Throwback Thursday: A Time To Kill by John Grisham

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk ( as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

This week, I pay tribute to one of my favorite crime-novel authors, John Grisham with A Time To Kill.



A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1) by John Grisham

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle — and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life…and then his own.

Dateline: Clanton, Mississippi. Early 1980s.

One day, ten-year-old girl Tonya was found almost a breath away from death. Two vicious drunk drug addicts had earlier assaulted, raped and tied her and they thought she was already dead. Fortunately, she survived and the men who violated her were caught and arrested.

That’s where lawyer Jake Brigance came into the picture. Carl Lee Hailey asked for his help to bring the evil thugs to justice. But Brigance noted that Carl was a black man and he was barking on two white supremacists, thus there was a possibility that they could be freed. Pissed and mad about the discovery, Carl took matters into his own hands and killed her daughter’s perpetrators.

Brigance formally took Carl’s murder case, the townsfolk not entirely on their side because, in this quaint little town of Clayton, black people weren’t really welcomed. Thus began the grueling, life-threatening journey of Carl, Tonya, their family and the entire black race.

This was the very first John Grisham courtroom drama that I have read almost 20 years ago after watching the movie adaptation. (Okay, I admit, I had a huge girl crush on Sandra Bullock at that time and I found Matthew McConaughey quite dapper when he was still wearing clothes & Americana suit. Spare me the ridicules because he was totally different back then. LOL)

Anyway, earlier this year, I re-arranged my super disorganized book shelf (or should I say, book box) and found this classic treasure sandwiched in between Sidney Sheldon and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. I couldn’t help but read it again. John Grisham has been one of my early favorite authors, next to Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon. A Time To Kill was one of the first books he wrote and he wrote it with intensity, candor and audacity. Grisham clearly knew what he was writing and he took care of people’s race and dynamics in every situation. He made me believe that I was part of the jury and a questionable justice system.

Racism, justice, morality and thought-provoking questions grabbed me from the start. Twenty years ago, I was dazzled by the book and the movie. Twenty years later, Grisham still had the same effect on me. Impressive!


Review: Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell


Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta #4)
by Patricia Cornwell

Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is called in to autopsy the body of convicted murderer Ronnie Waddell after his execution. Several days after the execution, a young boy is discovered murdered in the fashion of Waddell’s earlier killings, with Waddell’s prints near the body. Scarpetta, along with FBI Agent Benton Wesley and Detective Pete Marino, try to discover how a dead inmate could have possibly committed another murder after his death. As the story progresses she seeks the assistance of her 17-year-old niece Lucy after she discovers a strange folder on her computer.


Kay Scarpetta steps up her game in this series. She confronted the most bizarre of the many controversies involved in her body of work yet. Everyone wonders how Ronnie Joe Waddell’s unique fingerprint appears at the murder scene of Eddie Heath a few hours after Waddell was executed. Dr. Scarpetta, together with her expert team consisting of the charismatic Pete Marino, Benton Wesley and her niece Lucy, they went to great lengths to investigate and expose the murderer, but not without her getting practically destroyed.

Among the female crime writers I’ve read, I think the legendary Patricia Cornwell is my favorite. She’s got to be an exceptional author who uses her expertise in the investigative field to make sure that there is substance in the novels that she write. I like how her stories get me engaged until I have reached the last page of the book. Truly this has been a nail-biting suspense mystery that readers and thrill seekers would appreciate and enjoy.



Review: Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton


Repressed (Deadly Secrets #1)
by Elisabeth Naughton

officialsynopHidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden, and this time no one will be safe.

officialreviewSamantha Parker never wanted to go back to Hidden Falls, seventeen years after the death of her brother. But she had to. Hidden Falls was small town surrounded by familiar people, old memories and apparently, a deep dark secret involving one of its beloved citizens.

Dr. Ethan McClane, a psychologist, got a new assignment, and that’s acting as the therapist for a juvenile delinquent Thomas Adler. He didn’t realize though that he’d be traveling back to Hidden Falls. Nearly two decades had passed, no one recognized him, but he still couldn’t forget that one night that changed it all for him.

Strange things started to happen right after Samantha got back to Hidden Falls. Her windows were vandalized, her chemistry lab got broken in, a skull was dug not far away from the cabin she’d seen when she was a child, and a number of people fell dead inside her house. And her nightmares seemed to have come back. Nightmares that she never understood.

Repressed really has a very interesting plot. The killings were mystifying. For every suspect I had in mind, each fell down one by one. When I thought I finally knew the killer, in the end, I was proven wrong again, left dumbfounded, shocked at the turn of events. The characters were also outstanding. Samantha didn’t get easily scared, despite the mess she’d been in. And Ethan McClane, he makes me want to go get a shrink and have myself psycho-analyzed. I would love to be adopted by the older McClane, too! The suspects surely got me twisted. That’s how good the story was, and man, did it really got me riled up.

This is my nth book by Elisabeth Naughton, and like always, I am in awe of her stories. Repressed is a mystery/suspense/romance thriller that got me grunting, hyperventilating, cursing and screaming for more. Every chapter promised anxiety, anticipation and blood-curling tension that only Naughton could deliver.Great job, Elisabeth!


My Rating:



Review: Sleight of Hand by Kate Wilhelm

sleightSleight of Hand
(Barbara Holloway # 9)
by Kate Wilhelm
Paperback, published 2007

officialsynopGregarious Vegas entertainer Wally Lederer has a lucrative showbiz career, but when a childhood friend accuses him of stealing a valuable artifact, his checkered past comes back to haunt him. Wally claims he’s turned his life around since spending time in the slammer for picking pockets, but will the police believe him? More important, does Barbara believe him when he pleads his case to her?

Wally swears he’s innocent. But when his accuser is found murdered, Barbara knows Wally is in serious trouble—the police have named him as their prime suspect.

Barbara begins to dig up the dirt, and before long new evidence points toward an unlikely killer. Now Barbara must decide if protecting her client by revealing the truth will destroy another life she means to save.


Wally Lederer had been accused and had served time in jail for theft. Five years later, he was freed and vowed to never go back to his old stealing ways. He promised his wife he’d changed, because if he failed, Meg would readily divorce him.

Over the years, he’d kept to his promise and lived a good, clean life as an entertainer. One day, he chanced upon an old friend, Jay Wilkins and the two had a drink in his friend’s home. Things didn’t go well between the two when Jay accused Wally of stealing his golden horse statue. So he asked for his friend Frank Holloway’s help about this matter, but the old man refused, said that he no longer practiced criminal defense. His daughter Barbara stepped in.

When they were about to prove Wally’s innocence, Jay Wilkins was soon found dead – murdered. And every finger pointed to Wally, given his history and recent fight with the victim. Was Wally guilty as charged? Or not?

I’ve read a couple of Barbara Holloway novels before and as always, the author Kate Wilhelm reminds me of my favorite author Sidney Sheldon. Her novels always makes my brain work like that of a CSI detective. I tend to analyze every detail, doubt every character, look for loopholes, determine the suspect and in the end, be surprised with the twists. Somehow, I was able to easily identify with Barbara Holloway, the lawyer because she strive hard to help innocent people and uphold their interests and integrity. Her relationship with her father was also something to look forward to.

But more than that, I was moved by the grace, directness and humor of Kate WIlhelm’s writing and world building. Sleight of Hand is another suspense mystery that’s sure to make you think deeper and deeper as you enjoy devouring the pages, from start to finish.

My rating: 



Review: Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern

Guaranteed to Bleed  Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]
(The Country Club Murders #2)
by Julie Mulhern

With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.



★★★★★: Awesome!!! I really loved this book! (Highly recommended)

It was year 1974. Ellison Russell was only supposed to get her pricey lipstick which fell off the stands during a chaotic football game. What she found instead was the body of a dying boy about the age of her daughter. Bobby Lowell. With just only a few seconds to spare, he told Ellison, ““Tell her I love her.”

If you were the one in Ellison’s place, what would you do?

Ellison’s daughter, Grace, held an impromptu sleepover the night Bobby Lowell died, and we met her other friends, Kim, Peggy & Debbie plus the new girl, Donna. Together they mourned his death, especially Grace who recently lost his father. Ellison herself was overwhelmed by the situation, especially with blood in her hands. Would she ever discover the girl Bobby loved? Would she be able to tell her he loved her?

Even though Ellison’s focus was to find the girl Bobby had loved, she unknowingly uncovered the possible reasons why he was killed. There was the case of the overly infatuated girl, Alice Standish who had been pining for Bobby’s attention for so long, it made her look obsessed. There was also her father who hid behind mascara, long lashes and queer clothes. There’s also the grieving best friend Jack McCreary and his father John who had been grumpy and rude to Ellison whenever she asked about Jack’s friendship with Bobby. And the newcomer, Donna, who’s got secrets of her own. Dirty little secrets that involved her stepfather.

A great addition to the list of interesting characters were Detective Anarchy Jones, the police officer who clearly had feelings for Ellison, & there’s lawyer, Hunter Tafft, whom Ellison tried hard to get away from. I also liked that the story was set in the 1970’s. It brings major throwback to the time when avocado green telephones were the “IT” thing. No gadgets, no touch screens, no wi-fi connection. Communication between people were personal, intimate and heartfelt.

Guaranteed to Bleed is guaranteed to make you holler, scream, guess, second guess and guess again. I must admit I was twice mistaken with my guesses about Bobby’s murderer but I knew about the girl he loved. An amalgamation of different characters will surely make this story a delight and pleasure to read. Julie Mulhern is now one of the authors I’ll definitely watch out for!

NOTE: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

AuthorLogoJulie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean—and she’s got an active imagination.

Truth is—she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. She is a 2014 Golden Heart® Finalist. The Deep End is her first mystery and is the winner of The Sheila Award.


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