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Monday, September 4, 2017

#CJSReads Review: Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton @minotaurbooks @authorsjbolton

Dead Woman Walking
by Sharon Bolton
Minotaur Books
Publishing 9/5/17

A vague synopsis leaves you going in blind... and that's just the way we like it.  See what #CJSReads had to say about this twisty tale of a hot-air balloon ride gone wrong.  

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Dead Woman Walking, from master of suspense Sharon Bolton, the sole survivor of a hot-air balloon crash witnesses a murder as the balloon is falling.

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There's just one survivor. She's seen the killer's face - but he's also seen hers. And he won't rest until he's eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she's running to where she feels safe - but it could be the most dangerous place of all...

My Review:

A hot-air balloon ride gone wrong.  Sole survivor, Jessica, is hurt and on the run as the person responsible for this tragic event is hunting her.  Trusting no one and refusing to go to the police, she heads back to her safe places just to be confronted with truths - some she didn't see coming. 

This is my first Sharon Bolton and what a doozy!  The synopsis on the back is very vague and you go in practically blind.  Which I love!  The book opens with the hot-air balloon ride and we already know there's only one survivor; then quickly we know who the villain is.  So now we have a story of why rather than who.  Told through various POVs and jumping back and forth from past to present events, there are surprises at every turn.  I love the uniqueness of the hot-air balloon being the opening scene.  Bolton brings you immediately into the action and easily puts you right in their with the passengers, their fears, panic and all around reactions to the situation at hand.  Her build of each character really puts you right into their mindsets, but is done in such a way that while you're learning about them, she's still leaving you dangling to want the why behind the actions.  She also touches on quite a few disturbing scenarios and isn't afraid of making you cringe a bit.  (No complaints here, I've always been a fan of cringing.)  I will say that with all the back and forth and many characters, I did feel a little confused at first.  But very quickly caught up and was nose first into the book with no stop in sight.

I'm going to leave this review short and sweet so as to keep you going in basically blind, as the book gods intended.  If you're looking for complex characters with twisty revelations that I seriously doubt you'll see coming, then I highly recommend this book to you.  Just when I thought my jaw had dropped for the last time, Bolton drops it again.  That last chapter.... did.not.see.that.coming!  

Jessica's Thoughts:

This as my introduction to Sharon Bolton and I was not disappointed! DEAD WOMAN WALKING had an intriguing description so I dove right in, well once I started I couldn't stop! I'm definitely going to be grabbing more of her books. 

The book starts off with a hot air balloon ride gone wrong. Sounds terrifying, right? There is one survivor that leaves unharmed, Jessica Lane. How can a day with her sister turn into a nightmare? Not only is she the sole survivor, but she has seen the face of the killer - and he's seen her. So now she is in a game of cat and mouse. Will she be able to get away?

The pacing of this book was fantastic! It's a page turner, so once you start you won't want to stop. Short chapters are the best, in my opinion. I read chapter to chapter, so if an author keeps them short then I usually end up reading most of the book in one sitting (the "oh it's only a few pages, I'll do one more chapter" mentality!) The different perspectives in the chapters and bouncing timeline keep you on your toes! 

I don't want to give away too much more, a vague description almost requires a vague review! Overall, if you want a fast-paced thriller with complex characters and plenty of twists thrown in, then you need to pick up DEAD WOMAN WALKING! Bolton kept me guessing til the end and I'll be grabbing more of her books. 

I give this 5/5 stars

Sam's Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton.  I had never read a Sharon Bolton book before and I always go into a new author’s work with excitement and with a little apprehension.  Will I like their writing style?  Will I appreciate the tone of the story?  Now that I am finished, I am pleased to say that I can safely add Sharon Bolton to a list of my “must read authors” because I DEVOURED this book!

The novel opens with a balloon accident gone wrong (please note, this is my worst nightmare) leaving several passengers dead, others critical injured, all except for one.  Jessica Lane, on the ride with her sister, survives the accident and finds herself immediately in danger after witnessing a horrible crime minutes before the crash.  As a game of cat and mouse ensues, Jessica must follow her instincts and try to return to the only place she has ever felt safe- but could it be her sanctuary is the most dangerous place of them all?

From the pacing to the plot, this one had me completely on the edge of my seat.  I read it in a single sitting, binging on each chapter and relishing in the story.  I absolutely loved the short chapters; a smart choice by Bolton, I felt like I couldn’t put this book down.   I was also a huge fan of our protagonist, Jessica, who is mourning her sister and running from a killer.  I found her to be incredibly likeable and developed.  Truly, even the secondary characters in this novel were memorable to me.  I loved that Bolton gave each their own backstory.   

There were a few things, although I loved the book that I found a little problematic; I did find the switches in time periods a little confusing at times.  There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of rhyme or reason at the time and not all the chapters were clearly labeled.   I also didn’t love the ending; I felt like the story on its own gave me enough resolution and I didn’t need the little tidbit at the end.  It felt like it was thrown in.  I am obviously being vague since I don’t want to give any spoilers but it didn’t really feel like it fit.

Regardless of my nitpicking, I really did love the book and will absolutely ready more novels by this author.  4/5 stars! 

Big thank you to Minotaur Books for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

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