book, Book Review

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

About the Book: Book - Distortion
Author: Terri Blackstock
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Litfuse Publicity
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon Blogger ▪ Goodreads Novel Crossing 
Series: Moonlighters – Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Suspense, Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5

My familiarity with Terri Blackstock may be limited to only two novels and though I’m quite late to the party, it’s not hard to easily get wrapped up in her writing. Book two in her Moonlighters series may not have been my favorite but it’s still a solid mystery that doesn’t follow genre convention. Fifteen years of marriage has meant happy stability and savoring the “good days” for Juliet Cole. Married to a successful doctor with two sons, Juliet is a happy stay-at-home mom who thinks her husband Bob is also an overworked yet happy family man. When her husband is murdered right in front of her in a dark parking lot, Juliet falls apart unsure how to tell her sons their father is no longer coming home. Family friend and private investigator Michael Hogan begins working on the case especially given how little time the police seem to be giving to the Kramer family given their family name has just worked past a family tragedy. Along with Juliet’s sisters Holly and Cathy – who also happens to be dating Michael – the gang investigate what could have possibly pegged the mild-mannered Bob Cole as a target, only the answers they find uncover more questions than the truth Juliet so desperately needs.

With a fabulous fun concept (three sisters who “moonlight” as PI’s) and another family unit for avid readers to feel a sense of familial affection for (the McKenna, McKinley, Christiansen families all come to mind), Blackstock has started off running with this series. I cannot help but respect the Kramer family on a whole new level; the characters are very unconventional. Simply put, the characters have a delightful sense of quirkiness that is hard to ignore.  Holly is the rebel of the bunch, Cathy the grown-up and then there is Juliet, the dutiful mother, wife and Christian whose world has been comfortable, safe and sound in her identity as Bob Cole’s wife. When that is stripped from her, Juliet is floating, unsure what to do (what she should believe, how she should plan for the future, worry over the finances) and where to go from a life now broken.  It was refreshing to read about a group who were flawed yet didn’t step past the line of being unlikable.

What is really interesting about this story is that even though the books pick a sibling that the summary zeroes in on both have involved the siblings in more than just a perfunctory way. With exception to perhaps Jay who – poor guy – is usually left behind to take care of the kids, this really limits how well we get to know him. In Distortion’s case, the attention may have shifted to Juliet though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I thought it was a pity the conceptual stories followed each other so closely. Both deaths were as a result of different matters and choices, nevertheless it seemed too “easy” to have the spouses be the victims; I admire the fact we didn’t know Bob well in the first book so it wasn’t someone we great fond of, if for no other reason than lack of time, and it wasn’t “hard” to discover he was a victim. Perhaps it’s just that I had read the books right after the other that lent to a feeling of repetition though no matter what it was, it really didn’t hinder the satisfaction of the experience.

Fans of Blackstock or mysteries in general should look into this series. It’s written very well and doesn’t miss writing about God in a very real, relatable way – something all inspirational fiction readers are likely to admire.   

Synopsis: When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is gunned down in a dark parking lot before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning. When she’s finally allowed to return home to break the news to her boys, she hears a voicemail that takes the situation from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack. ‘Mrs. Cole, we know you have access to the supply and the money. If you don’t turn fifty million over to us and give us the codes, then you’ll be burying more family members.’ Suddenly, Juliet realizes that she and her children could be in danger. She teams up with her sisters and PI Michael Hogan to dig into the sham Bob has been living for years. The more she learns, the worse the betrayal. A drug trafficking history, a fortune in cash, and a secret family all emerge to turn Juliet’s belief system on its head, and threaten the things she loves. Are she and her sisters skilled enough as sleuths to get to the truth? – Goodreads  

Sincere thanks to the publisher and Litfuse for providing a complimentary (ARC) copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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