the main reasons out of several that I consider Cynthia Ruchti one of my favorite authors is the voice she gives to her characters inner dialogue It speaks my sense of humor and makes me laugh even when I ve already gone through a pack and a half of tissues on a particular book.
Carrie Stuart Parks give that same kind of almost snarky, very relatable voice to Gwen Marcey s inner dialogue, and I love it Gwen herself as a character is authentic and honest she s human She gets angry at God She gets angry at her ex husband She has a typical mother daughter relationship with her teenager, and she has a best friend who is the perfect Ethel to her Lucy Or it might be the other way around She loves her dog She loves her career but she s struggling to make ends meet She s scared of spiders and other bugs And she s a cancer survivor who relates the effects of chemo and a double mastectomy with frankness and likability She s funny and sincere and really really smart and gutsy, and she s exactly the type of character I would love to have as a friend.
So Gwen is fantastic as a recurring main character in the series you can certainly read When Death Draws Near as a stand alone but I ve just caught up on all three and you will appreciate Gwen if you read them from the beginning but what about the suspense Because a good thriller must be suspenseful even a little scary.
Once again, Carrie Stuart Parks passes this test with flying colors My Goodness Do not plan on sleeping while you re reading When Death Draws Near or perhaps for a bit after you ve finished lol All three of her books start out intense and really stay that way until the end, with brief lulls for research which I usually find even fascinating because I m geeky that way , but the scary sometimes sneaks up on you And while in every single book in this series so far I ve been so confident that I had it solved before Gwen, I had to eat my theories when Parks masterful plotting threw me a curveball I went from C mon It s SO obvious to Well I didn t see that one coming and smiling sheepishly and hypothetically at the person who would have been swiftly jailed had I been the one solving these crimes.
Each Gwen Marcey book has spotlighted forensic artistry, something in which Parks clearly adds her own career expertise to the mix I found this absolutely fascinating particularly the psychological elements that are involved I also love the focus of each book and how well Parks has handled potentially sensitive topics In A Cry From The Dust, Gwen stumbles onto an extremist offshoot of the LDS In The Bones Will Speak, she runs awry of a neo Nazi group And in When Death Draws Near, she finds herself in the middle of snake handlers I think just the natural intensity that goes along with any of these groups automatically ratchets up the tension in the book itself, and this gives added depth to the suspense And while Parks does zero in on the extremists, she really focuses on the warped evil committing crimes in their name and doesn t pass judgment on the religions from where they originated In other words, your suspense novel will not be interrupted for a political speech lol Amen Gwen Marcey should be every criminal s worst nightmare even though she typically wields a pencil and her brain instead of a gun And Carrie Stuart Parks should be on every suspense fan s must read list High intensity, edge of your seat thrilling action and psychology Compelling characters Moments that make you laugh Moments that make you look over your shoulder Moments that make you wonder if it s ok to pray for a fictional character All of these elements combine into a fast paced book that will grip you by the heart AND the mind and refuse to let go until you ve reached the end All three books in the series are fantastic, but this one may be my favorite I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review read my full review at Reading Is My SuperPower 4.
5 stars Looking forward to the next one I really enjoyed this book The prologue threw me a bit, but man once the story started, I was hooked Gwen is a great character, and the suspense and mystery were great Loved, loved, loved this book I love a good suspense If it has interesting characters, a great career, and a plot that keeps me reading, I m hooked That s exactly what happened with When Death Draws Near I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Gwen Marcey series, and this one takes it one step further Her personal life continues to be out of control with the tension of providing for her daughter and keeping her safe when Gwen gets plunged into a new murder This one dives deep into the wilds of Kentucky where people are dying from what appears to be snake handling Is there to it And what can she do to track down the culprits while fighting back against her nemesis breast cancer There are political layers Spiritual layers Crime Tension Suspense A race from the first chapter to the end, this book will delight suspense lovers of all types.
Carrie Stuart Parks offers up another enjoyable novel with her latest, When Death Draws Near , a book that kept me turning the pages from start to finish I have greatly enjoyed watching Gwen in her job of forensic artist in the first two instalments in the series, so I was glad to see her return in a whole different kind of mystery as she goes undercover with a group of snake handlers Gwen is one of those characters who you just can t get enough of, as she shows herself to be so strong in the face of challenges that may force someone else into just giving up And I must confess to a bit of character envy, because I wish I could draw with the same skill that Gwen employs in her work with her fantastic memory for faces and her ability to bring them to life Parks has definitely ratcheted up the chill factor in this suspense novel to a whole new level, and I was kept guessing throughout the book trying to figure out who was who and what, exactly, was going on My only hesitation about the novel is that Gwen ends up choosing to take her daughter undercover with her into a cult where danger abounds As a parent myself I simply can t imagine doing so, no matter how much I felt I had no other choice At the same time, though, she shows us that we should never judge people just by what we think we know about them, as readers discover that the members of the cult are all too human, wrestling with their fears and doubts, just like any of us can do.
The Gwen Marcey series continues to fascinate me with its unique characters and well written plots When Death Draws Near is another solid addition to the series and one I am sure readers who enjoy suspense will be eager to add to their collection I award this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
All in all, I loved When Death Draws Near I recommend it if you like suspense novels or have enjoyed books by Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, Irene Hannon, or Brandilyn Collins Disclosure of Material Connection I received one or of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention review it on my blog I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion which I ve done All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Carrie Stuart Parks is amazing in this latest Gwen Marcey novel With a deft stroke, she pens a novel that is compelling and haunting I could not read it fast enough Her characters are rich and deep Her plot is well, quite frankly nightmare inducing It s been a long time since a novel gave me nightmares, but this one did It s THAT GOOD I love the many characters who easily fit the suspect, and the inimitable Gwen Marcey, who s never one to give up And the ending yep, she got one over on me I m annoyed with myself for not figuring it out But then, where s the fun in that P