Monday, November 24, 2014

A captivating, striking, and resonating thriller!



In The Second Captive, author Maggie James weaves an intriguing psychological thriller based upon the psychology of the Stockholm syndrome which was highlighted during a real event that took place in Stockholm, Sweden in August, 1973. However, James’s fine-tuned fingers of fiction tap out an absorbing account of much more than a rehash of a journalistic or historical rendition of a harrowing real life event. The author seems to have a fondness for taking the reader further than simple reality. And that she does with The Second Captive. 


James puts a modern day spin on her novel, and broadens it with deep layers of twisting suspense that ripple beyond the central character of Beth Sutton. The author cleverly coaxes the reader into a believable scenario of the “syndrome” becoming a harsh reality to an ordinary person. It is that possibility painted by the pen of James that puts the reader on the edge of one’s seat as well as the edge of reality. Scary, but that’s the rush that comes from anything James writes.

Protagonist Beth Sutton could easily be your family member, or even you, as you will discover when reading The Second Captive. James is masterful in crisscrossing the emotions and agendas of the protagonist, and antagonist, Dominic Perdue, as her novel proceeds. And Dominic wants something far beyond one’s imagination. What seems unthinkable and most unlikely, suddenly becomes all too real for all of James’s characters. And that alone peels back another layer of human relations, revealing the underlying fragility. James has a way of presenting her characters in full dimension, reflecting easily the connection between characters and reader. And that’s the point where a story becomes real, believable.
Maggie James, Author
 My reviews never divulge story elements, but I’m more than glad to let potential readers know you won’t be disappointed with The Second Captive. James does not allow her story to drag, and neither does she fill it with fluff. Every chapter is saturated with substance. Her word choice, and plot pacing will keep your pulse pumping, as you pant and fret along with her characters, begging for some kind of resolution and relief. Proof again that the excitement James spreads with ink is felt within the emotions of readers. You don’t just read a book by Maggie James, you experience it, emotionally!

Rather than hold my gold stars captive another moment, I gladly award 5-Stars for The Second Captive! Keep writing winners for your readers, Ms. James!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A tempting tangle of psychological thrills!



Psychological thriller fans will be in their comfort zone when reading Sister, Psychopath, a mind-stretching novel by author Maggie James.



            Initially the author introduces the reader to some seemingly ordinary polite individuals. That lasts for a few pages, and then things become a little off-center. As James’s characters unleash their personal agendas driven by deep-seated motivations, the reader is very likely to hug the edge of their seat, maybe even gnaw a couple fingernails to the quick. Remember Sister, Psychopath is a psychological thriller. It’ll mess with your mind, and I loved it!

Maggie James, Author


            James has mastered the craft of developing stand-out characters, whether the likable heroines or the despised villains. The author has a way of letting her characters tell the story to the reader in such a way that the full force of those characters comes alive on the pages of her books. Her characters could easily be the reader’s next door neighbor or in the case of Sister, Psychopath, the characters could be the reader’s family members, or one of the characters could easily be the reader. Yes, you! But that’s the chilling backbone of a psychological thriller, realizing there are no boundaries when it comes to thoughts and motivations of the human being.



            Sister, Psychopath is a perfect example of short-circuiting motivations that seem to be plentiful with James’s characters. No one has a corner on deceit, and no one has a monopoly on revenge. Neither does one individual have a lock on greed or scheming. But most important no one owns the process of rationalization which is rampant and rife in Maggie James’s novels. It’s that full-throttle quality that is an enjoyable hallmark of her books. Her characters generate maximum conflict and tension from their rationalizing, thus providing a harvest of psychological thrills for her readers.


            When I finished Sister, Psychopath I was tempted to book an appointment with the therapist down the street, just to get my head straight. But I decided against that idea; thought I’d wait until I read Maggie James’s next psychological thriller, The Second Captive, according to James’s website. Then I’ll be ready for some serious mind-straightening therapy.



            It only takes a little rationalization for me to give a Five-Star rating for Sister, Psychopath. A mind-bending read and hours of entertainment! I’ve cleared more space on my reading shelf for another Maggie James novel. Well done, Ms. James!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5-Star Review: Chain of Title



An endless chain of explosive events and emotions from page one!

From the time Shayna Chastain signed on the dotted line, her comfortable life of twenty-five years took a seemingly legal subtle turn, then raced out of control like a careening ride on a runaway big rig without a brake and with an endless, descending mountain road ahead.

Robyn Roze, Author

Are you breathless yet? You will be for the next 357 pages of Chain of Title. Author Robyn Roze has established her writing voice, one that fills her novels with realistic characters fully equipped with flaws, aspirations, wants, and needs. Character motivations that swirl in conflict as the plot simmers and thickens.

Chain of Title is quality work delivering a unique set of characters that are distinctly different, and yet find themselves meshed in a common gravitational pull on a collision course headed for an exciting cataclysmic ending. Emotionally explosive reading!

After the devastation backdrop on the first few pages, of particular interest to me as a reader, was the vibrant resilience of forty-eight-year-old Shayna Chastain, who now faces life on the other side of mid-life. Yes, Shayna is challenged by the calendar, but dormant embers of emotion are set aflame, blazing into a youthful romantic renaissance like she’d never thought possible. And one unknown man provided the spark. But another is determined to snuff it out. And now the chain of choices facing Shayna are loosened by the author, and the reader is at their mercy also.


Author Roze masters dialogue that makes a reader want to listen in on every conversation, even the most intimate ones. Roze deserves a gold pen for giving us honest to goodness adult conversations and interactions, reflecting adult inner thoughts of her mature characters. How refreshing that is in the sea of silliness and immaturity that surrounds much of our current day media choices!

I commend Robyn Roze for her masterful romantic suspense, Chain of Title. Now that you jerked our “chain,” Ms. Roze, we’re hooked on your novels, and linked to your writing. While you decide where you’re taking us next in your writing world, I’m happy to hook another Five Stars to your growing collection!