Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Forthcoming Release from Best-Selling Author

It is with great honor that I bring to you today a New York Times best-selling author.  Her novels are known as 'thrillers with heart' and really get the blood pumping.  The latest upcoming release deals with something I know all too well - insomnia.  Most of us, at one time or another, have probably dealt with periods of insomnia, so it is quite relatable in that regard.  But what if insomnia became more than just a difficult period without sleep?  What if it grew into a rapidly deteriorating disease for which there is no cure?

That's what author CJ Lyons explores in Farewell to Dreams: A Novel of Fatal Insomnia. 

Book Blurb:
Fatal. Insomnia.

In the chaos of the ER, functioning without sleep is a prized skill. But even Dr. Angela Rossi will admit that five months is far too long, especially when accompanied by other worrisome symptoms: night sweats, tremors, muscle spasms, fevers. Then a dead nun speaks to her while Angela is holding the nun’s heart in her hand.

“Find the girl,” the nun commands—although no one else in the trauma room can hear, the words drilling directly into Angela’s brain. “Save the girl.”

Falling into catatonic states where she freezes in the middle of a resuscitation and hears dead nuns talking to her? Not good. Maybe she should check herself into her own hospital…except a lost girl’s life depends on Angela.

Because the girl IS real. The threat to her is deadly.

Aided by a police detective fallen from grace, Angela searches the midnight catacombs beneath the city, facing down a ruthless gangleader and stumbling onto a serial killer’s lair. Her desperate quest to save the girl leads her to the one thing she least expected to find: a last chance for love.

As her symptoms escalate in bizarre and disturbing ways, Angie realizes exactly how serious her illness is.  She might be dying, but she's finally choosing how to live... 

My Review:
Dr. Angela Rossi is an ER doctor and leads Good Samaritan’s victim’s advocacy unit with a steadfast commitment to her patients – but she carries a secret that could end her career in a heartbeat.

The fugue states, as she calls them, recently started with the death of a nun at nearby St. Timothy’s.  In a desperate attempt to save the saintly woman, Dr. Rossi slices through the sternum to access the heart – and suddenly she is frozen in a moment of time as Rossi relives the nun’s final moments and hears a voice swimming through her skull with a dire message:  Save the girl!

Detective Matthew Ryder has been demoted for standing up for what’s right, which makes him a perfect liaison with the Good Samaritan’s advocacy center.  He just didn’t imagine his first meeting with Dr. Rossi would be as her patient.  But good thing they’re together when all hell rains down on the neighborhood.  The need for each other’s strength is the only chance they have of finding the little girl who holds a key to the terrors surrounding the Tower.

The Tower holds secrets.  Too many secrets.  And no one is talking.  Once a high-rise dream of real estate mogul Daniel Kingston, the Tower has devolved into a haven of poor families and single mothers with their children under the watchful control of Tyree’s gang.  But Kingston continues to control Tyree’s strings and those of the Tower’s residents while warming his hands in the pockets of city government and it’s infrastructure – all to soon pass on the legacy to his psychopath son.  That is, until Dr. Rossi and Detective Ryder’s interference threatens his carefully constructed kingdom.  And Devon Price returns to town.

Old rivalries and ghosts of the past collide in the catacombs beneath the Tower – and no life is sacred.

I stayed up far too late into the morning hours to read Farewell to Dreams.  It was riveting, heartbreaking, and redemptive all wrapped in a shroud of impending death.  Dr. Rossi was highly relatable in her quest to right wrongs and save lives, while the fugue states and tremors filled her with the fear her career is at an end.  Ryder initially had a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but soon I realized it was a refreshing manner where he calls the world as he sees it – regardless of the consequences to himself.  Even though he’s seen the worst sides of humanity, Ryder still retains a tenuous faith in man and God.  Rossi lost faith in everything years before when her father died – and carries the weight of self-condemnation as well as the condemnation of her family as a result.  Through her involvement with Ryder she begins to see a light in the midst of the surrounding darkness.

And comes to accept the fact that she cannot escape encroaching death.

Writing structure was clean with good point-of-view usage and characters with depth to their past, providing motivation for their present actions.  As a reader, I experienced the action and story as it happened, with explosive pacing that propelled the story like an out-of-control freight train at times.  Loved that!!!  Solid editing left nothing to be questioned.

I was glad the budding chemistry between Rossi and Ryder didn’t devolve into sappy, drippy romance.  A deeper romantic element would not have fit with the gritty nature of this novel.  The hint of their mutual attraction remained realistic and controlled, only coming up for a periodic breath like a long-distance swimmer  – and I really, really appreciated that.

There were only a couple of characters and situations where I’d have liked just a bit more, namely Father Marcus, the former Tower gang member turned St. Timothy’s priest, and interaction with Dr. Rossi’s extended family.  The blame the family laid at her feet didn’t come through and needed more exploration in my mind.  Certain aspects of the turf war didn’t feel fully explained either – or maybe it’s just that I don’t have a firm enough grasp of the gang mentality.  If this is planned as a series, perhaps these explorations and explanations will come in subsequent releases.  I would definitely read more!  My fingers are crossed.

Farewell to Dreams was a fabulous read.  My only cautions would be to be aware of rough language (though it fits the story's nature and isn't gratuitous) and the kidnapping and abuse of children (mainly alluded to).  I give this novel four-and-a-half bright and shining stars.

Pre-purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all other book retailers.  Official release is May 18th!

Author Bio: 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

Winner of International Thriller Writers' prestigious Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net 

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