DiscoverThriller & Suspense

Saving Grace: A Psychological Thriller

By

Loved it! 😍

When fiction might literally save you from becoming a statistic, you'd better learn to write!

Synopsis

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out fo danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?

With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at it's core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.

Hack walked in just as Grace was standing over the lifeless body of his sister. Grace is 100% certain she did not do it. Having spent most of her life on psychotropic meds and being in and out of psychiatric hospitals, Grace knows that something is wrong. And it’s not her mind. When the constant berating from her father and talking down to by her husband finally drive her to find out what’s going on in her life, Grace uncovers a secret so big that it seems preposterous. Who would even believe her if she told them? The world sees her as a certified nut, after all. Grace’s only lifeline is to write a book of fiction, with just enough info that if anything happens to her, that the trail leads back to the right person. But with her editor and co-writer now dead, and her pc having been hijacked, Grace must call on the few people she regards as friends to help her out. But will the book make it out in time?

 

This psychological thriller started off with a bang. I was getting more and more irate each time her psychiatrist or husband pushed meds at her and tried to convince her that her behaviour was not normal. You could feel her frustration at their refusal to listen to her and the threat constantly hanging over her that she would be turfed off to another hospital and put in a special room for her own safety. Each time Grace scored a tiny win I rejoiced, and as we drew closer and closer to unlocking the reasons for her treatment, I was shocked at the level of cover-up. But also, perhaps, a bit sceptical. The story seemed to tie up too neatly, with everyone working together nicely and putting their lives on the line for a stranger. Don’t get me wrong. Grace could not have done it herself, but it was a little bit, I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy so I can perform surgery. The years that the cover-up spanned and the level to which people would betray family was appalling, and it made me shudder the depths someone would go to to convince a person and those around them of their insanity.

The writing had a very comfortable flow and style, and even when I wanted to stop reading for the day, I was drawn into continuing with the next chapter. Apart from the tiny misgiving I had about the ending (after all, reviewing is subjective), I would definitely recommend this book. 

Reviewed by

My passion has always been reading, so when I left the gaming industry I completed a degree in linguistics and psychology. I started my own business as a freelance editor and do book reviews for NetGalley, onlinebookclub, Thistle Publishing, Blue Moon Publishers, and any other books I read.

Synopsis

Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out fo danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?

With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at it's core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.

One felony was all it took to convince Andrea Lin she was better suited to committing crime on paper than in person. As renowned mystery author Lynn Andrews, she understood conflict equaled good drama. Like her readers, she should have expected the hiccups, even relished them. What she hadn’t counted on was the accompanying agita, especially while sitting in her Bergen County kitchen, far from the action at the Bitcoin Teller Machine. 


Her one job had been to place a single phone call when the money hit and tell the hacker to lift the encryption on Grace’s computer. Trouble was, her dozen calls remained unanswered until a few minutes ago, throwing their meticulous plan off schedule. 


Andrea stroked the blue-gray Nebulung purring on her lap and tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. “Denver, the next time I consider helping a sibling with some crazy scheme, you have my permission to use my leg as a scratching post until I come to my senses. Agreed?”


Denver looked up, his green eyes filled with innocence, and answered with a single meow before leaping onto the table toward her plate of shortbread cookies. “


I’ll take that as a yes.” She sipped her tea, willing the sugar to sweeten the acrid taste in her mouth. The phone interrupted her meditation. No doubt a check-in from her brother, the extorter-in-chief. 


“I figured you’d have called by now. Everything on track?” Joe’s strained voice conveyed his own jangled nerves. They’d agreed to be vague when communicating. In these days of Siri and Alexa, anyone could be listening. 


 “Finally. Took forever to get through to our friend, but she said she’d take care of ‘our project’ as soon as her meetings wrapped up. From here on out though, I’m sticking to fiction. Real-life intrigue is too stressful.” 


Andrea missed Joe’s response, instead perplexed by her cats’ sudden change of behavior. Denver had tilted his head and leapt from the table; Vail and Aspen sat frozen, ears perked, staring toward the foyer. Then she heard it too, the sound of papers shuffling in the living room. She leaned forward, muscles taut, hackles raised, ready to pounce. “Joe, hold on a sec. I think someone’s in the house. I’ll call you back later.” 


***

“Wait, what? Andrea??” Silence. The connection was dead. 


After twenty minutes of weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic to travel one mile, Joe “Hack” Hackford pulled up outside his sister’s Ridgewood home. Adrenaline pumping on overdrive, he jumped from his car and sprinted toward the house. Door wide open—not an encouraging sign. He steeled his nerves and hastened inside. The living room looked like a hurricane’s aftermath, with furniture overturned and papers littering the carpets and floor.


 “Andrea? Are you here?” He rushed into the kitchen, which lacked any signs of their celebratory dinner—no spaghetti boiling on the stove, no cake rising in the oven. Only the door to the backyard ajar and a shriek emanating from the next room, piercing the eerie silence. Hair stiffening at the back of his neck, he raced into the dining room where a redheaded woman stood frozen, staring across the room. 


“Who the hell are you?” he growled. 


The stranger remained wide-eyed and unresponsive. He followed her gaze to the floor, where he witnessed the unthinkable. His beloved sister lay in the corner, surrounded by a pool of blood, a kitchen knife stuck in her chest. Her eyes remained fixed on the ceiling. A trio of feline guards circled her lifeless body.


 Hack’s knees turned to jelly, and he grabbed onto a chair for support, forcing back the remains of the snack he’d consumed only minutes earlier. Once the initial shock waned, he reverted his attention back to the intruder. At second glance, she did look somewhat familiar, though the woman he’d met a few weeks back—the missing heiress whose computer they’d just hacked—was brunette. Had she uncovered their con? With a bolt of fury, he reached forward and pulled the wig from her head. A thousand questions zigzagged in his brain, but only one forced its way past his lips:


 “Oh my God. Grace. Oh my God. What the hell have you done?”  

About the author

The award-winning author of Expired Listings and Slashing Mona Lisa, D.M. Barr is an active member of Sisters in Crime, MWA, and is the president of her local RWA chapter. She lives in the Hudson Valley, where she reads, plays competitive trivia, and concocts tales of sex, suspense and satire. view profile

Published on October 15, 2020

Published by Black Rose Writing

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by

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