on July 23, 2009
I really appreciated the cat-and-mouse back and forth as we saw how Chevy Banks (the Bad Guy) was stalking, taunting and teasing Beth Denison (our Female Lead), and as Neil Sheridan (Our Hero) started to interfere with his game. The back and forth between the characters kept me reading, not wanting to put the book down.
Our Hero was a good guy but damaged by his past. Our Female Lead was tough and feisty and in over her head. The Bad Guy was a combination of mentally ill and pure evil. The dolls push the creepy factor over the edge.
Unfortunately, this book didn't work as well for me as a romance. I didn't really feel the attraction between the leads, although the author told me it was there. It also broke one of my rules of romantic suspense- the lead characters didn't work as a team to face the danger. I liked each of them individually well enough, both as people and as part of the story. There were some good secondary characters as well.
Once I decided to read it as a thriller rather than romantic suspense, I completely enjoyed reading this book.
Seven years ago, Chevy Bankes did something horrific to Beth. She's been living with her ghosts ever since then. Beth has learned to live on her own and has raised her daughter by herself. But she isn't prepared to face Bankes when she finds out that he's been released from prison, and that now he's after her. Neil, an ex-FBI agent, has somehow gotten himself roped into the case. Now it's causing him to have to dig up his own ghosts and face them, too. Can two people who lost love earlier in their lives learn to love each other, can Beth keep her daughter out of Bankes' hands, and can Neil save the woman he loves from her worst nightmare?
One Scream Away was one of those books that you stay up late reading and that you can't put down, and that you yell at whoever interrupts you because it was so addicting good. It was exciting, suspenseful, romantic, mysterious... everything a book should be.
Without giving away anything, there were many parts in this book that I felt my heart rip when I read what happened. The characters were tangible, like I could pluck them out of the book and set them on my table and watch the rest of the story play out. But they were also relatable, so most of the time I felt like the characters themselves.
Pacing and plot were fantastic in this one. It was impossible to see what would happen next, and Kate Brady keeps you guessing until the very last page, and surprises you at the end.
The writing was not the strongest point. It wasn't bad per se, it just wasn't very good either. Acceptably mediocre is the best phrase I can think of, because it wasn't Dante, but it wasn't hard to read.
My only other complaint was that a lot of the times, Brady describes what things look like, but not what things feel like. Although the characters were very relatable, I found my own imagination supplying the feelings of the characters while I read this.
Content: There was no elicit sex in this book, although scenes are mentioned and skipped over. There was a lot of language (hey, we're talking about FBI agents and Police officers and Serial Killers here.) and some rather vulgar details. Murder is not exactly pleasant. Although it wasn't mapped out in extreme detail, the images left in the reader's mind are ones that are not for the faint of heart. Or stomach.
Recommendation: Ages 18+
Kate Brady has won or been a finalist in many writing contests, including the Golden Heart from the Romance Writers of America, the Maggies, and the Suzannah. One Scream Away is her debut novel.
After a previous case goes horribly wrong, Neil Sheridan leaves the FBI behind and embarks on a quest to drown out his sorrows in alcohol and woman whose names he can't even recall. Now working for a private security organization, the scars from his past emerge when an old colleague and friend knocks on his door about a case which is eerily similar to a disturbing one from his past. Across the country, one by one, women are brutally murdered in comparable means to resemble antique dolls. The connection- Beth Denison- a single mother who is receiving calls from the killer and at one time has researched the dolls. A beautiful woman with a secret she'll do anything to keep. After Beth surrenders to Neil, both in his embrace and in his protection, Neil discovers that seven years ago Beth was attacked by the killer named Chevy Bankes. Beth created a new life for herself, far removed from the tragedy of that night. But now Bankes is out of prison and after her, killing women in prelude to his real desire- her. It may just be too late for her and her daughter when the truth comes out. Neil knows Beth isn't telling him everything, like why Bankes really wants her screaming, or why she'll consider the unthinkable- facing Bankes alone.
The only real fault I have with the book was the secret Beth was keeping. I figured it out very early on. Then again, the author may have written it or wanted it this way. I didn't feel it ruined the story either.
I think, in a story like this, where there is so much trauma from the past, Kate Brady did a remarkable job of understanding her characters and reactions from them. This wasn't just a romantic suspense, but a delve into the psyche of human nature and how we rebound from heartbreak and previous experience. This may be a bit too deep of a statement for a fiction book, but from a writers perspective, it made the plot flow well and engages the reader without them understanding why. I felt it was worth mention because a great author does this well. This book is well worth the read for the characters alone, both antagonist and protagonist, you walk away, or close the book, without questions and with truly feeling what made them tick. I was particularly pleased with the ending. Without having to put up a spoiler alert, this wasn't a quick, wham-bam-thank-you, Mam finish. The suspense slowly built until the last page. As previously stated, the plot flowed well, was well spaced, and there weren't any areas where I lost interest.
One Scream Away, by Kate Brady, is one heck of a break-out book from a talented emerging author.
Author and Reviewer
Beth Denison is a divorced antiques dealer living in the suburbs raising her daughter Abby. Beth has a scar on her cheek that she doesn't talk about, and is currently appraising a set of antique dolls. When she starts getting phone calls, she freaks out, but doesn't call the police. Instead, she retrieves her gun from its hiding place and starts brushing up on her aim.
Neil Sheridan gave up his shield with the FBI years ago when his family fell apart. But when his best friend asks Neil to consult on a case, he can't say no. The investigation of a woman murdered leads Neil to believe its the same serial killer from an investigation he led years ago. Neil can't believe he sent the wrong man to jail, and is right by Rick's side in the investigation.
Chevy Bankes is a master of disguise, and recently released from jail. He's coming after the woman who helped send him there. But along the way, he kills and sends a clue to Beth, along with a phone call directly after the kill. He can't wait to hear her scream, and he's coming for her.
It's not often that you know who is the bad guy right from the start in a suspense, but ONE SCREAM AWAY is the exception; it's all about the chase. The pages fly by with action, drama, a touch of romance, and dark dirty secrets revealed along the way. A top-notch romantic suspense! Kate Brady's debut is just the launching pad for a new suspense writer to be reckoned with.
I'll start by saying that the story is a well told, well plotted suspense that is very detailed in aspects of murder, suspense, police procedure, and good story telling. Good story telling, however, is not the same as a believably good story. The killer in this novel has as much story time as our hero and heroine, and apparently also has the luck on angels on his side. The story literally starts with our villain Chevy Bankes, newly released from prison, killing his next victim in a long plotted and carefully executed plan for demented revenge.
7 years earlier, Beth Denison was the one that got away from Chevy Bankes. Now that he's free from prison, he sets his sights on Beth and terrorizes her with prank phone calls. What he doesn't know is that Beth has been planning for this with kickboxing and target shooting and she feels she's ready to take him on. They both hold a secret that ensures Chevy that Beth won't go to the police. Little does beth know, that blackmail is not on Chevy's mind but killing. Enter former FBI detective Neil Sheridan. Neil's friend drags him back into a case when a new murder pops up that is disturbingly familar to a case Neil investigated 9 years ago. Apparently after this latest murder, the victim's cell phone was used to call one Beth Denison. When they go to question Beth, it's very clear that she's hiding something. Neil, after dealing with his own skeletons in the closet feels protective over Beth and her daughter and gets involved more than he should.
As the story progresses, we find Beth hiding her secrets and the police and FBI hiding information from Beth so that trust becomes a big issue. Meanwhile, Chevy Bankes comes in under the radar to rack up a death toll of ten with it becoming very clear that the finale is to be Beth and her daughter.
That's the generic synopsis, but from here on out are the spoilers of terrible plot manipulation from our author. If you don't want to know, then don't read this paragraph, although I can't say it truly ruins anything since it was pretty predictable. It turns out that Beth was not only a witness but a victim of Chevy and she feels responsible for a murder because she had the balls to attack Chevy when he was holding a gun that led to a stray bullet killing a woman. She was also raped at the time, but when she goes to her husband instead of the police, HELLO????, she decides to not get involved and watches the news media convict Chevy without anyone knowing she was involved. I'm sorry, but this revelation is absolutely lame. It's not like she even knew him before she stumbled upon the attempted murder and her own rape and could have helped put him behind bars even longer. Regardless, I felt that was the first of a list of manipulations that led our dastardly Chevy to accomplish crime after crime, always being two steps ahead of a full FBI task force and everyone on the police force over two states.
Again, the story is clever and well planned, the terrorizing practically genius, but to have pulled it all of like it was, with our villain being within feet of our police and FBI, it straddled fantasy. Even Hannibal Lector isn't that clever. Aside from that, I found the chemistry between our hero and heroine lacking and don't come knocking here for steamy sex scenes. It's akin to finding out the next morning that they had sex and that's basically it. The main characters are all so flawed and I just didn't feel them truly connecting.
Years ago, Elizabeth Denison came in contact with her worst nightmare. She became the victim and obsession of serial killer Chevy Bankes. She survived...if you can call always being on alert and scared a better alternative. Bankes was caught and sentenced to prison. He is now out and ready to pick up where he left off.
Former FBI special agent Neil Sheridan has been asked by his best friend, Rick, who is a cop to help him on a murder case. At first Neil has no interest. That all changes when Neil learns that the murder victim's face was cut up to look like a doll; in addition to being raped and shot to death. The case brings back bad memories for Neil. When he was still active, he had caught and killed a serial killer. He believed that the killer was dead but now it seems he might have killed the wrong man.
Elizabeth Denison receives a phone call one day. The caller is none other then Bankes. He tells her that he is out and he hopes to hear her scream once more for him. Beth fears for her and her daughter's lives but she keeps her mouth shut about the phone call. The police discover that the murder victim's cell phone was used. The last call made on it was to a Beth Denison. Beth plans to take out Bankes herself but will her silence be deadly?
One Scream Away is what I call a good time. I just about read this book in one sitting. Both my eyes and hands were glued to the book. The sparks that Beth and Neil shared were really good. I liked that that the story line didn't veer too far from the murderer and the characters and head more into a romance between Neil and Beth. While I do enjoy romantic suspenses; I like when they are evenly balanced. I scream for more Kate Brady!
on June 22, 2013
First, if you're into romantic suspense which is heavy on the romance, this one isn't. There is a relationship, however, it's one that in some ways just doesn't "work" for the reader. The attraction just all of a sudden is there when it wasn't before, and it's not really clear exactly why either is attracted to the other (especially why Neil is attracted to Beth other than physically of course). And if you're into hot sex in your books, be warned, there is none here. As for plot, for the most part, it's fairly solid, but the whole issue with the appraisal of the dolls was fairly confusing in the beginning. Also, certain ideas and characters are never fully fleshed out or explained. Rick and Maggie's relationship------I saw that as possibly being another book or as least more fully explored, however, it took a decidedly different turn in this book (one that I did not like and did not see as necessary for plot development). And the whole issue with Neil's brother. I never did figure out exactly what that was all about, yet I see the next book is about him. Overall, I'd give it my recommendation but it's certainly not a book that will stick with me for long.
on November 17, 2013
This was an excellent romantic suspense. Very detailed although readers expecting more romance might be disappointed. I thought the author got it just right given the airline's background and what she was currently facing. More romance would have seemed trite and unnecessary to carry the story. And the characters got their happily ever after in the end. Great read. Looking forward to reading more from Kate Brady. Highly recommended for lovers of romantic suspense.
Beth Denison is being stalked and harassed by serial killer Chevy Bankes. Chevy was just recently paroled and is after Beth since she's the one who sent him to jail seven years ago. He keeps calling her cell phone to threaten her and her young daughter Abby. She is terrified by his antics but at the same time she feels that she has the strength to take him on.
Former FBI agent, Neil Sheridan has been called in for his expertise by his friend and colleague, Rick. Neil once handled a murder case whose actions were quite similar to Chevy's. Their investigation leads them to Beth's doorstep but they know that she isn't being honest when questioned as to her connection to these killings. Beth has no other choice but to trust and believe in Neil... but as their feelings grow stronger and Chevy draws nearer she worries about what the truth of that fateful night, years ago with Chevy, might cost her.
This was a fast-paced thriller, full of twists and turns that had me at the edge of my seat. It had these great characters - Beth, Neil and even Chevy, that were broken in one way or another, but who were strong, clever and downright terrorizing (Chevy). Although some scenes were graphic in nature - they were not overly disturbing. I thought it was neat that Chevy had his own chapters so you were able to get these glimpses into his disturbed mind. He was always one step ahead of the good guys and the whole Jenny thing was just creepy. The romance was very subtle - I would classify this more as a thriller than a romantic suspense - which is a good thing. I really enjoyed this and I'm sure that fans of detective/murder mysteries, thrillers and action novels will too.
After just a few years behind bars, Chevy Bankes is paroled from prison to hunt, attack, and kill female prey. During his time in jail, he obsessed over the woman who sent him away; blaming her for his incarceration though he assaulted her. Chevy is honing his craft torturing and murdering women with his plan to come for Beth Denison and her daughter Abby.
He calls her from the phone of his first victim just to say hello and warn her Abby is his target before Beth. As more women die, Beth's only hope to keep her daughter safe seems to be former FBI agent Neil Sheridan, but he is burned out having worked this case very poorly once before. She doubts she can rely on him while he sees her as his redemption for failing to keep a victim safe from Bankes. Together, they might stand a chance; separately they will be lucky to survive the ordeal from this lethal predator who waits inside Beth's home for the right moment.
This is a terrific serial killer thriller that keeps the expected romance for the most part in the background; in fact the romantic subplot is unneeded distracting baggage. Beth and Neil are strong flawed characters whose past has returned with a vengeance; while Chevy is a more typical literary serial killer. Fans of tense cat and mouse confrontations will want to read this tense tale as Kate Brady is an author the sub-genre can bank on.