I am the first to admit that Paranormal is not my favorite genre to read in. In fact, I have been pretty adamantly opposed to reading it for quite some time. And then, and author comes along, and convinces me to take a chance on her books. She sucked me in with a non-paranormal stand alone she had written that my book club covered as a Book of the Month. I found her style rather intoxicating. I will honestly tell you that it was a hard decision as to which series of hers would get the award. I absolutely loved The Charlotte Grace series, and it is complete, but it was not published in 2016, so the award is going to go to her Empathy Delacroix series. The first two books in the trilogy are available now, and the third should be out sometime in 2016. I will also say the Empathy Delacroix Series are great books for those who think they don’t like paranormal, it is an easy way to ease into the genre without having to be too skeptical.
For those of you who still don’t know what author I am talking about, congratulations to PM Briede!
Synopsis for Book 1 of the Empathy Delacroix Series,
Death of a Chorus Girl
When Detective Richard Giordano walks onto the Broadway stage, he expects to find a young, dead chorus girl. Having the show’s choreographer so intricately tied to the victim, and now his case, is something else altogether. What quickly becomes even more troublesome is balancing his attraction with his gut instincts.
The choreographer, Empathy Delacroix, is no stranger to death. Emotional scenes from the past suck her in and force her to play critical roles in the events. They often culminate in her experiencing the victim’s demise. It’s a secret she can’t confide in the police, even if she knows how the chorus girl’s life really ended.
Time ticks by and New York’s vilest players come out of the shadows, not only threatening to detour the case but also Detective Giordano’s and Empathy’s entire lives. The bonds of death and love push them closer together and into the path of a killer, leaving both unsure of what their future holds.
My Review of Death of a Chorus Girl
Whether You Like Romance or Thrillers, This Book is For You, April 8, 2015
Whether you want to call it a romance with a side of mystery or a thriller with a romantic side you have a 5 star story in both genres.
I will start my review with a notation that I am not a big fan of “paranormal” but PM Briede weaves the paranormal aspects into this so seamlessly that you will forget that there is anything extraordinary here besides the author’s ability to spin an edge of your seat, cannot put down tale with enough twists and turns to make you keep the dramamine handy.
The core of the story revolves around Broadway choreographer Empathy Delacroix and Detective Richard Giordano. The chemistry between the two jumps off the pages from the moment they meet no matter how much each of them try to deny it. The tagline on the cover, “How Do You Start a Romance with a Murder in the Way” is absolutely perfect. Rich is on the case of the death of a chorus girl in one of Em’s productions. Quickly ruled a homicide, and not being able to immediately remove Em from the suspect list is definitely not the easiest way for them to start a relationship. The secrets and baggage they each carry also interfere with the natural progression. The overlaps of their seemingly very different lives seems less coincidence and much more simple fate. Again, the chemistry between them is palpable, and amazingly well written through every obstacle they encounter.
The murder mystery is very intriguing, with no shortage of sleezy, unlikable suspects, but no easy solutions to the whodunit side of the story. I love a good thriller/mystery and this not only delivers, it exceeds any in recent memory of such a large pool of suspects I would like to be the guilty party simply because they are so brilliantly dislikeable. Dastardly, skeevy, despicable, diabolical and downright disgusting – she has done such an impressive job of presenting suspects you want to fry, without solid evidence to convict any of them.
For mature audiences for violence and sexual situations. Not overly explicit, but not anything I want my teenagers reading. However since they are not the target audience, this should not be an issue. This is the first in a series, and I am sure your first reaction when finishing this one will be much like mine….emailing the author about how long we have to wait for the next book in the series. If you hate being left with a cliffhanger, this may not be the book for you. However, in kind of a unique style, this author does not release the first book in the series until the entire series is complete, so she won’t leave you hanging too long. There are a few errors that another run through by the editor should easily fix, but I truly feel the strength of the story far outweighs any inconvenience those cause.
Very highly recommended. This is my second read of this author’s and I will definitely be catching up on the rest of her works while impatiently waiting for the next in this series.
Synopsis for Don’t Drink the Nine
With a suspect from the “Chorus Girl” case in custody, Detective Richard Giordano and Empathy Delacroix are ready to pursue the bonds of love and friendship. Free from the restrictions of the case, their love affair becomes a full-blown relationship.
Life is relatively normal until another chorus girl turns up dead, and a new cocktail hits the Broadway scene, “Nine.” As the case progresses, it’s looking more and more like Em is somehow tied to an illegal underbelly of New York. Richard must swallow his pride, and his fears, and work with his argumentative brother, Bobby, to crack the case and protect Em.
While one killer is behind bars, the man pulling all the strings is still at large and still set on Em. Richard and Em both know what it will cost to catch a maniacal killer, but the price might be more than they are prepared to pay.
Five for Nine!, September 14, 2015
I have read all of PM Briede’s books, but I have to say that this series has to be my favorite so far. Ms. Briede is really growing as a writer and it is amazing to watch through each new book.
This is not a standalone, so be sure and read Death of a Chorus Girl first.
Nine starts where Chorus Girl ended, and it is fun to watch Em and Richard adjust to being a couple, and having his family aware of it. This leads to many of the funniest and most touching moments in the book.
The pacing of the action throughout is perfect…never a dull moment for sure (though these two deserve a few!) There are some excellent plot twists I never saw coming, which is always a thrill for me as a reader – especially when crafted as perfectly as Ms. Briede has accomplished in this one. They fit in with the story seamlessly and make perfect sense in the aftermath. I recently read another book where the huge, heartwrenching plot twist was later revealed to have been a dream – that didn’t work for Dallas with Bobby in the shower at the beginning of the next season, and it does not work in books. PM understands this and does and excellent job with each twist and turn.
The full cast of characters are easy to embrace. PM always does a great job of crafting her characters with plenty of realistic quirks and flaws, and keeps her characters true to themselves. You don’t have those moments of “Why in the world would he/she do that?!?!? – it is a true skill to keep so many characters so fully real that they are strongly who they need to be.
Readers of the Charlotte Grace series will be quite pleased with some scenes that draw us back into the madness in New Orleans as Empathy was revealed in the first book to be Charlotte’s best friend’s cousin. I love when authors can tie their books together this way, in a logical (not forced) manor. It is always fun to catch up with old friends in new settings.
For mature audiences only for explicit sexual situations (never gratuitous, but always nice and steamy!) and some violence that could lead to triggers in some situations. My highest recommendations after you have read Death of a Chorus Girl.
Congratulations again to PM Briede and the Empathy Delacroix Series! Be on the lookout for the Phantom of New York, the final book in the trilogy, coming soon to a bookseller near you! (And I will be sure to post preorder links as soon as they are available!
One final note in regard to PM Briede and The Empathy Delacroix Series – I had the honor of doing an interview with her for this blog last summer, and sadly due to an ongoing series of personal dramas in 2015 (I don’t think any of our authors would put all the drama we had in my family last year in one book!) I have not yet posted it. So, keep checking back here – as soon as the awards are all done, that will be one of the first posts!