Tag Archives: Terri Blackstock

Audiobook Review: If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I’m Found
Author: Terri Blackstock
Publisher: Zondervan
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Published: March 2017
Series: If I Run, Book 2
Genre: Suspense, Christian fiction
Length: Unabridged. 7 hours, 45 minutes.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

My Thoughts on the Book:

The scenario Casey faces in this series is huge and overwhelming, and yet, she’s battling her impossible odds and helping others too, even at risk to herself. I find that beautiful and inspiring. And even if her choices at times stretch credulity a bit (there was one point in this book where I wanted to shout at her that there was a better option she hadn’t considered), they do seem to fit her, and I can’t fault her for them.

Casey’s faith journey is a gradual one and doesn’t feel forced. That’s probably my favorite part of this series so far. I haven’t even seen the full story unfold yet, but I love where it seems to be going and the way it’s woven into the fabric of her day to day existence.

The multiple first person present tense viewpoint used here is refreshingly different and yet, paradoxically, feels familiar and comfortable, particularly in audiobook format. Speaking of audio format, the narrator for this one is fabulous. Her reading of each character is friendly and personable, and overall, well suited to that character. But I was particularly impressed by her rendition of the slurred speech of one particular character.

In summary, this is shaping up to be among my favorite series in quite a while, one that I would highly recommend. I can’t wait for Book 3! And the audio edition is definitely the way to go. At least it is if you’re the type to savor a good audio performance.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed listening to the book.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I Run
Author: Terri Blackstock
Print Publisher: Zondervan
Audio Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Nan Gurley
Published: February 2016
Series: If I Run, Book 1
Genre: Suspense, Christian Fiction
Length: 6 hours, 41 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Thoughts on the Book:

If I Run makes a fabulous kick-off for Terri Blackstock’s suspense series by the same name. The first person point of view draws you in and gets you thinking about the what-ifs behind the premise. What would you do in Casey’s shoes? In Dylan’s? Overall, this story has a great premise, relatable characters, suspenseful action, and high stakes. I especially love how well matched Casey and Dylan are as adversaries… and potentially allies? At first, I wondered what could possibly be Casey’s reason for running, but as the story unfolds, it all makes an unfortunate kind of sense. I’m impressed, and I must read more!

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Nan Gurley’s narration does justice to the characters’ personalities and voices as written. She takes us into the characters’ heads and beautifully portrays the emotions and challenges they’re going through. I look forward to a repeat performance in Book 2, If I’m Found. It’s going on my must-listen list.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: Distortion by Terri Blackstock

Title: Distortion
Author: Terri Blackstock
Narrator: Nan Gurley
Published: March 2014 by Zondervan and Brilliance Audio
Genre: Suspense, Christian fiction.
Series: Moonlighters, Book 2
Duration: 8 hours, 48 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book (from Publisher, Zondervan):

A husband’s lies can have deadly consequences.

When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her sons. But a threatening voicemail escalates this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.

Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too—unless she meets the killers’ demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband’s dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?

My Thoughts on the Story:

It was a pleasure to re-immerse myself into the world of private investigative “moonlighters” Juliet, Cathy, and Holly in this second book in Terri Blackstock’s Moonlighters series. This book reveals more about each sister’s unique personality, while immersing the trio in yet another mystery, with potentially life-or-death stakes. The sisters and their PI friend Michael make a great team, and it’s neat to see how much we learn about them each through their interactions in this story.

The author did a great job drawing me into the characters’ world and making me feel for them. Juliet in particular is going through a lot in this book. Not only has she lost her husband and father of her children, she’s also being forced to face the possibility that his character and their relationship weren’t quite what she thought they were. Consequently, the book takes on something of a mournful tone to match her mood. It’s not really a light read, but it is an emotionally gripping one.

The mystery element is suspenseful and at times quite exciting. It kept me turning the pages. Okay, not literally, since I had the audio edition, but you get what I mean, right? Did not want to hit that pause button. :)

At one point, the villains’ reasoning for escalating the situation didn’t make logical sense to me. Either I missed something or the characters did. But that instance aside, I was impressed with the story’s development. Plot twists came unexpectedly, but on thinking back, the clues were there, hiding in plain sight. Nicely done. I also liked the way Juliet’s faith colored her reactions within the story, particularly at the end.

You don’t have to have read Book 1 in order to understand and enjoy Book 2, but I’d recommend starting with Book 1 anyway (see my review). Why? The books in this series feature many of the same characters, and if you enjoy one, you’ll probably want to read the others too. And since they do take place in a particular chronological sequence, it kinda makes more sense to read them that way. 😉

Speaking of which, I remain curious to see how certain threads from Books 1 and 2 will be resolved in Book 3. And what kind of mess this family of moonlighting PIs will find themselves facing in the next installment.

My Thoughts on the Audio Edition:

The narrator who read this audiobook (Nan Gurley) is not the same one who read the earlier book in this series (Gabrielle De Cuir). I’m happy to report that I did not find the change jarring or unpleasant. The narrator for this audiobook did a great job with the reading, and I think her style and vocal quality were similar enough to what I remember of the earlier narrator’s performance that the change did not feel out of place. She did a great job reflecting the characters’ emotions, which made the story feel very true to life and gave an added sense of urgency at times. Character voices were differentiated enough that I could easily keep track of who was talking when, within a scene. Overall, a great choice for listening.

Thank you to Brilliance Audio for providing a copy of this audiobook for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | Goodreads | Author’s Site

Find the Audiobook: Audible | ChristianBook.com | christianaudio

Audiobook Review: Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock

Title: Truth Stained Lies
Author: Terri Blackstock
Series: Moonlighters, Book 1
Print Publisher: Zondervan
Audio Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Gabrielle De Cuir
Genre(s): mystery, suspense, Christian fiction
Published: 2013

Book Description (from publishers Zondervan and Brilliance Audio):

When truth doesn’t make sense, will lies prevail? Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she’s about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief . . . until her brother’s wife is murdered and all the “facts” point to him. The killer has staged the crime to make the truth too far-fetched to believe. Working to solve the murder and clear her brother’s name, Cathy and her two sisters, Holly and Juliet, moonlight as part-time private investigators. Juliet, a stay-at-home mom of two boys, and Holly, a scattered ne’er-do-well who drives a taxi, put aside their fear to hunt down the real killer. Stakes rise when their brother’s grieving five-year-old son is kidnapped. As police focus on the wrong set of clues, the three sisters and their battered detective friend are the only hope for solving this bizarre crime, saving the child, and freeing their brother.

My Thoughts:

Truth Stained Lies is a fascinating novel that starts out with the feel of a mystery, and develops features of suspense and a hint of romance as the plot thickens.  This is the first in the Moonlighters series of books by Terri Blackstock.  Distortion is second in the series, with Twisted Innocence releasing this month.

Besides featuring its own mystery to solve, this book does a fabulous job of introducing the interesting and (relatively) large cast of characters that populate the series as a whole.  At various times, it delves into the points of view of each of the three sisters in turn, as well as several other significant characters.  Within this first book, the author introduces us to the family dynamics as well as to each of the individual characters and their challenges.  The more I read about them, the more I want to read.  And while this story ends on a satisfying note, it also left me wanting to know more.  I’m definitely curious to find out what might be in store for these characters as the series continues.  Some romance perhaps?  More danger and intrigue?

I appreciated the strong Christian themes found in this book, which touched on grace & forgiveness.  It didn’t come across as preachy at all, maybe because none of the characters really have it all together.  No one is preaching at anyone else.  They’ve all got a Christian background, but they’re facing their own struggles and doubts, and they turn to each other for advice and help in their weaker moments. Judgment, forgiveness, family ties, uncertain futures, and painful pasts – these characters are dealing with a lot, all while moonlighting as private investigators.  Overall, it makes for a fascinating story, which I’m pleased to recommend.

Specific to the Audiobook:

I sought out this audiobook in particular not just because this was a series I wanted to read in order, but also because this title was an Audie Award finalist in the Inspirational Fiction category for 2014.  Quite the honor!  I held high hopes for an exceptional reading by this audiobook’s narrator, and I was not disappointed.

The audio edition of Truth Stained Lies was not just a reading.  It was a performance.  Narrator Gabrielle De Cuir did a great job showcasing the emotions of the characters and bringing the dialogue to life.  Each character’s voice reflected his or her unique personality and emotional state, even to the extent of going beyond what I might have picked up on in a strictly text-based reading.  I confess, at one point, I did wonder if the level of angst reflected in one character’s voice was a bit more than necessary, but overall, I loved the performance.  The reader’s interpretation throughout this audiobook was most definitely vivid and delightfully performed.  She didn’t pull any punches when it came to reading for emotional impact, and that made for an impressive listening experience that I would be happy to recommend.

Thank you to Zondervan and Brilliance Audio for providing me with a review copy of this audiobook.