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crime novel

Book Review: Color Blind (Dr. Jenna Ramey #1)

Color Blind Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

A neurological condition characterized by automatic, involuntary sensory perceptions triggered by seemingly unrelated stimuli.

There is something unusual about Dr. Jenna Ramey’s brain, a rare perceptual quirk that punctuates her experiences with flashes of color. They are hard to explain: red can mean anger, or love, or strength. But she can use these spontaneous mental associations, understand and interpret them enough to help her read people and situations in ways others cannot. As an FBI forensic psychiatrist, she used it to profile and catch criminals. Years ago, she used it to save her own family from her charming, sociopathic mother.

Now, the FBI has detained a mass murderer and called for Jenna’s help. Upon interrogation she learns that, behind bars or not, he holds the power to harm more innocents—and is obsessed with gaining power over Jenna herself. He has a partner still on the loose. And Jenna’s unique mind, with its strange and subtle perceptions, may be all that can prevent a terrifying reality…

Wow, what an enjoyable read! This book was quite the page turner. It was a mixture of crime fiction and neurology. The story centers on Dr. Jenna Ramey, a woman with the ability to read people through a neurological condition that allows her to see colors surrounding people. She uses her special ability to help profile and catch criminals. But she also had to use this ability to save her family from her wicked mother when she was younger. Now, she’s called to help with a case involving a mass murder who holds power even when he’s behind bars and who might possibly be connected with her mother in some way.

What I enjoyed about reading Color Blind is seeing the story from Dr. Jenna Ramey’s perspective. I loved learning more about her condition, being able to see the detail put into describing the colors she was experiencing from the people she talked to. I’ve never read a crime fiction story that went this much into detail, and I found each piece of information I learned about Dr. Ramey more and more interesting. It made the story that much more interesting for me to want to continue reading to find out what happened next. It also showed that Colby Marshall did her research on synesthesia, a condition I’ve never really heard of myself until now. Makes me want to do my own research on the topic to see what more I can learn.

I also enjoyed this read because I found the story and characters to be interesting. I liked getting to hear more about Dr. Ramey’s background, find out about her mother Claudia and how she saved her family from uncertain death. I like how personal this case ended up being for Dr. Ramey because you could see her doing the best she could to save those around her. I found myself really engrossed in this story because of how interesting the storyline became that I couldn’t put this book down. I wanted to find out how Isaac was connected to Claudia and how that resulted in the events that followed. I also found Dr. Ramey’s relationship with Yancy to be most interesting, even though I don’t really understand why her connection with him is stronger than what she had with Hank.

I also like Color Blind because it’s crime fiction. I especially like that they showed Dr. Ramey as someone who doesn’t bask in her celebrity status. She’s a sincere person who wants to do things to keep those she cares about safe from the harm her mother will cause. Because once her mother gets out, she knows her mother will come for her and those she holds dear. This book was just such a page turner for me that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

I appreciate that they include some video game talk in this book. I like that Marshall has Isaac and Sebastian meet each other to make their plans in a video game that they both play. It’s something you normally don’t see in crime fiction stories, so I was surprised by it, but really liked it.

There are only a couple of things with this book I didn’t particularly like. For one, I felt like the connection between Isaac and Claudia was too disappointing. While it was an interesting spin I didn’t see coming, it wasn’t all that surprising for me to begin with. You could tell there was a connection between the two from the beginning just from the way Isaac interacts with Dr. Ramey and how he knew more about her than anyone else.

I also felt like most of the ending was pretty rushed because the last half of the story moves along very fast. Everything happens all at once, like the pieces were there just waiting to be lined up. While I usually don’t mind that, in this story the pieces that came together were pretty disappointing. For example, they made the capture of Thadius too easy to me and I found myself actually feeling for Sebastian. Despite his ties to Isaac, he didn’t seem like too bad of a kid, just troubled and in need of serious help. The end itself while interesting just didn’t do too much for me other than make me sad that the book was over. The only thing interesting about it to me was what happened with Claudia because I find her character to be really intriguing.

Despite these small things most people wouldn’t have minded, I found Color Blind to be a fantastic read. It had a little bit of everything I enjoy about crime novels, plus gave me the chance to learn something new. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to read the rest of the series to see what happens to Dr. Ramey next.

Book Review: The Dark End of the Street


Rating: 3 stars

In one fast-paced story, a strong and aggravated man considers the pretty woman at the bar while he fingers the knife in his pocket. But what becomes of his prey when they move to the bedroom? In another tale, a man remembers the victim of a ghastly murder who visited the same hair salon as he does. And a Don Juan of a protagonist has a hobby of marrying vulnerable women, getting access to their bank accounts, and then robbing them blind.

But there is much more to this collection than dark-haired vixens and crimes of passion. Some stories are brooding, some twisted; some bring righteous satisfaction, some linger in the back of your mind. What is truly on display is an impressive collection of literary talent: a group of some of the best writers we have, weaving fresh and memorable stories from a pair of classic themes. Taken as a whole, they are a rare treat for fans of great fiction, whether it’s high literature, good old-fashioned suspense, or anything in between. Original black-and-white art by artist/author Jonathan Santlofer completes this innovative, exciting, and irresistibly intriguing book—a true literary gem.

This collection of stories was an okay read. I enjoyed reading these stories because none of them were too complex for me to understand what was happening.

Each story told from a different perspective, this collection of stories about crime and sex were very intriguing. I found them to be enjoyable because I wasn’t sure what to expect. As someone who enjoys reading fictional stories about crime, I found these to be interesting enough for me to read.

I also enjoyed reading The Dark End of the Street because none of these authors were familiar to me. I felt no familiarity with any of the authors mentioned who were a part of this collection. I found that to be a nice thing for me because it made reading all of these different short stories interesting. It allowed me to read these short stories with an open mind, something I might’ve not been able to do if I were familiar with any of these authors.

I enjoyed reading this too because they are stories about crime and sex. As someone who enjoys watching shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order Special Victims Unit, reading about these type of crimes is just as fascinating. Especially when the perspective is from someone thinking about committing a crime that doesn’t pull through. Or reading a story about someone witnessing a crime that gets told from many different people who weren’t there. These type of stories fascinate me because they are appalling, different and make me wonder about the world we live in. I also see them as a way of keeping up with the way people act in society and a better way of understanding people. While criminal acts aren’t something to gawk at, they are definitely a way for us to better understand the people surrounding us.

While I did enjoy reading The Dark End of the Street, I also felt a sense of déjà vu when reading these stories. When I first opened up the book to read the first story, I felt like I already knew what was going to happen, almost as if I’d read these stories before. This feeling continued throughout even when there were stories I wasn’t sure I read before.

This feeling made it difficult for me to read these stories because the element of mystery was gone. I couldn’t enjoy these stories quite as much because I already knew what was going to happen. I don’t know if it’s because I already read this book before and didn’t realize it, but it definitely hampered my ability to enjoy it. I couldn’t react to the stories with a fresh perspective and the sense of mystery and surprise that comes with reading stories like this was gone. Instead, I wasn’t at all surprised by the events that unfolded, just disappointed that I could find them to be so predictable.

Despite this feeling of déjà vu, I still enjoyed reading The Dark End of the Street. But it did hamper my ability to enjoy these short stories to their full potential.

Book Review: Hades

Hades Candice Fox Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Twenty years ago, two children were kidnapped and left for dead.
Raised by a master criminal, they grew up to become cops. Very unusual cops . . .

Homicide detective Frank Bennett has an intriguing new partner. Dark, beautiful, coldly efficient, Eden Archer is one of the most enigmatic colleagues Frank has ever worked with—that includes her brother Eric, who’s also on the Sydney Metro police force. All of them are tested to the core when a local man discovers a graveyard of large steel toolboxes lying at the bottom of the harbor. Each box contains a grisly trove of human body parts.

For Frank, the madman’s clues are a tantalizing puzzle. For Eden and Eric, the case holds chilling links to a scarred childhood—and a murderous mentor named Hades. But the true evil goes beyond the bloody handiwork of a serial killer…

Hades was a page-turner of a read. I was immediately hooked into the story about Frank’s new mysterious partner Eden. As a fan of crime novels, this book really intrigued me. I really liked reading Hades for a number of reasons. For one, I enjoyed seeing the novel switch back and forth from Frank’s perspective to learning more about Eden and Eric’s upbringing. I loved finding out more about why Eden and Eric acted the way they did so as to better understand their characters.

While I felt as if Frank and Eden should’ve had more of a connection throughout the novel, I was able to easily understand why that wasn’t the case. Eden is a very elusive woman and doesn’t want anyone knowing what she and Eric have been through. However, I felt as if Frank should’ve at least been clued into what was going on so as to better understand her character and her actions throughout. Another reason this book was an okay read for me was because I felt as if all of the characters in this book were extremely flat. I felt no reason to connect with any of the characters and that bothered me. While Hades is a crime novel that focuses more on the crime and catching the bad guy, I felt as if there should’ve been some characters aspects mentioned. We get that Eden and Eric are both cold blooded people because this book drives that point home enough. But I felt as if the rest of the characters didn’t have any real character flaws mentioned and if they did, they weren’t really explained.

I also was bothered that the novel didn’t delve deeply into Frank’s own past. The reader knows that Frank’s past isn’t perfect, but the reader never finds out more about Frank other than a couple of details in his life. He’s never fully explained and the novel focuses more on Eden and Eric than on him, even though the whole story is told from his perspective. Throughout Hades, he takes the role of being the backseat driver in the story, yet is seen as a main character since the novel is from his perspective. That bothered me because his own life and the choices he made are never explained quite as in depth as Eden and Eric’s life growing up with Hades.

So while Hades was a page-turner read for me, I found some details in the novel lacking that would’ve made the story more enjoyable to me. What made Hades worth the read was learning more about Eden and Eric’s past and the crime that took place that connected with their lives. I can’t wait to see what Eden has in store for me.

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