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Guest Reviewer Ash's on “Her Last Breath” by JA Schneider

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File Size: 602 KB

Print Length: 224 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: RGS Media (October 21, 2016)

Publication Date: October 21, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC 

Language: English

Synopsis: A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men... 

Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can't remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them - or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent...but is she?

Ash's Rating: 5/5

Ash's Review: Her Last Breath is the second of Schenider's novels to feature Detective Kerri Blasco. The first of these novels, Fear Dreams, was the first book I reviewed for Best Crime Books and More. It was a really good novel and I was excited to read its follow-up and see how Schenider had developed Blasco and the cases she deals with.

Her Last Breath centres around Mari, a woman who wakes up next to the lifeless stabbed body of Jackie Vic, an up and coming fashion photographer she does not remember meeting. Mari is a would-be writer whose marriage to Ted, a high flying New York defense lawyer, is at an impasse and whose unpredictable drinking  and poor sense of direction  make it plausible that she could be a victim or the perpetrator of this crime.

Lost in the horror of trying to remember the events leading up to Jackie Vic's death, Mari accepts the emotional and practical support of both her ex-husband and Jay Patrick, the renovator who rescued her following the murder. The evidence against Mari looks pretty clear cut..how could Mari wake up in the midst of a murder scene and not remember it? Unless someone does not want her to remember it? Detective Kerri Blasco believes in Mari's innocence and fights against her police colleagues to allow for alternative suspects to be explored but as the investigation goes on, both she and Mari are increasingly fighting against this nebulous suspect to keep Mari out of jail and alive. 

As in Fear Dreams, Blasco is the tough intuitive cop with a heart who looks beyond the obvious and is not afraid to put herself out on a limb. Blasco is a very likable charactor; despite her own heartaches and the dark depths of depravity she is exposed to within her job, she maintains a sense of hope and optimism in the human condition which is unusal amongst detective leads in crime fiction. 

As for Mari, I will be honest and say she took time to grow on me; initally she felt like a passive pawn reliant on stronger characaters like Kerri, Ted and Jay. As the narrative progressed though, I had a change of heart. Mari increasingly shows resiliance and begins to question the motives of those around her and, lets be fair, who wouldn't need a little bit of support after waking up next a murder victim? Even if you might be the person who committed that murder? 

Her Last Breath is a fast paced novel which I devoured in one day...so engrossed was I in this book that I did not even realise I was three quarters of the way through until my phone started to lose battery and I realised it was dark outside! Schneider builds the suspense perfectly throughout and Mari's paranoia is infectious as I came to question the motives of every character. The timing of the big reveal is perfect and the reveal itself is unexpected and yet makes complete sense. 

I really enjoyed Schneider's first Detective Blasco novel but its follow- up, Her Last Breath surpasses it. Scheider has done a terrific job of developing a narrative which is absorbing and well-paced with Blasco as the warm and relatable hero at its heart. I am already looking forward to her next adventure.  

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