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REVIEW: Dead Shot by Annie Solomon

Dear Ms. Solomon:

To say that I was impressed by this book is an understatement. You always know, as a reader, that a book is good when at the close the book, you immediately get the yen to go to the bookstore and find more on the author's work. Which is what happened to me and I blogged about that on Sunday. In fact, while I am generally opposed to epilogues, I thought this one could have used one. Or more rightly, I wished I could have read more about the couple. I guess there is something to be said for always wanting to leave your fans wanting more.

While this story is a romance and it is a suspense, it is about something more. It's about facing your demons, even if that demon is you. It's about moving on when your entire life is being controlled by the past. It's about two people, imperfect and incomplete going through life but not really living it, finding understanding in each other.

Gillian Gray is a famous photographer whose work portrays grisly death scenes. She is known as the Death Diva and is hated and reviled as much as she is feted and revered. Gillian's work was inspired by a childhood trauma which involved finding her beautiful mother's dead body, mutilated by a killer. Part of Gillian believes that her work will flush out the never found killer. She wants to bait the murdered into coming after her, for only then will she ever have peace. Gillian returns to Nashville, her hometown, for a showing of her work at a new museum sponsored by her grandparents. While there, someone begins to re-enact Gillian's “Dead Shots.” This increases Gillian's guilt and ire exponentially and she begins to do more and more to egg the killer into finding her.

Ray Pearce is a former detective who offers security services to high end clients. He is paid well, but his soul misses the work he did on the force. Like Gillian, Ray can't quite let go of the past. He has no family and his ex-wife's family became his own. He takes care of his ex-father-in-law; misses the comradery of his ex-brother-in-law; longs for the feelings of being married.

Ray is hired to handle the museum detail for Gillian's show. When Gillian is attacked, however, Ray is hired to continue to protect her against both Ray and Gillian's desire. Gillian's desire to foment the murderer conflicts directly against Ray's desire to protect her person. This conflict leads to several heated arguments and one very heated physical confrontation.

The main problem I had with the book is that the attempts to make the reader believe certain people are the killers were, um, weak. There was one scene featuring the killer's POV which I thought was unnecessary and didn't fit the flow of the overall story. However, the last few chapters I read with my heart in my throat. B+

Jane

P.S. Will you work on the whole ebook thing?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

9 Comments

  1. Katie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 21:20:21

    Wow, that’s a really intriguing set-up!

    ReplyReply

  2. Keishon
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 22:49:05

    I hope she responds to your last question about the ebook thing. I had a couple of Solomon titles in my TBR pile. So for r/s I have to try Sheedy, Rose and Solomon. I’m working on it.

    ReplyReply

  3. Lara
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 06:27:59

    I have this one on my TBB list already, having read one of Annie Solomon’s previous titles (can’t remember which one–her debut, I’m thinking?). I’m not sure why she fell off my radar, but this book caught my eye when I saw the cover online recently. Now your review makes me really eager to read it!

    Aside: I wonder if Solomon was inspired in some way by James Ellroy and his twin obsessions over the killing of The Black Dahlia and his own mother (both grisly). When I read your synop, Jane, I kept thinking about the recent A&E special series “Murder By The Book” in which Ellroy describes both killings, which so deeply impacted him and his craft–rather like Gillian Gray in this story. Even the cover of this book calls to mind the movie poster for The Black Dahlia. Anyway, blahblahblah. I’m forever digging into the whys and wherefors of things.

    I’m definitely intrigued by this book!

    ReplyReply

  4. nath
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 07:53:51

    all right, this sounds good :D I’ve read another book by Annie Solomon and was a bit disappointed, but this one sounds good… What rating would you give it by the way?

    ReplyReply

  5. Jane
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 09:42:04

    I think a B+. It wasn’t quite an A because I thought that it didn’t feel like the suspense was strong enough until the very end of the book. Ray is such a caretaker and interestingly, the author doesn’t try to change him. It’s as if she is saying, these two characters are flawed, they aren’t going to completely change but together their flaws can work to the benefit of the other.

    ReplyReply

  6. Annie Solomon
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 11:30:28

    About James Ellroy and the Black Dahlia murder. Books take an enormously long time to birth. DEAD SHOT was pitched, oh, close to 2 years ago. It took me about 10 months to write the book and then 8+ months for it to be edited, revised, copy edited, produced and printed, and delivered to your local B & N. So by the time the movie came out along with all the concurrent press about Ellroy’s mother’s killings, I was already knee deep in DEAD SHOT. So, no, it didn’t inspire my book. However, I found Ellroy’s real-life obsession to be highly satisfactory confirmation about the psychological trauma my fictional character underwent. So much of writing is what you can imagine, but I, for one, don’t always know if what I imagine appraoched reality. I love it when I hear a real-life story that parallels my made-up one. I haven’t seen the movie, btw. It’s sitting next to the DVD player in its little red Netflix mailer. Maybe this weekend.

    ReplyReply

  7. Lara
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 11:55:29

    Hi, Annie!

    I haven’t seen the Black Dahlia movie either, but the subject is fascinating to me–even more so after seeing the A&E special about how true crime cases and personal trauma can affect a person (Ellroy’s story was the most interesting of the series, I thought). Sounds like you nailed it for your character. Good luck with DEAD SHOT. It sounds great!

    ReplyReply

  8. Annie Solomon
    Mar 03, 2007 @ 17:25:50

    Thanks, Lara! Cool site, btw.

    ReplyReply

  9. Dear Author.Com | Couponalooza: Borders Has Mysteries and Romances, Buy 3 get 1 Free
    Mar 08, 2007 @ 12:00:45

    [...] Dead Shot by Annie Solomon [...]

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