Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Book of James by Ellen Green

Synopsis:  A terrible car crash sets things in motion for 31 year old Mackenzie when her critically injured husband, Nick, whispers warnings that someone from his past may attempt to harm or kill her after his passing. He urges her to travel to Philadelphia to his childhood home. Find James, he insists. It's the only way out. 

His last words are pushed to the side in the aftermath of his death, as Mackenzie is consumed with grief. Until the things he had spoken of start to come true. Mackenzie's search brings her to the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, to the 19th century mansion where her husband was raised, and face to face with a mother-in-law she didn't know existed. The two women each have an agenda. Cora, a recluse, worries that her son revealed devastating childhood secrets to his wife. Mackenzie is concerned that unless she uncovers those secrets and finds the elusive James, she may not survive. The two women circle around one another, hunter and prey. But which is which? 

As the plot unfolds Mackenzie becomes more driven and takes increasingly dangerous risks while Cora’s precarious mental state rapidly deteriorates forcing her to relive a past she has worked so hard to keep buried.A gallery of photographs in the bowels of the house holds clues to generations of abuse, treachery and possibly murder. Messages hidden in Nick’s childhood Bible within the Epistle of James have Mackenzie racing against time to put the pieces together, unearth the reasons her husband chose to vanish when he was sixteen years old, and locate the person mentioned in Nick’s dying breath.  

When James is finally found, the results are more horrifying than Mackenzie could have ever imagined.  

Review:  Book of James is one of the most well written books that I’ve read this year as far as grammar, sentence structure, point of view, character development, word flow, language, and story line.  It’s brilliant.  The writing is clean and easy to read and Ellen Green draws you into her web and keeps you there, reading until the very last sentence.  I would have finished this book in one sitting, had I not had plans for the night that I started it.  This was one of those stories where I had to know what happened and I wasn’t resting until I did.
Book of James is told from the alternating points of view of McKenzie and Cora.  McKenzie’s world has been rocked – first by the death of her husband, Nick, and then by the news that her husband had been keeping deep, dark secrets from her – including that he was worth millions.  Cora, Nick’s mother, is harboring a deep and sinister secret that has ruled her family for generations.  She has dark plans for McKenzie, but McKenzie, at the request of Nick, on his dying breath, is trying to uncover the secrets and find James before Cora can get to her.
The character development in this book is amazing.  The way that McKenzie reacts to situations is totally believable for someone in her position.  She is curious and intelligent and brave.  Cora is also a well done character.  We experience her conflicting emotions – anger, shame, hate, fear, to name a few. 
There is a gothic feel to this book that I love – secluded mansions, surrounded by woods, filled tunnels and secret rooms, and dark secrets.  I give Book of James five stars – and I guarantee if you love thrillers and mysteries you will not be disappointed with this book or this author.

About the Author:  I was born and raised in upstate NY and moved to the Philadelphia area to go to college. I graduated with degrees in psychology. Although writing has always been my first love I somehow took a left turn in life and ended up as a therapist in a maximum security correctional facility.---for the past 7 years. (plenty of fodder for writing there, I can tell you).  

I have been published three times in various magazines, (True Confessions, Woman's World) The Book of James is my first novel. I am starting a Masters degree program in creative writing in the fall. 

I now live in south Jersey with my two children.  


Purchase the book $2.99 for Kindle Amazon

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