When police detective Mike Hegan is forced to retire he wants to pursue just one more case: that of the death of a horse and its trainer, the young Ariel .. Suicide in the eyes of everyone but murder according to Hegan!
Police detective Mike Hegan has found the love of his life – in six months they will marry. But then fate strikes and his future wife is killed in an accident. As he is recovering from his terrible loss fate deals another blow: his sister is threatened by her ex-husband (Mike’s boss!) and somehow, Mike ends up in the line of fire. He is forced to take a disability pension. On a day at the races, a horse and its trainer dead are found dead and Mike’s suspicions arise. He feels he has to give this last case his all, even if nobody else agrees that the trainer, Ariel, was murdered.
Mike Hegan feels his future is bright: in six months, he will be married to Lucy, and he loves his job with the police. Suddenly, we find him returning home from the Caribbean with two coffins – who is in them? We do not know. We do know it all started with “burnt fish.” The next moment we are with Johnny Faraci who is having problems with his new neighbours. They have gone too far this time, the smell reaching his apartment is unbearable. It could be said that his reaction is a little over the top because waving with his gun he approaches the neighbouring (Russian) woman who, understandably, is scared stiff. This mistake of Faraci’s will “set the wheels of fate in motion“. The repercussions are horrendous, as we will find out. Who will live, who will die and who will suffer horribly? That is for you to find out…
Meanwhile, strange coincidences and connections are made when Professor Steve Gorman is unable to pay his debts and, against better judgment, seeks help from Faraci. As we are well aware, no man pays off a stranger’s debts for free – there are always consequences to consider and obligations to fulfil. For now, for a brief moment in time, Gorman is happy. Then there is Zenda, a man with a passion for money and horses. He has just employed the young Ariel Sutherland, who, despite her age, is an experienced trainer and just perfect to take on his prize stallion, Scallion. We must not forget Mike Hegan whose wife to be has been killed in an accident. The abusive ex-husband of his sister threatens her one time too many when Mike gets caught in the middle of it. In the light of his forced early retirement (due to his injuries) he wants to go out with a bang and investigates the, in his eyes, suspicious death of the horse trainer, Ariel. A life changing decision, so it turns out…
For a debut novel, A Woman to Blame is an enjoyable read. It has plenty of action, many bad characters, a troubled but likeable protagonist who has suffered a major trauma – both physical and emotional, all the ingredients you need for an exciting thriller. Before you can concentrate on Mike Hegan, his personal story and investigation, there are many plotlines laid out for the reader and it was difficult deciphering how they would all come together. It seems a coincidence unleashes a whole series of events. The many characters the reader is introduced to and their stories are perhaps too much – you have trouble finding and concentrating on the main thread of the book. After more than half of the thriller, I finally began to understand and enjoyed the chapters where Mike Hegan and Ariel’s sister, Portia, followed the trail of Ariel’s murderer – for they are certain that it is murder.
All in all, I feel that the first half of the book should have focused on fewer characters instead of introducing all of them (including an sometimes extensive background) to the reader. The last chapter tied all the ends together so quickly that the ending felt a bit too abrupt and I would have loved a bit more on the how and why. I feel this is a promising debut by an author who knows how to weave an intricate plot.
About the Author
Vincent Panettiere started writing short stories when he grew older. He began his career as a sports reporter for the UPI wire service. While in graduate school at Boston University, he wrote sports for The Boston Herald, a daily newspaper. Several years later after having reviewed his screenplay submissions a story editor at Columbia Pictures encouraged Vincent to move to the West Coast and keep writing. He wrote and sold several screenplays which – “in the byzantine world of motion pictures” – went unproduced.
It was time for a career change. Panettiere struck out on his own becoming a licensed literary agent representing writers and directors in TV and Film. During this time he became frustrated with the entertainment financing system and began searching for outside financing for his clients. Some of his experiences are chronicled in his book, The Internet Financing Illusion. Whether as a literary agent or executive at CBS or Twentieth Century Fox, Panettiere continued to search for ideas and stories to feed his imagination. For him, the seed of a story starts nudging his mind, forming characters and situations. His characters lead the story and often surprise him with unforeseen twists.
For Vincent, writing brings several joys. He looks forward to reading the pages he has written a day later. Many times he can’t remember writing the pages. “This is my favourite part of the creation process. Something inside takes over. Something that I know I can rely on indefinitely.” Most importantly, he says, the best part of the writing process is “having written – having defeated the tyranny of the blank page.”
|Publisher||AuthorHouse (20 Jun. 2014)|