Rosie’s #Bookreview team #RBRT NEED TO FIND YOU by @josephsouza3 #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Cathy has been reading Need To Find You by Joseph Souza

Need To Find You by [Souza, Joseph]

Mikiela Bellows, an undergraduate student in Portland, Maine, has discovered a hidden memoir written by Robert Cornish, a deceased but still important literary figure, whose novel is required reading in schools and colleges. After taking photos of the last batch of papers on her phone she is chased by two thugs. Mikiela runs to a club where she knows her new friend, Yasmine Weeks performs in a brilliantly named band. As the thugs grab Mikiela she throws her phone to Yasmine and yells at her to run. Yaz recognises one of the men as a monster from the horrific past which left her mentally scarred and set on revenge. Now she has to fight for her life all over again.

Whip Billings, an ex police officer, is returning to Portland for his mother’s funeral. Undercover work trying to catch the drug lord known as The Viking went terribly wrong when his cover was blown, turning him to alcohol and drug addiction. Now, straight out of rehab, Whip has been clean and sober for a year although he knows it probably won’t last. His mother is dead and his fiancée is set to marry another man. While he waits to be reinstated he’s offered the job of looking into the disappearance of Mikiela Bellows, which brings him into contact with Yaz and the mystery of why everyone wants Mikiela’s phone and why The Viking is after Yaz. Or is it the other way around?

I enjoyed this book despite having to suspend belief as the body count rose at a rapid rate. The violence was graphic and, for me, sometimes unnecessarily so. And I have to mention the sexual encounter between the two main protagonists, which I felt was awkward and didn’t add anything to the story. But that said, the narrative held my attention completely and I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the conclusion. It’s well paced and thought through, action filled and suspenseful with a good mix of very well drawn characters, who are all complex and flawed and had, in the most part, distressing backstories. I loved the realistic and believable dialogue which characterised each person perfectly.

Having each chapter begin with a quote from the (fictional) author at the centre of the plot is a great touch. The story plumbs ugly depths, encompassing sex trafficking, corruption at every level, dark family secrets and drug smuggling. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and was kept guessing right to the end result who The Viking actually was. After all the terrible things that happened it was good to have a sense of optimism and promise for the future. Great stuff.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT NEED TO FIND YOU by @JosephSouza3 #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

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Barb has been reading Need To Find You by Joesph Souza

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My Review: 4  stars out of 5 for Need to Find You by Joe Souza

I’ve been trying to decide how to review this thriller from Joe Souza. One side of me wants to shout “Hell, YEAH!” and slap those five stars on. That side notes the nonstop action, kickass—if slightly Stieg Larsson-esqe—heroine (she’s even got a tattoo, although this one is an octopus), and completely damaged detective. I also loved the perfect cover, plus the equally-perfect and writerly-hilarious “quotes” from invented novelist Robert Cornish.

 

But, wait… says my other side, the recovering English Lit major. What about the body count that works out to roughly one corpse per two pages? What about the lack of character development, the way murders are substitutes for plot, the way readers are expected to politely suspend disbelief at the frankly bizarre motivation for everything being the ongoing royalties from a book by a long-dead writer. Even if it IS one of those books that “everybody reads” in high school—unless something comes to light that changes “everybody’s” mind about the author and the true meaning of the book.

Note: skip this slightly spoilery next bit if you don’t want to know anything going in…

I looked it up and To Kill a Mockingbird typically generates annual royalties of over $3 million. Granted, that’s a powerful motive for quite a lot of mayhem. But it’s not powerful enough to set aside a gigantic conspiracy controlled by the kingpin of a drug empire, a criminal mastermind whose nickname terrifies a generation. Sorry, but the giant suspension of disbelief required just isn’t making it for me. But if you CAN buy into that motivation, then the rest of the action seems at least inevitable if not quite reasonable…

Okay, back to our regularly-scheduled not-spoilery review…

That’s where the story starts, as a graduate student uncovers a long-concealed memoir of a dead but still famous writer. She’s used her phone to take pictures of the documents, and that phone becomes the MacGuffin driving the rest of the action. As she’s captured, the grad student throws the phone to her new friend, Yaz Weeks. A drummer in the fabulously-named girl band, The Kuntz (go ahead, say it out loud…), Yaz is also a survivor with a mission that includes revenge on the secretive criminal mastermind known as The Viking. She recognizes the monster pursuing her friend as one of The Viking’s lieutenants, and starts her own revenge program with a spectacular act that I’m sure has every male reader crossing his legs protectively.

Along with the phone-MacGuffin, author Joe Souza pays terrific homage to other beloved thriller tropes including:

  • Anti-villain: like the anti-hero who may perform heroic deeds despite fundamentally non-heroic character or even goals, the anti-villain is nominally on the side of good, but their path to that goal embraces evil. Assistant Chief of Police Phil Haskins knows that he’s done everything right over the years, and been a good cop. All that slips when his child dies and he finds himself blackmailed by the secretive master criminal known as The Viking.
  • Damaged psyche: After a dedicated police career, detective Whip Billings is betrayed in an undercover operation that goes disastrously wrong, succumbing to drug and alcohol addictions, and sent to the opposite coast to ‘recover’. Back for his mother’s funeral, he too dreams of revenge on the mysterious Viking.
  • Nobody is all the way good or bad: In Thriller Land, everybody lies, everybody double-crosses, and everybody kills. The good guys are terribly flawed, and the baddies love their kids.
  • My enemies are the only ones who understand me: In a world where you have to keep secrets from your lover, family, and friends, the only ones who actually understand you are your opposite numbers on the other side.  Whip relates to the criminals he meets, but he can’t connect with the woman he loves.
  • Don’t deserve love but I’ll take the next best thing: since everyone is damaged, a happily-ever-after is just not in the cards for anyone so one night hookups are the next best thing. Unfortunately for this story, it almost seems like author Joe Souza was going down the list of thriller tropes and slapped his forehead when he realized he forgot this bit. The result is one of the most uncomfortable, unconvincing sexual encounters ever, insulting to LGBTQ readers with its implications that sexual/gender preferences are fairly easily overcome by attractive partners who smell good.
  • Bittersweet ending: Well, I can’t tell you about that (spoilers), but keep an eye out for the place where the title gets repeated just to make sure you get what the entire story is about…

So with those complaints balancing the terrific writing, pace, and dialog, I’m going to split the difference with four stars. This is a terrific action story full of flawed people, lots and lots of casual murder, and a tiny bittersweet ray of hope for the future.


 

Contact and Buy Links:

Blog | Twitter: @josephsouza3

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT NEED TO FIND YOU by @josephsouza3 #Thriller #SundayBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Judith, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

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Judith has been reading Need To Find You by Joseph Souza

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 My Review:

 I read NEED TO FIND YOU over two days, impatient each time I needed to put the book down, eager to pick it up again the next time. It has a plot which the I became more absorbed in as the story progresses. It’s a good fast-moving crime thriller; once it gets going. I found the narrative at the start ‘tells’ rather than ‘shows’ the action. However this is a book definitely worth sticking with. This is a tale of paradoxes, deceits and revenge in graphic and, sometimes, staggering in the many twists and turns.

 And I did like the  quotes at the start of each chapter. 

Joseph Souza’s strengths are his characters; brilliantly rounded, so authentic, so complex, that it’s possible to believe they are actually walking the streets. The author doesn’t just present us with good and evil; they are a mixture of  multifarious human traits. I loved even the ones I disliked, purely because of the way they are portrayed.  

I don’t give away spoilers; I will only say this is a book that sweeps you along with ease, yet makes you uneasy because what you perceive as actions that are right or wrong are sometimes erroneous; the author has depicted some of the characters’ traits in such a complex way that good and evil blend together.

 The dialogue is credible, differentiating each character; there is no doubt who’s speaking even if the words take you by surprise. As I say, there is ambiguity between the good and bad.  (Hmm, probably going on too much about this but it is one aspect that kept taking me by surprise)

Couple of things that didn’t quite work for me; the sex scene between two of the characters felt contrived, placed where it was, and every now and then, the graphic violence felt a little melodramatic.

Also, one thing that I felt was missing for me; though the action scenes were good, I sometimes didn’t always get a sense of place.

And, something I often forgot to mention, the cover … I love it,  I like the artwork but most of all I like the metaphor: the clarity of the image on the left and the elusiveness of the imagery on the right to me it sums up the content of the book.

So, in conclusion, I admire the way Joseph Souza juggles the many threads of this fast and steadily paced thriller. And I like the portrayal of the characters. I do need to repeat, it’s slow to start and I was little disappointed with the denouement.  But it is a good read, I like the author’s writing style and I would certainly recommend it.

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2961tD0

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/292REER

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT NEED TO FIND YOU by @josephsouza3 #Crime #Thriller

Today’s Team review is from Terry she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Need To Find You by Joseph Souza.

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Review: Need to Find You by Joseph Souza

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on Amazon

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

This was a strange one for me; I went from not being that keen to liking it, to not liking it and back to thinking it was perhaps rather terrific, all the way through.

It’s a crime thriller, starring the tough and damaged Yasmine, two cops, and a sinister underworld figure.  The cops, Whip Billings and Philip Haskins, are so well done, and I enjoyed reading their sections, even if the characters did walk straight out of Standard Fictional Detectives Ltd: wouldn’t you love to see one who isn’t a struggling ex-alcoholic/hampered by emotional demons/possessed of a need to execute his duties in a maverick fashion?  But Souza has painted them beautifully, stereotypes or not; I really liked Whip, and his father was very real, too.  Yasmine, not so convincing.

The plot is great, though at the beginning I was bothered by the stilted fashion of the narrative. Short sentences, delivering statements or pieces of information in a flat manner.  One that stuck out: ‘..he stared up at a water stain on the ceiling.  He thought it resembled a tattered catcher’s mitt.  Could have read more smoothly as something like: ‘he stared up at the catcher’s mitt of a water stain on the ceiling.  Okay, that might seem a bit nit-picking, and it seems fine on its own, but when whole pages are written like this it feels a bit wooden.  I felt the narrative could have done with another re-write, with the author looking at each sentence and considering if it could be made to read better.

Once the dialogue started the whole novel loosened up and it went from being ‘okay’ to ‘oh good, I’m enjoying this now; the dialogue is spot on, all the way through, sharp, convincing, and just right for the genre, which is so important, but then I’d come across someone being ‘sprawled in the foetal position’, which is surely a contradiction in terms, or lines like ‘he pulled up his chair in an avuncular manner’; the prose tended towards wordy without being descriptive, at times.  Then the day would be saved by lovely observations like this one, in which Whip imagines his romantic successor: ‘He imagined Dana to be one of those soft-spoken guys with a gentle disposition and a weak handshake.  A ponytailed dude who liked to hike in his Birkenstocks, carrying a hand-carved walking stick that he’d made in his workshop.  Asshole!‘. Loved that!

The story centres around the hidden journals of a famous writer, Robert Cornish, and here was something else that bothered me.  Cornish is supposed to be a writer of such acclaim that his works are studied by literature students, yet the quotes from him at the start of each chapter were banal quips.

Once I’d read the book I had a look at the reviews to see what others thought of it, as I always do, and most of them are positive.  Although I disliked some aspects, the best is very, very good, and I’d read something else by this author.  Despite the moderate star rating, I’d recommend it for those who like this sort of novel.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com