Rock Paper Scissor Book Author Interview – A Lizzy Ballard Thriller

Matty is an author I know so I wanted to share her latest book with you. I haven’t read it yet myself, but it’s on my list!

What is the underlying theme of Rock Paper Scissors?

The underlying theme of all my books is how a person with an extraordinary ability deals with that ability in the context of the ordinary world. In the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning, it’s Ann’s ability to sense spirits, an ability that sets her apart from other people, and causes the end of an important relationship. In Rock Paper Scissors, the first of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers, it’s Lizzy’s ability to cause strokes in others, an ability that forces her to live in isolation, for the safety of others as well as herself.

Since Rock Paper Scissors is billed as a thriller, I suspect that Lizzy’s ability results in some mayhem!

Yes! The people who are responsible for Lizzy’s ability, and who are scheming to use it to further their own goals, are Gerard Bonnay, the head of a Philadelphia fertility clinic, and his wife and head of research, Louise Mortensen. During the course of the story, they acquire an unexpected ally, and Lizzy’s situation becomes even more perilous.

Does Lizzy have any allies to help her deal with the challenges her ability poses, and with the people who are trying to take advantage of it?

Initially, Lizzy’s primary allies are her parents, Charlotte and Patrick. The novel begins with Lizzy as an infant, and describes some incidents when she is a toddler and young girl to illustrate the dangers of her situation. However, most of the action of the story takes place when Lizzy is a teenager, and is triggered by a trip she wants to take from her home in the Philadelphia suburbs to New York City to see the sights at Christmas-time. At that point, it appears her closest allies are Owen McNally, a neurobiologist and friend of her father, and her family’s housekeeper, Ruby DiMano. But is Ruby really an ally? It’s clear that Ruby’s loyalties are torn, but it’s unclear which way she will ultimately throw her support.

You mentioned that Lizzy lives near Philadelphia—is that the main setting for the story?

As with The Sense of Death and the beginning of The Sense of Reckoning, most of Rock Paper Scissors is set in the Philadelphia area, near my home in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Ballards initially live in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and as their fortunes decline, they move further out along the Main Line, which is the name given to the towns along the rail line that stretches west from Philadelphia. Lizzy and her mother also spend some time at the family cabin in the Pocono Mountains, a couple of miles to the north of Philadelphia. There’s also a critical meeting that takes place in Longwood Gardens, which is one of my favorite spots in Chester County. Patrick Ballard and Owen McNally work at William Penn University, which is my stand-in for my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lizzy hides out for a time in a slightly fictionalized version of the Spruce Lane Lodge and Cottages in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County.

How do you decide when to use a place’s real name and when to change it?

I change it when I want to reserve the right to adjust factual details to meet the needs of the story. I may also change the name if I may be portraying the place in a negative light. For example, early in the writing of Rock Paper Scissors, I thought the villain might be affiliated with the university, so I didn’t want to refer to it as the University of Pennsylvania. Similarly, I changed the real Philadelphia Inquirer into the Philadelphia Chronicle because I wanted to reserve the right to have one of its reporters engage in some less than ethical reporting.

Even though I’m tweaking the facts to support the story, I feel I’ve still been able to create a consistent world that runs through the books and across the series. For example, Lincoln Abbott, a reporter at the Chronicle who first appeared in The Sense of Death, pens several newspaper articles that appear in Rock Paper Scissors. Also, readers who are familiar with the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels will be pleased to hear that Detective Joe Booth makes a brief appearance in Rock Paper Scissors.

What are you working on next?

I just started work on Lizzy Ballard Book 2. Book 1 ends in Sedona, Arizona, and my husband and I were just there for our yearly getaway from the Pennsylvania winter. Book 2 will start in Sedona, so I wanted to get started on that while I was still under the influence of the Sedona vibe. I also just finished my first Ann Kinnear short story, which I plan to make available to subscribers of my newsletter.

Where can people connect with you to sign up for your newsletter or to keep track of Ann Kinnear and Lizzy Ballard’s next adventures?

They can sign up for my newsletter at my website, mattydalrymple.com. For more frequent updates, they can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

matty-dalrymple-author-photo-2016-headshot-2

Matty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, “The Sense of Death” and “The Sense of Reckoning,” and “Rock Paper Scissors: A Lizzy Ballard Thriller,” which launches in March 2017. She lives with her husband, Wade Walton, and their dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for much of the action in “The Sense of Death” and “Rock Paper Scissors.” In the summer, they enjoy vacationing on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where “The Sense of Reckoning” takes place. Matty also blogs, podcasts, and speaks about independent publishing as The Indy Author.

Matty is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group.

You can purchase Matty’s book on Amazon.

Published in: on February 17, 2017 at 11:26pm02  Leave a Comment  
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Worth Dying For – Lee Child

Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher, #15)Since I had enjoyed (mostly) the last Lee Child book I had listened to, when I saw another one at my library, I picked it up. It was orignially for my husband, who was taking a long trip out west. But he didn’t end up listening to it, so when he got home, I did.

Stats: Published in 2010, 400 print pages, 11 CDs and 14 hours for audio, narrated by Dick Hill

Blurb: There’s deadly trouble in the corn county of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved, decades-old case of a missing child that Reacher can’t let go.

The Duncans want Reacher gone—and it’s not just past secrets they’re trying to hide. For as dangerous as the Duncans are, they’re just the bottom of a criminal food chain stretching halfway around the world. For Reacher, it would have made much more sense to put some distance between himself and the hard-core trouble that’s bearing down on him. For Reacher, that was also impossible.

What I liked: Childs is a wonderful writing. I say thing because as I listened to the story, I didn’t think about the writing of the story (much)- the mechanics of the story, I was just pulled into the story itself. To me that illustrates good writing. He is also very good at stringing the reader along. There are a few things the reader wants to find out and doesn’t really until the end, so as many reviews note – it is a page turner. Dick Hill must be the regular reader for the Reacher novels since this was the second audio Childs audio book I’ve listened to that has him. I’m not surprised because he does a superb job with this one. The voices are so right on and so distinct with each character, they seem very real.

What I didn’t like: Childs has a habit (and I’m sure it’s no purpose) of drawing out things that are happening in a particular scene, especially if it is a suspenseful scene – someone  is getting beat up or about the get beat up or about to get caught… This is a good writer’s trick, but sometimes he over does it. The one time I remember getting pulled out of the story was when Child was doing this trick. But the problem was, it wasn’t a suspenseful enough scene. He was describing a character almost closing the trunk of a car – a trunk that had his budding dead inside of it. The reader already knew who was inside and what shape the person was in, so there really was no suspense about this but Childs dragged the action of almost closing the trunk out way too long. This is a minor criticism, really and easily overlooked by all the other wonderful things about the book. The only other thing I didn’t like was the violence – there is a lot of it in this book. I’m sure that’s why some people enjoy these stories – the gratuitous violence. All the bad guys get what coming to them (and these bad guys are very bad!) – something that doesn’t always happen in real life. But it was a bit much for me. It will be while before I pick up another of Child’s books, as good as his writing is.

Rating: 4+/5

Published in: on November 20, 2016 at 11:26pm11  Leave a Comment  
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The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

This book was given to me in return for an honest review.

Memory box coverGenre: Thriller Stats: 358 pages, published June 2014

Book Blurb: (Goodreads)In this gripping marriage thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know. The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

What I liked: Half the book was very good. The writer did a nice job of setting it up so that you wanted to keep reading. The protagonist, Caroline, is a very interesting character. I won’t say too much about her, because some of that would give away the book, but I’ll say she is somewhat similar to the famous “Gone Girl.”

What I didn’t like: The beginning is very slow and repeats the angst that Caroline is having to the point where I started to get annoyed with her. I don’t like the fact that author doesn’t really explain why Caroline develops the amnesia she has in the beginning of the book. She even has another character (Caroline’s husband) bring up that very point when Caroline writes the real story about her life. Caroline’s (or the author’s) answer is that Caroline’s husband doesn’t allow for “suspension of disbelief,” but that doesn’t really fly. Some people didn’t like the ending. I thought the ending was okay, other than the fact that the family dog suddenly seems to have it out for Caroline in the end. Anyone who really knows dogs, knows the dog would have seen through her from the beginning. And she could have written the dog in that way – it would have been foreshadowing – and the whole thing still would have worked. With a bit more editing, the book would be wonderful all the way through!

Rating: 3.5/5

Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 11:26pm02  Comments (5)  
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Don’t Blink by James Patterson

Picked this one up at random – audio version – and I knew James Patterson was “a name” so I thought I’d give it a try.

6987558 don't blinkGenre: Murder Mystery/thriller

Blurb: (Amazon) The good
New York’s Lombardo’s Steak House is famous for three reasons–the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police’s fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

The bad
Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad-boy. In the chaos, he accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces. NYPD captains, district attorneys, mayoral candidates, media kingpins, and one shockingly beautiful magazine editor are all pushing their own agendas–on both sides of the law.

And the dead
Back off–or die–is the clear message Nick receives as he investigates for a story of his own. Heedless, and perhaps in love with his beautiful editor, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson knows.

What I liked: There were lots of plot twists that kept you on your toes. It’s seemed a bit too coincidental that the main protagonist, Nick, is able to get out of all the scraps he  gets in, especially with people dropping around him like flies, but for whatever reason, it’s not too hard to suspend disbelief and go with the unlikeliness of that.  Patterson does well with characterizing the bad guys – the main hit man is really a nasty one. I have never read James Patterson before but this was good enough that I would read another of his books.  David Patrick Kelly read the audio version of this book that I listened to and a mostly good job.

What I didn’t like: Maybe too many plot twists – it seemed a bit unreal at times, but not so much so that it spoiled the story. Kelly’s narration faltered only in his attempt to voice an Italian mob hit man – he hardly sounded Italian and he sounded like he had marbles in his mouth – it was hard to understand his words at times.

I read a few other review on this book and apparently die-hard Patterson fans don’t think this was one of his better books.  If that is the case, I am looking forward to reading some of his other stuff, maybe earlier versions (those are usually best for long winded writers).

Rating: 3.5/5

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Blurb:On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around. (From Goodreads)

Genre: Suspense/ Thriller

What I liked: The middle of the book was quite good. I was listening to it on audio and I kept wanting to drive somewhere so I could listen to it. It definitely is a psychological thriller, sometimes you’re rooting for the wife, then the next thing you know, you’re rooting for the husband. Some of the things the wife does, how seamlessly she sets things up seems a bit far fetched at times but it’s fairly easy to overlook that and just enjoy the ride. Overall, it’s well written with good dialogue. The Narrators Julia Whelan who plays the wife, and Kirby Heyborne, who plays the husband do a wonderful job as well.

What I didn’t like: The beginning – I wasn’t really interested in listen much until disc 5. I’m not sure how much that is in pages, but it’s quite a bit before it gets interesting. The other things I really didn’t like was the end.  After all the stuff that goes on that keeps you on the edge of your seat (most of the time – it drags a bit at points in the middle) to have the ending it does is a big disappointment. I’m not sure I’d say I wouldn’t read it because of that, but it sure put a damper on a relatively good story.

Rating: 3.5/5  (I’d give it a 4/5 if it wasn’t for the ending, and the cover is kind of boring too)