2018 Book 245: IT ALL FALLS DOWN by Sheena Kamal

It All Falls Down Nora Watts #2 by Sheena Kamal
ISBN: 9780062565778 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062565785 (ebook)
ASIN: B073B1VDHR (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 3, 2018

The brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts—introduced in the “utterly compelling” (Jeffery Deaver) atmospheric thriller The Lost Ones—finds deadly trouble as she searches for the truth about her dead father in this immersive thriller that moves from the hazy Canadian Pacific Northwest to the gritty, hollowed streets of Detroit

Growing up, Nora Watts only knew one parent—her father. When he killed himself, she denied her grief and carried on with her life. Then a chance encounter with a veteran who knew him raises disturbing questions Nora can’t ignore—and dark emotions she can’t control. To make her peace with the past, she has to confront it.

Finding the truth about her father’s life and his violent death takes her from Vancouver to Detroit where Sam Watts grew up, far away from his people and the place of his birth. Thanks to a disastrous government policy starting in the 1950s, thousands of Canadian native children like Sam were adopted by American families. In the Motor City, Nora discovers that the circumstances surrounding Sam’s suicide are more unsettling than she’d imagined.

Yet no matter how far away Nora gets from Vancouver, she can’t shake trouble. Back in the Pacific Northwest, former police detective turned private investigator Jon Brazuca is looking into the overdose death of a billionaire’s mistress. His search uncovers a ruthless opiate ring and a startling connection to Nora, the infuriatingly distant woman he’d once tried to befriend. He has no way to warn or protect her, because she’s become a ghost, vanishing completely off the grid.

Focused on the mysterious events of her father’s past and the clues they provide to her own fractured identity and that of her estranged daughter, Nora may not be able to see the danger heading her way until it’s too late. But it’s not her father’s old ties that could get her killed—it’s her own. 

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Nora Watts isn’t your typical friend, sister, or even PI-in-training. She’s antisocial, a bit abrupt in her speech and manners, but she can be loyal to those she cares about. Nora is no longer working as a private investigator-in-training as her previous bosses have separated. She’s now working with one of them, a retired journalist, who’s trying to finish writing his memoirs before the cancer that’s decimating his body kills him off. She’s moved into his home along with her dog Whisper. She’s maintaining contact with her biological daughter through brief text messages at her daughter’s request. She’s even tried to mend her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, as much as they can be mended. She knows that Seb is going downhill fast and she knows there’s nothing that she can do but be there for him when someone approaches her about her father and his past. All Nora knows about her father is that he was indigenous Canadian, adopted by an American family, and he killed himself when she was young. Shortly before he killed himself, her mother walked out on the family. Both she and her sister were raised in the foster care system and she’s made her peace with that part of her past, or she thought she had until this man arrives and opens old wounds. The only way Nora can deal is to confront her father’s past and that means a trip to his adopted hometown of Detroit. Shortly after arriving there, Nora is attacked by two thugs, stalked, and more. What secrets did her parents have over 30 years ago that people would still want to protect today? Will Nora be able to find these secrets before it’s too late?

If you read my review of The Lost Ones last year, you’ll know that I loved that story and the character of Nora Watts. Well, it’s been a year and now that I’ve read In The Grip of It and It All Falls Down, I have even more respect for this character. Nora is gritty, impulsive, tough, and above all, a survivor. She’s also loyal and can be sensitive when you least expect it. It All Falls Down gives us more of Nora’s backstory and with that comes an understanding of what she had to go through as a child. We also learn more about her parents and their influence on her worldview. In addition to Nora’s story from Vancouver to Detroit, the reader learns that there are ties between the Triad, Nora’s daughter’s abduction from the past year, and Nora. There’s a lot of action in this story. I could tell you all about it, but then you wouldn’t need to read the book at all. What I can say is that I enjoyed the pace of this story, the characters, the action, and the settings. Ms. Kamal has crafted two stories that appear to function separately but are seamlessly intertwined. The characters and action are wholly believable and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. If you’ve read The Lost Ones, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of It All Falls Down. If you enjoy mysteries or thrillers and you haven’t read either book, what are you waiting for? Go, grab a copy of The Lost Ones to read before It All Falls Down is released. Trust me, you’ll want to read this series. You can thank me later.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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It All Falls Down: A Novel

It All Falls Down

It All Falls Down: A Novel






It All Falls Down : A Novel


2018 Book 222: IN THE GRIP OF IT by Sheena Kamal

In The Grip of It (Nora Watts 1.5) by Sheena Kamal
ISBN: 9780062879332 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062879325 (ebook)
ASIN: B07BK2442H (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Release Date: May 15, 2018 (digital) and June 26, 2018 (print)
Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository, IndieBoundKobo

On a surveillance assignment for a child custody case, PI-in-training Nora Watts finds herself ensconced in a small farming community on a beautiful hippie island in the Pacific Northwest, a place with a reputation for being welcoming to outsiders. But when she arrives there, she discovers her welcome quickly wears thin. Perhaps too quickly. 

Salt Spring Island, with a history as a refuge for African Americans fleeing the bonds of slavery, is not a place of refuge for her—and, she suspects, may not be for the people who live there, either. 

As she investigates, nothing about this remote community seems to add up. It gets personal as Nora confronts her own complicated feelings toward her estranged daughter and becomes increasingly concerned about the child she’s been tasked to surveil. She discovers that small, idyllic communities can hide very big secrets. 

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After all of the drama featured in The Lost Ones (the first book in the Nora Watts series and a highly recommended read), Nora Watts is back. Now she’s pursuing her PI license and is off to a small island off of Vancouver for a custody case. As soon as Nora arrives on what is supposed to be an idyllic retreat from the outside world, she knows something is wrong. She can spot a liar in no time at all and she knows that Vikram Sharma is that and possibly more. This healthy, back-to-basics, yoga-loving, all-welcoming farm is anything but welcoming. After only one night there, Nora knows that the healthy part is just as much of a lie as everything else. Fortunately, she does get the opportunity to not only see but meet the child she’s sent there to observe. Unfortunately, she’s “forced” to leave the farm after one night. Can she actually fulfill the client’s contract without drawing too much attention to herself? Is her client’s child in danger?

In the Grip of It is a fast-paced read and whetted this reader’s thirst for more Nora Watts. I enjoyed the story, action, and characters. Yes, there are bad guys but these aren’t necessarily black-hat bad guys but more shades of gray bad guys (trust me, it makes sense when you read the story). Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in the story than a custody case and bad guys, but if I told you more you wouldn’t need to read the story. If you’ve read The Lost Ones (I sincerely hope you have as I strongly encouraged you to read it last year), then you’ll definitely want to read In The Grip of It before the next Nora Watts novel releases later this summer, All Falls Down. This is a must-read series by a must-read author.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+, as well as a free print review copy. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author Bio:

Sheena Kamal

SHEENA KAMAL holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Her debut novel, The Lost Ones was inspired by this and by Kamal’s most recent work as a researcher into crime and investigative journalism for the film and television industry.

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sheenakamal.com, Goodreads, & Facebook!

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sheena Kamal and WitnessImpulse. There will be 10 winners of one (1) print copy of Sheena Kamal’s The Lost Ones. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2018, and runs through July 1, 2018.

Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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2017 Book 262: THE LOST ONES by Sheena Kamal

The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal 
ISBN: 9780062565907 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062670816 (HarperLuxe – large print)
ISBN: 9780062565761 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062659910 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01GZS36K6 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 25, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow 

Recommended for summer reading by TIME magazine

“A brave, unflinching heroine and brave, unflinching writing add up to an extraordinary debut–highly recommended.”–Lee Child

A dark, compulsively readable psychological suspense debut, the first in a new series featuring the brilliant, fearless, chaotic, and deeply flawed Nora Watts—a character as heartbreakingly troubled, emotionally complex, and irresistibly compelling as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.

It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.

A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.

The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.

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Nora Watts is a survivor. She survived the Canadian foster care system. She survived living on the streets. She survived being kidnapped, beaten, raped and left for dead. She survived waking up from a coma to find out she was pregnant with her rapist’s child. She struggles every day to overcome her alcoholism. Can she survive knowing that the child she gave up fifteen years ago has disappeared and no one in authority seems to care? This is just one of the questions raised in the debut suspense-thriller, The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal.

Nora Watts is struggling to stay on an even keel. She works part-time as a research associate for a journalist and private investigator and lives in the basement of the office building where she works with a rescued dog. Nora doesn’t really have friends and has alienated her one surviving family member, a younger sister, along with her recovery sponsor. Although life is a struggle, Nora is a survivor and she fights to maintain her sobriety and rebuild her life. All that may come crumbling down when she receives a call and finds out that the child she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago has disappeared and the police don’t seem interested in looking for the child. A seemingly simple case of finding a lost child quickly becomes anything but simple and may have ties to a multi-national corporation, a top-flight security firm, and Nora’s kidnapping and rape all those years ago. As Nora finds answers to some questions, more alarming questions are raised. Who can Nora turn to for support? Will she be able to find answers and her missing daughter before it is too late?

It has been a bit of a struggle over the past 10 days to focus on blog reading due to back-to-back family medical emergencies. Days spent in a noisy hospital environment when you’re a chronic migraineur equals an inhospitable environment for reading (fluorescent lighting, loud sounds, pungent smells, etc.). Having said all that, once I started The Lost Ones I was quickly pulled into the story and successfully able to tune out all of the background distractions and read this story in one afternoon. I found Nora to be a deeply flawed but somewhat likable character that I began to cheer on. Nora isn’t the nicest person in the world, but once you realize everything she’s overcome it is easy to make some allowances for her flaws. The story takes multiple twists and turns as it progresses and I wasn’t quite sure how Ms. Kamal was going to pull it all together, but she does and does so quite well in my opinion. The Lost Ones isn’t just about a search for a missing child, it’s also about self-discovery and an awakening of a complex character with a host of flaws. Ms. Kamal isn’t graphic in her description of Nora’s rape, but the rape and beating aren’t glossed over either. All of the characters presented have their flaws and I found that to be incredibly realistic and appealing. Yes, there are bad guys in the story and they do some horrible things (no, I’m not going to tell you what horrible things…read the book!). If you’re a fan of suspense-thrillers or just enjoy reading books with intense and complex characters, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Lost Ones to read. If you’re not sure about suspense-thrillers but want something different to read, look no further and grab yourself a copy of The Lost Ones. I enjoyed reading The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Meet the author:

Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in political science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Kamal has also worked as a crime and investigative journalism researcher for the film and television industry—academic knowledge and experience that inspired this debut novel. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Find out more about Kamal at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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The Lost Ones: A Novel

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The Lost Ones: A Novel


The Lost Ones


The Lost Ones