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The Grave Blogger Paperback – July 4, 2012
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Top customer reviews
The crux of the story follows a blogger, Raya, as memories of a horrific quadruple murder come flashing back to her after reading a headline while doing research for her blog. After revelations from her parents and a psychiatrist, Jon, she realizes she witnessed the murders as a young child but suppressed the memories. Her parents moved away and changed their names in hopes the killer (who was never caught) would never find her (assuming he even knew she existed). Jon also packed his bags and started his life in the same city just in case her memory ever came back and she was in need of his specific guidance. The fact that he drops everything to move with the family is explained with a contrived story that she may not want to reveal herself to someone who didn't know her history. Given she didn't even know Jon existed, that explanation is only meant to justify his inclusion in the story.
There are other forced explanations for convenient plot points like the local detective, Nick, who also happened to just conveniently start looking into the case at the same time Raya returns to the scene looking for answers. This is an obvious potential love interest which isn't an issue but how quickly they fall for each other is again explained away with the fallback "I don't know why but..."
Most egregious is the poor handling of keeping the killer's identity secret. It is obvious very early on and while Fontenot does try to misdirect with other potential options they can't overshadow this glaring oversight.
My biggest pet peeve for self-published authors is when they do not engage a professional editor to review their work prior to publishing. My time, like everyone else's is valuable and spending it reading something with such blatant issues is very frustrating. There are changes of POV (sometimes within the same paragraph) and even times when I had no idea which POV was employed. Improper punctuation, changes in font size and use of italics is confusing and misleading and the dialogue is terrible and lacks clear attributes which only contributed to the confusion.
I forced myself to finish the book as I wanted to see how everything came together. I can ignore just about anything if there's a good story with dynamic characters but The Grave Blogger fell short on every point.
But on the basis of the mystery itself, it's a good read. There a lot of possibilities of who the murderer is, and that's something I like in a mystery novel. The only thing I felt was lacking was Raya's memories of that night. I would have LOVED if we got more detail in what she remembered besides just being told.
I am a very picky reader so some of the reasons I knocked off stars might not bother other people, so I would recommend the Grave Blogger to others who enjoy books for face value. I am more particular so I look for a little more in the books I read but it's a good story none the less.
Raya Landry is a 'Grave Blogger'. Simply put – she writes blogs about cold cases for True Crime websites. It's a solitary life, one Raya loved, until the day she came across a cold case headline, 'Two Decades Later, Bayou Family Slaughter Remains A Mystery'. What was it about that headline, out of hundreds Raya had worked, that reduced the 25 year old, independent woman, awesome internet gamer, to a quivering, crying facsimile of her former self?
Donna Fontenot is a true Southerner. Born and raised in Louisiana where the setting of her debut novel takes place. She draws the reader into the Bayou with ease and grace. She paints the picture of Southern charm and a crispy poboy with accuracy and delicious knowledge. Does she also watch Criminal Minds? Getting inside her villain's brain would suggest careful, and time consuming research. What is it that would trigger a violent rage after twenty years? Is the murderous psychopath still living in St. Felicity? Is he, or she, watching innocent victims through equally innocent windows?
'Grave Blogger' introduces us to some unforgettable characters; Raya, Detective Nick Simoneaux, his uncle Perry, psychiatrist Jon Forester, eccentric forensic examiner Dustin and many others.
WARNING: This book is not a cozy! If you are not into graphic crime scenes then give it a pass. And, if you are picky there is some lazy editing and typos. Otherwise, if you like the feeling of having to occasionally glance over your shoulder when you are reading, or take a second look before you open that door. . .you will be spellbound by this author's work.