Thursday, July 25, 2013

Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge

Read first chapter excerpt here
Don’t tell me it’s terrifying. Terrify me.Filled with grief, Jules Belleno rarely leaves the house since her husband Jason’s death while on duty as a police officer. Other than the reviews Jules writes on her blog, she has little contact with the outside world.

But one day when she ventures out to the local grocery store, Jules bumps into a fellow customer . . . and recognizes him as her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. Jules gushes and thoroughly embarrasses herself before Regan graciously talks with her.

And that’s the last thing she remembers—until she wakes up in a strange room with a splitting headache. She’s been kidnapped. And what she discovers will change everything she believed about her husband’s death . . . her career . . . and her faith.
Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge was an excellent novel that was incredibly deep and realistic and left me almost literally gasping for breath as I reached its end and clawed my way out its storyline. As I sit down to write this review, it is an odd feeling because writing book reviews is what Jules in this novel does every day, and it is partly because of this activity that she finds herself in a hidden cabin, kidnapped by her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. An odd feeling indeed. Aside from that, I found Misery Loves Company to be a wonderful read that had a perfect mix of suspense, mystery, murder, revelation, and truth seeking. The plot line was spectacular, and I highly enjoyed the interactions between Patrick and Jules as Patrick taught the Jules the undercurrents of what lies within a true author and his novel, and Jules discovered the truth about Patrick, her husband, and what real faith in God is. The narration of the novel alternated between the perspective of Chris, Jules' husband's best friend and partner on the police force, who is bending every rule to try to find Jules and figure out how Jason died, and the perspective of Jules as she tries to understand what Patrick wants from her and why he has taken her captive. Both perspectives were necessary to the plot line of the novel, and they kept the reader informed about what was happening at the cabin and out in the rest of the world during the investigation to find Jules.  
The characters of Misery Loves Company were engaging, realistic, and well developed. I was surprised by the secrets that Patrick held, and I was enthralled as he demonstrated the art of writing to Jules and as he shared his deepest scars and troubles with her. Jules started out as a depressed, lonely, and shy young woman who had lost everything and had no faith, but as the novel progressed, she began to understand the truth about herself, her husband, and her Heavenly Father. Jules' father also experienced change throughout the story as he realized the effect that his lack of relationship with and his alcoholism had had on his daughter. Chris had his own journey of faith and finding the truth as he sought to find Jules and to understand the God that Jason had always talked about. Chris did not have nearly as much overall development as Jules and Patrick did, which I thought took away from his personality slightly, but I did understand that it would have been hard to have the two character scenarios completely balance as one was more central to the overall plot.
As a whole, however, I was blown away by the intricate storyline, realistic characters, and important topics that this novel contained. This novel was a wonderful mix of some of my favorite ingredients, and the final concoction was spectacular. I would highly recommend this novel to any reader that likes a suspenseful thriller that digs way beyond the surface of a normal thriller into the raw emotions and gritty details of real life. I look forward to reading more of Rene Gutteridge's novels.
I received this novel for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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