Friday, December 30, 2016

Reader's Review: "Blood Ties" by J. D. Cunegan


Synopsis from Amazon:

For as long as Jill Andersen could remember, her father was a hero.

But heroes don’t commit murder, do they? The state of Maryland said Paul Andersen did just that, three times over, and was set to execute him for it. But Jill and the rest of her colleagues at the Baltimore Police Department come across the murder of a law student that leaves her hopeful that she can clear her father’s name.

While Jill and her colleagues work against the clock to clear her father’s name, new players emerge, hinting to a deeper, darker conspiracy than what was previously known. An enigmatic faction known as The Order reveals itself, and the mystery surrounding Paul’s alleged duplicity leaves more questions than answers.

Along the way, Jill must not only face the possibility that her father was not who she thought he was, but she must also face the prospect of her secret being revealed. The stakes are higher than ever in Blood Ties, the intense follow-up to J.D. Cunegan’s debut mystery Bounty.

Can Jill save her father before it’s too late? Will she even want to?

>>>>>>

My Review:

What's better than really good fanfiction written for a favorite show that is no longer on the air?

Try a whole series of original crime novels inspired by the show! This fangirl could NOT be happier!

Cunegan builds on the excellent foundation laid in the first novel, Bounty, with Blood Ties, a sequel that does its due diligence in supplying outcomes for the issues in the first book, as well as setting up further complications and consequences with implications lasting beyond the confines of this installment. Jill's father is on death row, a string of homicides are discovered with hallmarks of the murders alleged to his name—so is it a copycat, or will an innocent man pay for the crimes of another? 

My favorite part of this whole mystery, though, has to be the part that Cunegan accomplishes, setting him apart from the "canned crime genre" novelists like James Patterson, Brad Thor, and, dare I say, the "Richard Castle" ghostwriters themselves (BAD move on that last one, guys! Way to blow it... as if that finale wasn't awful enough...), and putting him solidly in Camp Baldacci (far and away my ALL TIME FOREVER favorite!) along with the greats like Anthony Horowitz, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—

Cunegan keeps the focus on relationships. Other authors get carried away with sensational scenarios or making blatant social and political statements with their characters (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) but not him. In fact, (minor spoilers) the investigations are almost sideshows to the vast importance placed on developing Jill as a sympathetic character, and her quest—since she voluntarily takes herself off the investigation because of the resemblance to her father's case—to come to terms with her only remaining family, her father and her brother. Namely, the repercussions for hiding her vigilante identity from everyone for so long—such secrets inevitably come to light, and what if she can't control the circumstances of yet revelation? How will the distance affect them? It's beautiful and I would definitely follow the series clear on through JUST for those touching and beautifully-wrought scenes! Not just Jill, though—the precinct is jam-packed with worthy characters and entertaining relationships! Ramon, Jorge, Juanita, Watson and Blankenship, Captain Richards--the list goes on! The fantastic mystery and investigations that are sure to accompany are icing on the cake that is a SOLID ensemble full of all the heart and driving soul to carry a story through the most generic arcs! 

As a sequel, BLOOD TIES accomplished everything a sequel should do, joining the main storyline and building on what the first book introduced, without slacking the pace any. It's a superb consolation for any fan of the show Castle! I give BLOOD TIES a full *****5 STAR***** rating, and I am excited to see what is in store for the rest of the series!
 
Further Reading (Paranormal/Sci-fi/Crime/Mystery Thriller/Awesome Series)
 
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey
       -The Way
       -The Truth
       -The Lie
 
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland
     -Dance Into The Wyrd 
 
 
The Grave Reports--R. R. Virdi
        -Grave Beginnings
        -Grave Measures

The PSS Chronicles--Ripley Patton
       -Ghost Hand
       -Ghost Hold
       -Ghost Heart
       -Ghost Hope