The 7th Day

18810289Title: The 7th Day 
Author: Nika Lubitsch
Release Date: August 2012
Length: 147 pages
Series?: n/a
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Format: e-book
Source: author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis

Sybille and Michael are a happy couple, finally expecting their first baby. But then Michael disappears without a trace. Sybille finds herself in the middle of a living nightmare. When her husband is found, stabbed to death, there is one suspect only: his wife who is charged with murder. While listening to the witnesses´ testimonies in court, Sybille in her mind revisits her life with Michael. On day seven of the trial, suddenly the truth dawns on her. Now, she only has to find a way to prove it.This devious mystery is set in Berlin and at a secret place, which is so secret that some readers recognized it.

Review

Some people are born victims. 

They are a power couple, a couple of means and privilege, and this trial will not escape anyone’s eye. She is famous for her journalist work, and her husband for his work as a business attorney.

The higher you climb, the farther you fall.

It’s true, Sybille is on trial for her husband’s murder. Yes, she thought about it before hand. Yes, she went to find him after his strange disappearance. Yes, she was going to give him a reckoning…

But she doesn’t remember any of it.

Today, they will try to prove that I planned to commit the crime. Of course, I did. I just didn’t get around to it. 

That’s of little consequence, though, as soon police find her with the bloody knife on her hotel nightstand – the very knife that brutally stabbed her husband. Of course she did it!

Sybille’s dear old friend, Ulli, is her defense attorney. He is very well known, and one of the best; her husband said so many times before his sudden disappearance. But Sybille and Ulli know each other besides Ulli sharing a business space with her late husband: they used to be lovers, before Michael came into the picture. In fact, Ulli is the very one who introduced Sybille to her husband. I found this very odd, and immediately thought there were all kinds of ways this trial could go wrong for Sybille, often referred to as Bille. I could not help but keep coming back to the term “jilted lover,” regardless of how Bille describes the ending of their relationship. I also thought this would be considered a conflict of interest, and Ulli should not be allowed to represent Bille, but that’s just my opinion.

The prosecution calls up every single witness that could remotely give any opinion or testimony about Sybille’s character: her former boss, her mother’s cleaning lady, various police officers and investigators, a psychiatrist, and lastly the waiter and all of the patrons but one who dined with Sybille in her hotel’s restaurant the night her husband was murdered. They paint a disparaging, ugly portrait of her. How funny one’s actions can be misrepresented.

Throughout Bille’s seven day trial, she shares her own narration from the courtroom of the goings-on of the trial, almost in journal entry form. Strangely though, she intersperses her own flashbacks of Ulli, his wife (who is Bille’s best friend from college), and her husband throughout various points in their relationships, and Bille is in no way to be taken as a Madonna for the sexual references and descriptions she makes of her relationship with Ulli so long ago. This part was difficult for me to wade through and separate at first, as I had no idea where this was leading, but after a time I got used to the style and technique that Lubitsch was using.

Also included with Sybille’s stream of consciousness of the trial and her past memories is the summary of the day’s trial by one of the local papers in an article, and they take Sybille for all she’s worth, make her out to be the most horrendous, using quotations out of context and applying sinister connotations to her actions.

This book shocked me in several ways, and it all comes about in the ending, which I can’t tell you about. :) Suffice it to say that Sybille is indeed disgraced, but the ever-hungry journalists are dying for an inside scoop – and they get it. Sybille agrees to write her story for Cosmos magazine, in return for which they will not edit her writing, but they will also conduct their own investigation of her husband’s murder…

The novel includes Sybille’s installments of her story for Cosmos magazine, as well as a letter from her husband, and an installment from the writers of Cosmos about what they uncovered on this insane journey that Sybille sent them on to find out just what happened to her husband, and get the answers she so desperately needs. You will be shocked at what you find!

A very good read. I recommend to all who enjoy the thriller and mystery genre, as well as if you like a twist!

fd7a6b6e18960ad8956e17.L._V379018045_SX200_About the Author

Nika Lubitsch lives in Berlin, while her soul lives in Florida. Having been rejected by all German publishers, The 7th Day was at the top of the bestselling list only one week after its publication at Kindle, surpassing even „Shades of Grey“. The novel stayed number one in Germany for 100 days, making Nika Lubitsch the most successful KDP author of the year in 2012. The “Queen of E-Books”, as a major German magazine dubbed her, again landed a number one hit in the Kindle charts with her second mystery Das 5. Gebot (The Fifth Commandment). A major production company has already bought the film rights. The 7th Day is currently translated by publishers throughout the world. The manuscript also has been reviewed by Amazon crossing, but didn´t correspond with their “idea of what a best seller in English should be like.” However, a thumbs-down is the biggest motivation an author can get: Just you wait …

Find the author: Website| Facebook | Goodreads

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Book Review: Stalking Sapphire

Stalking Sapphire by Mia Thompson (2013)

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cover art

Genre: fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller, chick lit

Sapphire Dubois is not the typical Beverley Hills girl, but to all eyes she appears to be. She surrounds herself with people to fill her life and give her the look of the snobby, rich bitch. She detests having to date a douchebag, attending charity galas, going the the country club, seeing her mother’s infidelity and wearing $400 pajamas….OK, maybe not that last one.

It’s all a persona, because underneath it all Sapphire is an independent criminal detective. She operates on her own, does her research and leaves the bad guy (or girl, she doesn’t discriminate) in a bind and masks her voice as she calls the local police. She has solved six cases in the last two years that she’s been fighting crime, and semi-regularly visiting and confiding her side-work in a priest, Father O’Riley, at a Catholic church in San Diego.

Sapphire’s snobby friend, Chrissy, drags her to this charity event where she runs into newly promoted and transferred Detective Aston Ridder. He’s got a bum leg and got a demotion via promotion via transfer from downtown LA to picture-perfect Beverly Hills. He does his usual – takes Sapphire home, sleeps with her and then throws her out. Only, she gets the last laugh…

All the while, Sapphire keeps getting the feeling that someone is watching her – and then she knows for sure when a personal memento is stolen from her vehicle – parked right in front of the BHPD. And whoever it is wants Sapphire to pay – in blood.

Mystery Murder Man has Sapphire stumped, and he’s also sending her pieces of a missing girl. Sapphire’s onto Aston that he’s following/stalking her. It’s not clear to Detective Ridder, or even Sapphire, why Mystery Murder Man is sending Sapphire appendages of a certain middle-class girl, Shelly…until she shakes Aston, hotrods to San Diego, breaks into the McCormick house and discovers a brief entry in Shelly’s diary mentioning one Father O’Riley….

She’s also seeing her trainer show some feelings for her. She gets dumped by her boyfriend and she lashes out at Chrissy. Meanwhile, Aston’s having to fend off Sapphire’s mother, Vivienne, who uses men like tissues behind her elderly, disabled, nearly-vegetable husband that she overtly neglects. Talk about a viper! On top of it all, her friend and housekeeper Julia is engaged – which really shows the double sides of Sapphire.

For explicitly stating all she did in the beginning of the book about wanting to be different than all the other Beverly Hills rich women, she sure is acting like one of them with Julia. It’s strange to see such  jealously from a female character in this way, and especially cruel comments made directly to the reader about Julia’s choice…and then she blows up on him, insisting he’s the accomplice the first time she meets him! Needless to say, Sapphire is so bent on catching this serial killer that she’s not firing on all cylinders and is itching to capture him. Rushing leads to sloppiness.

The Mystery Murder Man is indeed only one person – and someone Sapphire knows! But the least-likely person she would suspect….

The book has a few light twists at the ending, but Sapphire showed some character development and is able to let Julia go, peacefully. She also confronts her mother about a question that’s been burning in her heart for her entire life – which was quite a surprise, as it never really came up at any time during the novel. Things are left unresolved between Sapphire and Aston, especially after her big announcement…and another crazy is on the loose – and he’s looking for Sapphire!

-CA

Book Review: Gabe’s Plan

Gabe’s Plan by Andrew Stock (2012)

Genre: fiction, suspense, criminal justice

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A little bio about Andrew, per his Goodreads profile:

Andrew Stock is the co-screenwriter of The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (Paramount, 2009). He has Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Texas. He currently works as an attorney for a non-profit organization in North Platte, Nebraska, where he lives. Gabe’s Plan is his first novel.

*Let me preempt by saying I entered the Goodreads book give-away for Andrew’s book. He contacted me via Goodreads and offered to send me a free copy of the book if I’d be willing to write a review, which is no problem for me. I was pleasantly surprised and quite excited that an author sought me out since I’ve just embarked on this book blogging journey. However, Andrew’s kindness has no affect on the content or opinions of this review. Enjoy!

When I first saw the cover art, I was expecting a quant, heartwarming story of some fool man scheming up a romantic plan to win back his heartbroken woman…until I read the book synopsis. Holy Hera! I knew it would be a good read, with repressed lovers, mental health issues and vengeance at the core. I did feel the synopsis said a little too much, but I had a feeling Stock has some unsuspected twists up his sleeve.

Reading the first chapter, I wasn’t expecting quite the content it contained. Fair warning: this is most definitely NOT a “teen” (young adult) book. Expect derogatory, homophobic and sexual commentary like “pulling down panties and spreading”, “new swinging dick,” “fuck his drunk brains out” and blowing a wad. I feel like this is my somewhat douche-y brother talking. So if you are surprised or shocked by that type of language, you can take it in style or take offense – but I encourage you to keep reading.

“…on this painted sky morning, Gabe was certain the American people would wake up ready to send Bush back to Texas, where everything is bigger, including the size of the dipshit in its politics.”

Although the book starts off with Gabe casting his presidential election vote at his elementary school and knowing from the synopsis that he is the DA, I didn’t think there would be much of a political influence. I have to ask myself, Is this a little of the author’s barbing opinion coming out? I wasn’t sure, but I am a Texan born and bred, after all. In all seriousness, I often don’t agree with politics or politicians – no matter the party or the person. I believe in doing what is right, and what makes sense. And I have a sense of humor, and that’s how I read this part. So I’d advise taking this book with a little grain of salt if politics are not your cup of tea. Mmmm, salty tea…not so delish. Let’s make it sugar?

In all seriousness, after the flagrant political and douche bag comments, I was ready to chuck the book, but I pressed on. And then I was ready to give a very critical review of the political nature underlying the book. But…it grew on me. If you are ready to toss this book like I was, keep reading. You are indeed in for a treat.

The Main Players:

  • Gabe, an intelligent Iraqi war veteran with a limp (and the story spread all across his small hometown of Pine Springs, Colorado) is no newcomer to politics. Although he is the District Attorney, his father was the mayor of Pine Springs, and his brother is now the sheriff. Gabe has moved back into his childhood home with Mom after his father’s recent death. Unlike his sheriff brother, Gabe is pro-Kerry and hates Bush – who cost him his leg – with a passion. He often wishes his thoughts weren’t so trivial and normal, but more of Einstein quality.
  • Chad, arrogant, spoiled, 5-time big screen (and womanizing) movie star fresh to Pine Springs for some “R and R” at a whopping $15mil estate he bought (why not rent?) has his eye on local  Kaila, who just happens to be carrying the torch for someone else. Quite a challenge, Chaddie. Gabe sure has set Chad off in a fit – all because of Kaila. Let me say this: Chad is an egotistical jackass of a bully. I mean, the man greets his agent, “Hey fag.”
  • Kaila, 23-year-old movie-loving rasta barista, doesn’t want any of Chad because she’s on a mission: finally win over her childhood crush, Gabe, who dropped unmentioned (probably drug-related) charges against her – and she has a plan to get him.
  • Fred, Gabe’s sheriff brother, is pro-Bush and so naive. He’s not a good people-reader. Poor guy. But he is gung-hoe about his job – and seizes opportunities, albeit a little illegally.

Despite his womanizing ways, Chad is a “devout Republican and a big-time believer in the institution of monogamous heterosexual marriage.” He has no care for how his overt sexcapades can end up hurting hurting his Hollywood image (or is that his image?) let alone a ton of women, but he cares for the sanctity of marriage. Seriously? What a contradiction! Chad’s “moral grounding” doesn’t hold much water.

Stock has set up a good foil here: Chad and Gabe are opposites. Gabe is an intelligent war veteran-turned-attorney. He is respectable (both in part from his war tour and his current DA job) and due to his position, beyond moral reproach. Chad on the other hand, is a glutton bully with ravishing sexual habits. He’s the kind of douche who will hog the sidewalk and make a gimp war veteran step off the path and into a puddle. This strikes a special cord in me, as the men in my family have all given up of their bodies and abilities to serve our country in almost every branch. Needless to say, I don’t see much growth for Chad. And Gabe’s the kind of guy who will say his peace, yet again be shoehorned because he’ll be late for his DA appointments. But one too many times and… just keep on smirking asshole.

Chad is most definitely threatened by Gabe – he uses multisyllabic words! With Chad and Gabe’s feud over Kaila, Chad may have more monetary influence, but Gabe has more power and the upper hand. I’m not sure that he loves, let alone likes Kaila overmuch, but he’s placing her in the hot seat to pursue his vengeance of Chad the Bully. I’m sure I’ve seen that episode of Cold Case Files; cop frames ex-lover’s paramour and takes him down – and despite my propriety for right and justice…in that sick and twisted way that is human nature, I get it. I really do. It’s relatable – no matter the situation. Someone consistently abuses their powers (whether supposed like Chad’s, or real like Gabe’s) at the expense of others, and karma’s a bitch of a payback.

gabe

Archangel Gabriel, c. 13th century, Anonymous

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, Gabe is caught in a love triangle…or square without one side – and it may just blow his case, which he claims is the “biggest criminal case of the 21st century,” and not just because his assistant wants to be “on Gabe faster than a coyote on a sack of cheeseburgers” to “fuck his drunk brains out.” Now, that made me laugh! But that quickly changed – and just as I predicted, Stock delivers a quite shocking twist, and then another when Gabe creates an imaginary friend, who just might ruin everything…

Despite what the book synopsis says, I was surprised because it’s not so much Gabe pushing for this revenge as it is Kaila…and although Gabe is dealing with some, er, personal issues, he has visits from his hero, past president Abe Lincoln, and a very unlikely series of conversation ensue. I couldn’t help but notice Gabe’s hero of choice, Abe, is juxtaposed next to Gabe’s name after a particularly pivotal point in the book…and makes me think Gabe means Guilty Abe. I also found it interesting that Stock used the name Gabriel for the main character. We all know Gabriel served as a messenger between God and humans in Biblical times. Is this another manifestation of Gabe’s ego?

The time setting of the book is finally revealed in Chapter 9, when Gabe starts recording information about the trial for his next book at his book agent’s request. Although it’s not made clear how much time has passed, it doesn’t seem more than a short few months. His first entry is dated September 2005 after the preliminary hearing, yet at the beginning of the book Bush had just been re-elected, which would have been November 2004. The timing isn’t fully revealed, but it does take a while to get a case to trial.

I think Stock’s personal sense of humor can be found through Gabe’s writing: he juxtaposes Gabe’s free-writing of a college English class and bad grammar with an incredibly long run-on sentence. As an English minor, I can see irony, humor and reality of it.

And the humor continues.

And just as it is always darkest before the dawn, it is always quietest in a courtroom before a witness answers a question about where his penis had been. 

Actually, he probably loved his kids more than Gabe, but they were four and six-years-old and didn’t seem like real people yet – more like talking pets. 

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Norton and Pitt in Fight Club

As I read further into the last few chapters through the thick and heavy, I had an epiphany. Gabe and his imaginary friend remind me starkly of Edward Norton’s role as The Narrator and Brad Pitt’s role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club. I did an extensive writing project on this movie for my freshman English class, so I’m very familiar with the movie. If you’re not, I encourage you to watch it – a few times – after you’ve read Gabe’s Plan to see the connection. I don’t want to give it away and ruin the movie, or the book, for readers, but the closing photo is a hint.

There’s no neat way to wrap up this novel at the time immediately after the trial, so it surprised me that there was an epilogue. After Fred revealed some of his knowledge to brother Gabe, I was sure the closing arguments of the trial would be the ending of the book – clear cut, yet ambiguous.  (I know, what a paradox.) The epilogue is set during right at Obama’s win over McCain in 2008, and Gabe has indeed become a great man. However, you’ll be surprised who he meets…and the outcome of a murder.

-CA

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