Before I begin the review of this amazing book, I would like to spend a moment to give a shout out to the Author. Susan Mays blessed me with the opportunity to read a digital copy of her book “Deadly Messengers” in return for an honest review. I have never experienced such an open and honest communication with an author before. Throughout the reading I contacted her several times, whether it was to praise her or ask a question or to tell her about a typo I found, she always responded with a thank you and positive feedback. I told her one of the things that impressed me about her was in her biography she stated “…I suffered from life-gets-in-the-way-osis.” I just love this statement!
Now on to the review! I would like to preface this by saying I am a genre snob. I pretty much stick with YA without fail. I don’t know what it was about this read-to-review that jumped out on Goodreads and grabbed me by the cojones and said emphatically “Read This.” Maybe it was the idea of the 15 minutes of fame of having my name as a reviewer in the front of her book… But upward and onward. Whatever it was I am grateful that I did jump across to the criminal/ mystery/ thriller genre because this may be one of my top 10 favorite books.
“Dana, I do this because I have a message to deliver, and I will not stop until somebody listens. Think of me as a messenger.”
It all begins with a murder that is just wrong in so many ways. Your typical Joe Schmo, Toby Benson, walks into a restaurant and starts slicing through people with an ax without a care in the world. At one point, the reader is able to glance into his mind and realize how wrong it is and that something is controlling him. ”He saw where he was, saw her, and recognized he had no reason to be there, no reason to take another step or do another thing, except put down the axe and run back out the door, leaving these people to their evening and their lives. Then the thought was gone like a car fishtailing down a street, glancing off parked cars before careening away, without leaving a note— it’s not their responsibility.” Before he becomes the robot again and says “…Add some soda to that and it’ll be good as new, sweetheart”. I just love how this made him a real person
Kendall, the main character, is sucked into a murder mystery she does not want to be in. Because of memories of a fateful night in her past, things like these give her nightmares. Lance O’Grady is the lead detective and will ultimately share a bond with Kendall because he, too, has memories of horrors in his past. That isn’t to say this bond will be a cohesive and compatible one. ”He turned to her and said, “It’ll be okay. They’re just bottom feeders, and I’ll protect you.” Trip Lindsay, O’Grady’s partner is along for the ride, but the readers will soon fall for his sweet goofy character.
By the third murder, I was entranced but I almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish. Susan May has a way of putting the reader right there in the scene with her descriptive writing. This third murder included a mother and children. I don’t like to think of children or animals being harmed. I internalize things too much to put myself there. In saying that, I couldn’t stop and I’m glad I didn’t, because I was able to objectively look at the murder and see that this story had to be told to make the rest of the story believable.
I was able to deduce the culprit and main idea of his thought process about halfway through but had to go back to the first few chapters to verify what I thought was happening really was. This in no way took away from my interest to continue or to skip ahead to see if I was right. (Bad habit of mine.)
The remainder of the characters were well thought out and portrayed very clearly and compassionately. At the end of chapter 41, my heart dropped out of my chest but then started to break when O’Grady had to deal with the aftermath of this murder. As I watched him grow and struggle with the right thing to do and overcome his cop way of thinking and to allow himself the chance at doing what felt right instead of what was drilled into him as a cop, I felt almost overwhelmed with emotion. I literally had tears falling down my face with my hand covering my mouth in the universal sign of O…M…G!
”It would be a beautiful message. The good, warm voice came one last time: You are the messenger. You will deliver peace. Then she was alone, completely alone, in the darkness. Her final thoughts were not of her mother or of herself or of anything or anyone in her life. As she touched the light, was welcomed by its gloriously warm embrace, it was a simple thought that engulfed her. She thought of her message and, with all her heart, she hoped she’d delivered it right.” “Oh, my God. Kendall. Stop! I don’t want to—” An explosion in her ear. A searing pain in her head. So sharp. As though thunder had exploded inside her skull. Where was the blackness? Where was her peace? Fear burst in her mind. Where was she? What had she done? A screaming, unbearable pain filled her body. Then falling … falling … falling. Forever.”
When I got to the pharmaceutical references, they made me want to research the validity but not before I finished reading. I’m glad I waited because Mrs. Mays put a post thought in that gave links to where to find the research material. She was also adamant that the content of this research was interesting but in no way declared her ideas towards the drugs portrayed as the necessary evil as the main idea of the story. I am grateful to her for that as I have struggled with depression and have at one point or another had to utilize these drugs. Knowing what I do now, if I had to take them again, I would research better options. She was also gracious enough to give her 12-year-old son the credit for his youtube observations.
Deadly Messengers is available for pre-purchase at
http://amzn.com/B01431LVOK and will be released on September 30, 2015. I truly recommend you do grab yourself a copy at the launch sale price of 99c.
If you hurry though, Susan has unlimited early reader e-copies available of Deadly Messengers until the 15th September, you can contact her via Goodreads. Just send her a private message there and she’ll be more than happy to send you an e-book: