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Burned: A Tragic Mystery Paperback – August 14, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (August 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432724436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432724436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,512,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Twelve years ago J. A. Nevling set out with an idea and a dream; writing and publishing a novel. Careful molding, dedication and assertiveness can turn a dream into a reality. It will occur to just a select few, but without a dream, you're just sleeping.

Customer Reviews

Edge of your chair reading.
Julie A. Wall
Burned: A Tragic Mystery was a fast and absorbing read, with good dialogue and crisp plotting.
Linda Bulger
This book is a definite adventure in reading.
Betty Gelean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on June 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I admit that I was flattered when asked to review this book, especially as I have yet to plunge into that coveted list of top 1,000 reviewers. The author has a good sense of humor, noting from my profile page, that I love to read while cuddling with my cat and sipping tea. He wished me happy reading and urged me to "get the tea brewing and find a cat to cuddle with." That I did. This book is a page-turner: once you start it, you want to know what happens and how it will all be resolved.

At first glance, I thought that this book might be taking on too much: a baby left badly burned through her father's negligence, the mother leaving the dad, the mother starting a new life and career, AND the mother's new career involving a company embezzlement cover-up. It seemed that any one of the above issues could stand alone as the plot line for a 200+ page novel. Fortunately, I was proven wrong. Nevling deftly interweaves the past and present in this book, and the winding plot is suspenseful without seeming overladen.

Possible spoilers
You can sympathize simultaneously with Sharon, the angry and distraught mother, and Jim, the abandoned father whose mistake of negligence couldn't have been more unintentional. Sharon needed her space to work through her reaction to the accident, so her "impulsive decision" to separate from Jim wasn't such a bad idea in hindsight. It's what she needed to do to process the accident and reevaluate what's important to her. Her job as an accountant at Prescott Inc. helped to distract her from her recovering baby and separated husband. Yet Sharon cannot reconcile some extravagant travel expenses posted by her supervisor. That overcharging seems like child's play compared to the millions of dollars being diverted from the company's account.
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Format: Paperback
In Burned: A Tragic Mystery, first time author J.A. Nevling weaves an exciting tale of intrigue and suspense that kept me turning the pages long past the time when I should have been sound asleep.

Sharon and Jim Nagol are first time parents living in San Diego with their 9 month old daughter, Anna. While Sharon is out for the day with a friend, Jim is left to tend the baby and enjoy the football game on the big screen TV. Unfortunately, his first time alone with his daughter ends in tragedy when a fire breaks out and both are seriously hurt and possibly dying. As events continue to unfold in the aftermath of the accident, the author takes us a few months forward where we find Sharon living in an apartment, alone, in Los Angeles. She has a new job as an accountant at Prescott Incorporated, where she gets hit on by her boss and stumbles across some shady bookkeeping that may or may not, land her in a heap of trouble. After she is nearly killed in an accident that really isn't an accident, the wild ride really begins and the reader is left guessing until the very end.

The author writes the story in an alternating present/past format that adds to the mystery and tends to leave the reader on the edge of a cliff for a chapter or two. I think this was the best move for this story as it wouldn't have been interesting or exciting if written in chronological format.

I also liked the fact that the author didn't go on and on with flowery character descriptions and rarely used simile or metaphor to make his point. Sometimes all that needs to be said is "she has a perfect smile" instead of going on for a paragraph or two about how her smile is like a summer day.
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Format: Paperback
The first time Jim Nagol is left in charge of his infant daughter, tragedy strikes and he and his daughter are both severely burned when he accidentally leaves a stove burner on with no flame. His daughter Anna's burns are so severe, doctors are not at all sure she'll make a recovery.

Now seven month's later Jim's wife, Sharon, has left her husband and is living alone in an apartment two hours away. Sharon cannot forgive Jim for the accident and is struggling to make ends meet by working for Prescott Incorporated as an accountant.

When two of the company's top executive both make unwanted passes at Sharon she knows that if she now reveals that she found some unexplained company expenses during a recent audit her findings would be seen as retaliation. She has no choice but to stay quiet and work on how best to reveal the embezzlement to the proper authorities.

But driving home one night she's forced off the road in a hit-and-run accident and when the police investigate there is more than one suspect including the two company executives and her husband Jim with whom she had an explosive argument with that same day.

Burned alternates from the present and Sharon's troubles and back to the time of the accident and the weeks following it. I like this approach because as soon as the story gets good it skips in time and you're left with a major cliff hanger for the next few chapters when you pick up again but get another cliff hanger with the second story line.

Nevling does a great job of keeping the suspense going and laying out the perfect mystery. My only disappointment with the book is the dialogue between most of the characters. There were more than a few times when I would think to myself, "Who talks like that?" Otherwise the book is a recommended read for all mystery and suspense readers.
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