Chills and Thrills — Author Christopher Greyson’s Riveting Novel, The Girl Who Lived

book reviews image of stack of books and tea cup

Okay, folks. It’s time for a book review. A SHORT one.

I finished reading Christopher Greyson’s suspense thriller, The Girl Who Lived, last week.

Just an FYI, suspense thrillers aren’t genres I read on a regular basis, but they are in my reading mix, along with women’s fiction, classics, and at times, historical fiction.

From the few suspense thrillers I’ve read recently, Greyson’s novel is a big winner and eclipses the last one I read called Wave of Terror. Only once throughout that novel did I feel a bit of tension/thrill.

So, why was Greyson’s novel a winner? Because…

  • His story drew me in, in the first line, paragraph, and page of his novel.
  • His writing style is solid, good.
  • Whoever edits and proofreads his manuscripts is a stellar human being. I don’t recall seeing any typos or errors of any kind.
  • I could barely put the book down. I forced myself to set the book aside so that I had the majority of the book to read on my vacation. And I did finish it while sitting out on our cabin’s porch in Estes Park, enjoying the absolutely perfect weather.
  • He wrote so well, his suspenseful scenes, quite a few, had me tensing and on the edge of my seat, so to speak, and one scene actually gave me the chills. Now THAT’S what I call a true THRILLER. 🙂
  • He kept me guessing with many twists and turns up until practically the end, on who was involved in Faith’s family and friends’ murders.
  • Lastly, a great bonus. His writing is quite clean with regards to language and sex. The violence is somewhat graphic, but not enough that I’d need to skip over parts. They were just enough to get the point across. Clean, gritty, realistic, and sharp storyline, plot, and good fleshed-out characters.
  • I had a moment of a pinch of disappointment in who was behind the murders, as I had people in mind, but at the same time, all info explaining why that person and how was plausible and believable enough that in the end, I was satisfied.

Here’s the blurb on The Girl Who Lived:

Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right–but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be–her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer–and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

I have found a new author I really, really like and will be reading more of his books in the near future. If you like gripping thrillers, check out Greyson’s The Girl Who Lived.

the girl who lived book cover

 

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Writing Much, Despite Reading Struggles

Fragonard painting of woman reading

(painted by Jean-Honoré Fragonard)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read many fellow authors’ declarations of being avid readers when they were children. That they would sneak a book under their covers and get in another few precious moments of reading exciting books before their parents would remind them to go to sleep.

Others would talk about remembering reading at a very early age and loving it throughout their childhood into their adult years. This dedication and love of reading books led them to write books themselves. And this seems to make a whole lot of sense. You read a lot, you get ideas, and you naturally write with these inspirational stories having primed the creative pump in your imaginative brain.

But this wasn’t my experience.

At times I feel both sad and amazed that my writing journey is not the usual, logical path of my fellow writers. I’m an anomaly of sorts. I truly believe it.

I grew up hating to read. As early as I can remember, I had little interest in books, other than to look at the colorful pictures and at times, listen to my dad or a teacher read a story to me and my fellow students.

young girl reading book

Reading had been a struggle for me, a lot of hard work. By mid grade school age, it was discovered I had reading comprehension problems. When my dad wasn’t away on a case (he was a lawyer and a judge in the Air Force), he’d spend an hour or so a night sitting with me on the couch, listening to me read aloud one of the classics in large, vivid books with plenty of pictures, but with age-appropriate, tough words.

I remember agonizing through reading each sentence. It was so laborious–a tremendous mental work akin to the hard, physical work of pushing a heavy rock up a steep hill. But Dad kept encouraging me, guiding me along, patiently working with me for about three years (around fourth to sixth grade).

I went into junior high school still struggling to a certain extent, with little interest in reading, let alone learning. This was my academic path throughout high school, as well.

But something had changed. I did read a few assigned books in my English literature class in eleventh grade, and when I a sophomore, I fell in love with the North & South TV mini-series and ended up reading the first two books in the series. Also, when I was eighteen and nineteen, I read the whole eight-volume series of the Kent Family Chronicles (both series written by John Jakes).

I think, perhaps, watching TV and movies helped me create my stories in lieu of reading. I’ve always been a visual learner.

As for gaining an interest in learning, it wasn’t until I went to business college a couple of years after graduating high school, that I was ready to learn and wanted to learn.

But here’s the unbelievable part of my journey.

Throughout all of my struggles with reading, I wrote all the time with little effort, from second grade all the way through my teens and early twenties before putting it aside when I married and had children.

As you know, if you read any of my older blog posts, I returned to writing in 2014, and it felt so good to be back where I believe I belonged.

How could a child, a young girl, a woman, write stories with plots, decent sentence structures, spelling, some stories over a hundred pages in length, but rarely ever pick up a book until her late teens, early twenties?

It’s a tiny miracle to me.

shining bright light of miracles

This tiny miracle tells me this is my talent, God’s gift to me.

I finally realized this only about two years ago. It hit me like a refreshing, cool breeze on a warm spring day. And I’m so glad it did. Since my early twenties, I’ve been reading and continue to read many, many books.

 

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Those Writers Were You

cropped-rose-and-book1.jpg

As writers, we struggle at times to get words on a page, ideas formulated, and plots created. We labor through a crummy first draft, along the way, sporadically wondering why we are writing the particular stories we are trying to write at that time.

Sometimes we feel alone, like we’re the only ones with brain melt from the overwhelming mental effort it takes to create storylines, plots, characters, and scenes.

In between those struggles, we read books we truly adore, finding them superbly written, taking us out of our worlds and into the characters’ worlds.

We thank the magnificent authors for spurring ideas for our own stories and helping us to write our next few paragraphs, or even chapters.

A few days ago, I came across an inspirational quote via a meme circulating on Twitter that really did uplift me and made me feel like all my work was worth it. And it made me realize all these wonderfully written books by these awesome writers were once where I was before they were known and their books soared in the published and reading realm.

“Never forget that every single one of your favorite books

were once awful, error-filled, unpolished first drafts.” — Unknown

 

Now, go finish that first draft, those revisions, and know your book(s) is/are just as spectacular as the ones you read.

 

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