Live and Let Die by Bianca Sloane
655 KB or 290 pages
655 KB or 290 pages
On a bitterly cold January evening, Tracy Ellis went for a jog along Chicago’s snowy lakefront and disappeared. Her body was discovered days later, her beautiful face bashed in with a rock. Police determine her brutal death to be a mugging gone wrong and drop the matter into their cold case files.
Over a year later, Tracy’s sister, Sondra, still can’t come to grips with what happened. She throws herself into her work as a documentary filmmaker to try and forget the cruelty of her sister’s death. However, a chance encounter with a man from Tracy’s past rips the wound open and sends Sondra on a desperate search for answers about the secrets from her sister’s life that may have led to her death.
As Sondra struggles to uncover what happened to Tracy, she’s launched into a tangled web of deceit and danger that puts her on a collision course with life and death…
Live and Let Die by Bianca Sloane is a psychological thriller wrapped around a murder mystery. The novel opens with a mysterious woman named Paula needing hospitalization in a mental institution. Then we meet Sondra Ellis. Sondra wants nothing but happiness for her younger sister, Tracy, as she marries Phillip, but that happiness is short lived. Tracy is found brutally murdered, which has left Sondra, their parents, and Phillip to try to recover and pull their lives back together.
After a year has passed, Phillip sends a letter to Tracy's mother saying that he has remarried, which re-opens the family's grief. Sondra always though Phillip was weird, but if Tracy loved him then she must have saw something in him that the family missed. However, Sondra runs into an old boyfriend of Tracy's and discovers that Tracy may not have been as happily married as everyone thought, which leads her to look more closely at Phillip and her sister's marriage. Meanwhile Phillip is happily married to Paula, who is slavishly devoted to precisely following his every order.
For a debut novel, Live and Let Die flows very smoothly - or perhaps I should say "gallops" because I was reading at a frantic pace to discover what happens next. It certainly is a well written mystery that kept me engaged throughout and doesn't quite follow a predictable formula. Oh, I thought I had things figured out, and my conclusions seemed to be close, but were soon proved incorrect. Plus, there is an extra twist at the very end that I was not expecting at all. The unpredictability of the ending is another sign of a debut writer who deserves success and I expect to hear a lot more about her in the future.
I liked the characters, especially Sondra's determination and attitude. Phillip and Paula were disturbing, but I don't want to say much more about that. I will have to admit that in the beginning of the novel if Sondra ran her fingers through her dark, tangled hair and then frantically needed a cigarette one more time I was considering setting the book aside.Then, as the action picked up and things started to get very intriguing, those actions seemed to stop, or at least they no longer bothered me.
Currently Live and Let Die is available as an eBook. Bianca Sloane has two other novels coming out: Sweet Little Lies and Every Breath You Take.
(Check out Bianca Sloane's website.)
Very Highly Recommended - and please read to the very end!
He looked down at her and brushed a stray lock of hair from her face. “Paula. Her name is Paula.” Location 121
Tracy turned to look at herself in the bedroom’s full-length mirror, examining herself from every angle. “You know why I wanted you to wait, right?”
Sondra chuckled. “I knew something had to be up. Alright, spill it.”
“My something new. Mommy gave me something blue and borrowed, Cicely gave me the old, so… that leaves you as something new.” Tracy started examining her eye makeup in the mirror. “God knows I don’t want anything old or borrowed from you. No telling what trashcan you might have pulled it out of.”
“Jeez, you drag one table home from a curb in the eighties and you’re branded for life.”
“Keep playing innocent. Now, come on, let’s go. Cough it up.” Location 138-144
“I’m gonna miss her too. But, my cell phone is one of those global things and I’ll have access to email, though it may not be the greatest.” Sondra put the plate down on the table, only half of the cake eaten. “We’ll still be in touch.” Location 213
Her body had been discovered along the lakefront, her face bashed in. Her empty wallet was found a few feet away and the police ruled it to be a mugging gone wrong, but had no leads. Phillip took on the gruesome task of IDing the body. Location 271-273
It had been brutal to have them all there, fawning all over him, offering their condolences and memories. He’d wanted to run screaming from the house and counted the minutes until he was free of all well-wishers, grieving friends, and in-laws. Location 304-306
“Downtown. She was out running some errands, and kind of like you and I today, we just ran into each other.”
“How was she? I mean how did she seem?”
Jack hesitated for a moment. “Unhappy.”
“What, like she was having a bad day?”
Jack shook his head and slumped back against the peeling vinyl seat, the material crackling under his movements. “No, that wasn’t it.”
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Bianca Sloane for review purposes.