Friday, September 09, 2016

Audio/Book Review of Devil's Lake (Bittersweet Hollow Book 1) by Aaron Paul Lazar



Book Title: Devil's Lake (Bittersweet Hollow Book 1)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Pages: 290
Audio Run Time: 8 Hrs 48 Mins
Author: Aaron Paul Lazar
Date Published: 8 July 2014 (E-book)
2 September 2014 (Audiobook)

Synopsis:

After two years of brutal captivity, Portia Lamont has escaped and returned to her family's Vermont horse farm - only to find her parents gone to New York to try an experimental treatment for her mother's cancer, and her childhood friend Boone Hawke running the farm. The man Boone has become frightens her to near paralysis, but she's too traumatized and physically devastated to put up a fight.

Like the rest of her family, Boone has never given up hope that Portia would return. But when she turns up battered, skinny as a 12-year-old boy, afraid of everything and unable to talk about what happened, he does the only thing he can - try to help her heal. He summons the town doctor and Portia's parents, and sets out to put this beautiful, broken woman back together again.

Through her family's love and Boone's gentle affection, Portia gradually comes back to herself, and starts to fall for her old friend in a whole new way. But one thing threatens her fragile hopes for recovery: The man who took her promised that if she ever escaped, he'd kill her. Slowly. And someone is definitely watching her...waiting to make a deadly move.

Review:


Devil's LakeDevil's Lake by Aaron Paul Lazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in the Bittersweet Hollow series. I really enjoyed it!

This audio book is narrated by Gwendolyn Druyor. I must admit that although I found her reading voice to be clear and understandable, I had trouble with her interpretations of the characters' "voices". Due to this, I had to stop listening to it for a short period before going back to it. This, I feel, broke the story's flow so I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. Other readers/listeners may not have the same issue.

Portia Lamont is a woman who has been kidnapped and held against her will for two years before managing to escape. I really liked this character. She has been through hell and has a lot of courage. I am not sure if I would have survived in her place.

Boone Hawke is a wonderful character and I really liked him. He is sensitive to Portia's situation, and since he's been in a war, he knows how emotionally fragile someone who has been in a traumatic event could be. I love how he gives her space to come to terms with things, but is close enough to offer support when needed.

Devil's Lake is definitely a bittersweet story. Having read/listened to other books by this author, I knew that I would be in for an emotional ride. However, I didn't realise how much this story would touch me.

The author wove an incredibly suspenseful, thrilling and thought provoking tale that sent shivers up my back. He dedicated this story to the women kidnapped and held hostage for ten years in Cleveland, Ohio. I cannot imagine what they went through, but they were incredibly brave to survive through their ordeal. My heart goes out to each and every one of them and their families.

This book is told through the eyes of both Portia and Boone for the most part, though there are scenes through the eyes of Portia's father and sister. I found myself gripped with the terror that Portia lived with for two years. Her captor is not exactly sane in my opinion. His actions are not excusable, though his past made me pity him. I cannot imagine living with the fear every day as Portia did, no wonder the trauma can cause PTSD. I have to admit that Grace (Portia's sister) has got to be the bravest (if not potentially stupidest) character in the whole book. I loved the way she handled Portia's kidnapper, but thought she was incredibly stupid at the same time as things could have turned nasty rather quickly.

I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings. I was sad that the story ended, but happy with the way it concluded. I am now looking forward to reading/listening to the next book in the series, Devil's Creek as soon as I can.

Aaron Paul Lazar has written a fantastic tale that captured my imagination. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and entertaining. The story flowed wonderfully (apart from my issue with the narrator). I am a huge fan of this author. I am now looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

Although this book doesn't have any bad language, there are some explicit scenes of a sexual nature. Therefore, I recommend this book to older teen readers and to adults who love contemporary romance or romantic suspense genres. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews

       

About The Author:


Aaron Paul Lazar wasn't always a mystery writer. It wasn't until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. "When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn't find elsewhere."

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar's father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a "Renaissance man caught in the 21st century." This book has since be rereleased in 2012 as an "author's preferred edition," via Twilight Times Books.

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written ten LeGarde mysteries in eight years. (UPSTAGED - 2005; TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON - 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA - 2009 Twilight Times Books, FIRESONG - 2011, DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU - 2013, VIRTUOSO - 2014, with more to come.) The author has just completed his twenty-first novel.

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat's eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and passionate gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother's dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY'S CAVE, 2010; TERROR COMES KNOCKING, 2011; FOR KEEPS, 2012) Lazar intends to continue both series.

Lazar's books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, "country mysteries," although reviewers have dubbed them "literary mysteries."

"It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it's the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page."

In 2009, Kodak gave him up for grabs, and during the year off before he landed in his coveted new job with KB America, he had time to explore and reconnect with his environment. Little did he know that several trips to the Adirondack Mountains would reawaken his passion for that part of the country. Two new books were written in that time frame, starting yet another mystery series, Tall Pines Mysteries. The first two combooks in the series, FOR THE BIRDS - 2011 and ESSENTIALLY YOURS - 2012 have been winning literary awards. Keep an eye out for SANCTUARY (2014), and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (2015), coming via Twilight Times Books.

In between all the novels, Lazar found time to issue three writing guides based on his many years of writing advice blogs, entitled WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1-3. These are available in eBook and audio book.

In his twenty-first book, Lazar has jumped genre. THE SEACREST - OCT 2013 -, a love story, is poised to capture hearts across the globe.

The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, two dogs, and cat. He finds grandfathering one of the most precious and important times of life, and spends as much time as possible with Julian, Gordon, and Isabella.

Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, was the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host for three years, writes his monthly "Seedlings" columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine. See excerpts and reviews here:

www.lazarbooks.com
www.murderby4.blogspot.com
www.aplazar.gather.com
www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com

Contact him at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com.

Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES
DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
VIRTUOSO (~2014)

MOORE MYSTERIES
HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES
FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (2014)
MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

STANDALONES
THE SEACREST (coming fall of 2013)

WRITING ADVICE:

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, SANCTUARY (2014), and VIRTUOSO (2014).


AWARDS:

Double Forté
* 2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST

Tremolo: cry of the loon -
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
* 2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
* 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award - 2nd place Mystery
* 2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
* 2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads

For the Birds
* 2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
* 2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads

Essentially Yours
* 2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

Healey's Cave
* 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
* 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
* 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
* 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Noble!) Prize for Literature
* 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

Terror Comes Knocking
* 2013 Global Ebook Awards, Paranormal - Bronze

For Keeps
* 2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category

Author Links:

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