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Always Watching (The Rayne Tour, Book 1) Paperback – May 10, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Sixteen-year-old Shaley O'Connor is on tour with her rock-star mother when she discovers the corpse of her mother's hairstylist backstage. Determined to solve the mystery, Shaley becomes an amateur sleuth. Coauthored by best-selling suspense novelist Brandilyn Collins (Dark Pursuit), three-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Award, and her daughter Amberly, this solid teen mystery, the initial entry in a new series, will appeal to young girls and adults who enjoy a good yarn. The mother-daughter sleuthing team is appealing, making this a solid choice for mother-daughter book clubs. Recommended for public libraries.
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Review

“This solid teen mystery, the initial entry in a new series, will appeal to young girls and adults who enjoy a good yarn.” (Library Journal)

“… a fast paced whodunit set against the intriguing backdrop of rock star celebrity. [Brandilyn’s] adult fans will find much to rave about, while new teen readers will love the youthful voice and perspective that Amberly Collins brings to the table ... Mother and daughter have stormed onto the YA scene in exhilarating style.” (The Christian Manifesto)

“Shaley and Rayne are not believers. However, Shaley has a clear sense that she is missing something valuable in her life. Carly Sanders, one of the band's back-up singers, is a Christian. She is a solid lifeline in the midst of the tragedy, offering prayer and comfort when Shaley is on the brink of despair. Carly speaks openly with Shaley about her Father in heaven and assures Shaley that she is not alone in her grief. Shaley asks why bad things happen, and Carly admits that she doesn't know everything. Instead, she shares her own story of redemption and encourages Shaley to rely on God for strength. Although Shaley does not immediately accept God's salvation, Carly's gentle and persistent faith stirs her to contemplate the truth behind the claims of Christianity.” (Focus on the Family)

“With a satisfying ending, Always Watching leaves enough of a cliffhanger to make you want to finish the tour!” (The Suspense Zone.com)

“…this book turns into a suspenseful read for teens, complete with a cliffhanger ending.” (Living with Teenagers Magazine, September 2009)

“It is incredibly refreshing to read fiction for young women that does not have a vampire or a morose, moody, teenage girl as the hero… This is a great one to hand off to your book-obsessed junior-high girls.” (Youth Worker Journal)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310715393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310715399
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Collins is a fine writer who knows how to both horrify readers and keep them turning pages." -- Publishers Weekly

"Collins keeps coming with fascinating, unique plots." --RT BookReviews

"Brandilyn Collins, the queen of Seatbelt Suspense®, certainly lives up to her well-deserved reputation." -- CBA Retailers

"[Collins is] a master of her craft ... intensity, tension, high-caliber suspense, and engaging mystery." -- The Christian Manifesto

"Collins keeps the reader gasping and guessing ... artistic prose paints vivid pictures ... High marks for original plotting and superb pacing." -- RT BookClub
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Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and best-selling novelist known for her trademarked Seatbelt Suspense®--fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. She also writes insightful contemporary novels with rich characters. She is often blamed for keeping her readers up at night, as they "just have to see what happens next."




In nonfiction, Brandilyn is known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). Writers Digest Magazine named Getting Into Character one of the top books on writing of 2002.

You can read excerpts from all Brandilyn's books at her Web site: www.brandilyncollins.com. That's also a good place to subscribe to her free newsletter, Sneak Pique, so you can be among the first to know about her latest releases.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jake on April 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Shaley O'Connor has the kind of life most girls would do anything for: A rock star mom, limitless wealth, and the celebrity status to boot. What teenager wouldn't want to tour with one of the world's most famous bands? Unfortunately, the fame soon loses its power and appeal when one of Shaley's closest friends is murdered back stage at the latest concert. As new evidence comes to light she soon realizes her own life is in danger. Not knowing who to trust, Shaley turns to the God who has always seemed so far to help her in her greatest time of need.

Mother and daughter team Brandilyn and Amberly Collins have stormed onto the YA scene in exhilarating style with this great new series. Always Watching is a fast paced whodunit set against the intriguing backdrop of rock star celebrity. From the opening lines, we are immersed into Shaley's exciting life as a celebrity's daughter. It doesn't take long for us to see that fame is not all its cut out to be. Indeed Shaley's struggle to balance her public status with her true identity is one of the most interesting aspects of this story.

When you read Brandilyn Collins you expect mystery and thrills, and once again she doesn't disappoint. Her adult fans will find much to rave about here, while new teen readers will love the youthful voice and perspective that Amberly Collins brings to the table. Underlying the tension and dread is a strong spiritual message about trusting in the God who is always watching over us. In the end we are left with the closure we long for and a promise of even more mystery to come. The Rayne Tour is in full swing and you can guarantee that I won't miss a show.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By PurpleKat VINE VOICE on December 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Could a novel targeted at middle school girls possibly be more cliched than this one? The characters in this book are not good role models for teenage girls. The multiple older men who are obsessed with the main character was a disturbing element that made me wonder what the authors could possibly have been thinking, especially given that one of them was depicted in a positive light.

This novel is a short, easy read. The mystery itself is actually quite good, with a red herring that can easily mislead, but with the actual killer well set up. But the mystery is the only thing about the book that's any good.

Where to start? The main character, Shaley O'Connor and her best friend Brittany are both 'popular and attractive' -- thin, beautiful, fashion and makeup conscious, with no subtlety or depth to their characters. Shaley is annoyingly immature; what depth she has involves whining and throwing temper tantrums about her missing father, and her famous mother who doesn't pay enough attention to her. She insists that she would give up all the money and perks for time with her mother, but in the very next scene is off spending atrocious amounts of money shopping for clothes.

Brittany, her best friend, is little more than an accessory. She has no personality, aside from the bizarre quirk of 'sometimes being able to see the future' (a very crude plot device that is used once, unnecessarily, at the beginning and is never useful again). She disappears when it's inconvenient to have her around, so that she's left behind several times when Shaley goes to do important stuff elsewhere. And when the time comes for Shaley to finally really break down and need comfort, even with Brittany right there, she calls in a third party to console her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Mann VINE VOICE on January 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Always Watching" is a fast-moving mystery that begins when one of the members of a rock tour is murdered backstage. Shaley O'Connor, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the band's lead singer and star, is especially upset as she was a friend of the victim and also found the body. But the show must go on, and the band packs up and heads to the next venue. Meanwhile, Shaley gets frightening messages, receives words of comfort and religion from one of the band, is stalked by paparazzi, and receives an apparently psychic warning from her friend, who has flown in to join Shaley during the tour.

The story at the heart of the book is OK, but there are elements that don't seem to fit well. It is not clear, for example, whether the religious aspect is supposed to be taken as part of the book's message or merely as one character's views. Either one is fine, but the book seems to skirt uneasily between the two (especially with one character, Shaley's friend, who apparently has psychic visions). A major difficulty, at least for me, is that the book is not self-contained. There are two mysteries in the book. The first is the identity of the killer, and the second is the identity of Shaley's father. Only one is revealed. The other is teased for subsequent books. There's nothing wrong with a series, of course, but it's good to know ahead of time that the book is not self-contained. As for the mystery, I did not see any particular clues or red herrings, so those who want a chance to solve their mysteries will not have much of a chance here.

Finally, the characters seem too insignificant to really care about. Shaley, for instance, responds to the murder and the intense security around her by going shopping at a mall. The authors do go to lengths to establish Shaley's need to escape from a hotel room, but the destination is the point. Maybe this spoiled little rich girl will grow in future books. What I read here, though, doesn't make me want to find out.
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