Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review Tour & Giveaway for A Tainted Mind by Tamsen Schultz

Join author Tamsen Schultz on her Virtual Review Tour for A Tainted Mind, presented by Tasty Book Tours, from November 4 – November 15, 2013.  Please leave a comment or question for Tamsen to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can also follow the rest of the tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

A Tainted Mind
By Tamsen Schultz

Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: April 17, 2013

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Length: 326 Pages
ISBN: 978-1620151181

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About the book: 

OBSESSED with her job as a medical examiner and lead consultant with the FBI, Dr. Vivienne ‘Vivi’ DeMarco is a woman running from her own demons. And finding the remains of a body on the side of a road in rural upstate New York wasn’t part of her plan.

FRUSTRATED that the ghosts from his past won’t leave him alone, Ian MacAllister makes for a reluctant Deputy Chief of Police of Windsor, New York. But as more victims are discovered, all women that bear a shocking resemblance to Dr. DeMarco, he knows he’ll need to call on all the skills he learned as an Army Ranger if he wants to keep her safe.

DENIED over and over again of the one thing he desires most, a killer may have finally reached his breaking point. The only question that remains is, will he take Vivi and Ian with him?

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“You gotta be kidding me.” Ian crossed his arms and stared at the board. The newly updated board of death. They’d started with eighteen women, three confirmed dead and the other fifteen missing. The last time Ian had looked at the board, Carly had eliminated five of the victims, bringing the number down to thirteen women who fit the profile.

This board had twenty-one women on it. Girls, some of them. And went back over fifteen years.

“There were a few earlier than this woman, or, uh, girl,” Carly corrected herself, pointing to the first picture on the board. Amanda Corlis, seventeen, found raped, strangled, and murdered in a summer resort town in southern Maine. She was probably getting ready to go to college. “But they only had one or two similarities so I didn’t include them,” she added.

“Shit.” Ian ran his good hand over his face. “So, how many of these women are missing and how many confirmed dead?” Ian couldn’t believe he was hearing those words out of his mouth. This wasn’t Afghanistan, asking for “confirmed dead,” while standing here in his small, quiet town was more than surreal.

“Ten in total are confirmed dead. The remaining eleven are missing, presumed dead,” Marcus answered. His voice sounded about how Ian felt.

“And do we have the files?” Vivienne asked.

Carly nodded. “I was able to track down everyone I needed yesterday, and we have all but one, but that one should be here today.”

They all stared at the board for a long, silent moment. Ian thought about turning to Vivienne and asking that she call in the Bureau. But as he studied the board, a pattern emerged in his mind. A plan.

“We need timelines,” Ian said.

His officers looked at him with a combination of curiosity and eagerness in their expressions. Vivienne’s face said something more along the lines of “you know what we need to do, now tell us.” That she didn’t bother to hide that little bit of “I told you so” brought a faint smile to his lips.

“A couple of timelines. Of the women we know are dead, we need to know when they went missing and the estimated times of death,” Ian continued.

“To get an idea of how long he holds them,” Marcus interjected, speaking more to himself than anyone else.

“But we also need to know more about where they were last seen. If they were seen at a bar on Friday night and reported missing on Saturday, we’ll have a more reliable sense of when the clock started ticking for them,” Ian kept talking.

“But if they went missing from somewhere where it’s harder to lock down a time, like if they went camping by themselves or something like that, then we need to take that into consideration,” Carly added, catching on.

Ian nodded. “We also need to know where they went missing from and where the bodies were found. If there is any pattern there, it might give us an idea of how far he takes them from the grab sites. And it might also help us know where to look for the other women, depending on what we find.” Both Carly and Marcus moved into action—pulling up their computers, calling off dates and locations, examining the files.

“Ian?” Vivienne’s voice held a note of concern.

He swiveled his eyes from his officers to Vivienne. He could tell by the look on her face that she’d seen the same pattern on the board he had. He gave an almost imperceptible nod.

“And folks, I hate to say this, but I think we need to work fast,” Ian added. Both heads shot up. “When he started his spree, he went after about one woman a year for several years,” Ian continued. “But in recent years, his attacks have been getting closer and closer together. If all these women really are his victims, a few years ago he went after two a year. Then there were the three in Boston, all in one year. After that, it looks like there might have been a short break for some reason, but he picked up again a little less than a year ago, and since then he’s already gone after two, with Rebecca being the most recent.”

“What does that mean? Other than the obvious, I mean,” Marcus asked.

“It means that he is devolving,” Vivienne answered. “Whatever it is that’s driving him is becoming more and more of an obsession. To the extent he’s losing control over it.”

Author Info

Tamsen Schultz is the author of The Puppeteer and “American Kin” (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine) and is a three-time finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association annual competition. She worked in the field of international conflict resolution and co-founded a non-profit prior to attending law school. Since graduating, she has worked as a corporate attorney and, like most real lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, a cat, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack. A Tainted Mind is her second novel and her third, These Sorrows We See, is tentatively scheduled for release in late 2013.

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My Review

A medical examiner on an unplanned vacation, an army ranger turned cop home from the war, and a serial killer are the central characters in Tamsen Schultz’s A Tainted Mind.  A psychological thriller at the core, Ms. Schultz kept my attention glued to her story to discover what would happen next.  Adding just the right touch of romance, made my heart beat just a little faster while reading the book.

Tired and somewhat burned out after a very tough year, Dr. Vivienne “Vivi” DeMarco is on a long overdue vacation in the New England countryside when she has a flat tire.  Unable to get a cell signal, Vivi decides to change the tire herself – even though she’ll have to do it in the semi-dark and rain.  When a part of the road breaks apart as a result of the storm, Vivi finds herself looking at a human hand at the edge of the road and soon finds herself involved in a murder investigation.

Back from the war and still recovering from his experiences, Ian MacAllister is trying to adjust to life as the  Deputy Chief of Police in Windsor, New York, his home town.  When a murder victim is discovered in his jurisdiction by a medical examiner with ties to the FBI, and more bodies start being uncovered, Ian knows he’ll need help solving the case.  He just never planned on falling in love with the doctor, who seems to be in the killer’s line of sight.

Ms. Schultz does a really good job developing both Vivi and Ian’s characters; they’re both strong but damanged people who will need to lean on each other for help and emotional support.  While mutually attracted to each other; they both know the pain of love and loss and are careful about their approach.  They both realize their attraction is not just because of the case they have stumbled into together.

Ms. Schultz also does a good job with the psychological aspects of the story and Vivi is a skilled investigator who seems to be able to get into the killer’s head.  The secondary characters are also well developed and are mostly likeable and all contribute something to the story.  While we don’t get to know the killer as a character, other than with the descriptions of the crime, it’s clear the killer is intelligent, strong and is obsessed with Vivi.

Will Vivi and Ian solve the case before either of them gets hurt?  Just how many victims will they find before they can stop the killer?  You’ll have to read A Tainted Mind to find out.  I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this authors work.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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