Friday, April 12, 2013

Blood Echo / Melissa Simonson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Melissa has been writing for four years and started mainly out of weekend boredom. She’s a self-professed caffeine addict and a terrible driver; she has a weird fascination with rosary beads, complicated cocktails, and Diet Coke.”

Simonson and her four year-old son live in Southern California.

For more, visit her blog.


“Obsession is the dark side of love.

Iris Avery and her best friend, Estella, spend their time drowning in the empty excesses indulged in by their crowd of Upper East Side snobs until Estella’s sudden, shocking death.

Iris searches for answers in everything from philanthropy to hypnotherapy, feeling her existence is nothing more than a dark half-life full of guilt and repentance, but finds only endless questions. And several of them revolve around her when she discovers she’s connected to a high-profile murder.

Later, Iris begins hearing Estella’s voice whispering cryptic commentary in her head, and she can’t help but wonder if the hypnotherapy has been helping or hurting. Is her friend trying to warn her about something?

Bizarre packages pile up on her doorstep, and their meaning is obvious: Iris’s secrets aren’t so secret after all.”


The first word that comes to mind to describe Blood Echo is different. (And different, in this context, is good.) I may be wrong, but when I try to think of another book that combines a thriller (it would be more accurate to call it a psychological thriller) with a touch of supernatural in this way I draw a blank. As a reader it led me to interpret some things (and I’m being purposely vague) differently than I might have, were it not for the suspension of disbelief that I was readily able to accomplish due to other parts of the story. (That may be so vague the author won’t know what I’m saying. If nothing else, it should be intriguing.)

The protagonist, Iris, is suffering due to the death of her best friend, Estella. How she deals with this and the fallout from friends, family, and persons unknown is the main story conflict. Although there were hints, the story has a big twist at the halfway point, when Iris reveals something major. I took a note at that point that simply said, “oh my.” But then I started to question whether that was real. What is “real” versus what isn’t turns out murkier than I thought. It kept me guessing where the story was going and how it would resolve to the absolute end.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

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EdwardLorn said...

Halfway through this one and really enjoying it.

Nice critique, Al.

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks, Edward.

Vicki said...

Different is good. :)

I really like the title, too.