THE RIPPER OF BLOSSOM VALLEY
by S.D. Christopher
Series: Uncommon Senses, Book 1
Released: April 2, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal Suspense, Crime Fiction, Mystery
San Jose Police Lieutenant Frank Foley faces one of the most difficult cases of his storied career: a serial killer who brutally dismembers his victims. Worse, he leaves behind little evidence, and his MO changes with each victim.
Meanwhile, a number of ordinary people begin to experience unsettling changes within themselves that lead them on different journeys, and they discover that super powers aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Enhanced senses come with a downside that makes them desperate, or worse, drives them mad.
As Frank and his partner work to solve the Ripper Murders, he crosses paths with these so-called Sensitives, and struggles to come to terms with his own secrets that threaten to unravel his whole life.
Unable to filter it all out like so much background noise, I spend the entire evening sitting still and dreary on my couch, forced to listen to the private lives of the neighbors I only ever politely say hello to. They mostly seemed like nice enough people, but boy, don’t we all take off our masks at home. Tonight, I’m hearing the truth for the first time. Most of it isn’t as shiny happy as it seems. Billy and Jenn are downright mean, throwing shade at seemingly everyone they know. Laura and Dina talk nicely enough about their friends, but have quite the choice words for people who don’t agree with them on any number of topics. Sam and Diane drop their happy charade now that kids have gone to sleep. They’re both exhausted and have little patience for each others’ problems. It makes me sad that they can’t lean on each other, like good parents should.
Sensitives are what they are called in this story, but you can call them anything from the supernatural to psychics or even empaths. If you were part of a group that had special abilities—oh, some have referred to them as mutants too—would you use them for your own benefit or to help others? For some, it may just be a luck of the draw as to what their answer may be. If for instance, you were able to hear your neighbor from all the way down the street, without a yell or a phone call…well, some would say that would be pretty nifty but others would probably call it a curse. Much like some do within this first installment of the Uncommon Senses Series by S.D. Christopher. This author draws readers in quite slowly and a little roughly, but after a few chapters, you’ll be hooked.
There are a lot of characters in this story that are presented fairly often with little to no background into their story or how they winded up the way they are—but one thing is for certain—they all have a part to play in the bigger scheme of things. The reader is forced to engage into clipped banter here and there that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, especially since the first few chapters transition from one character to another quickly. All there is to say is to hang in there. After a few bumps in the road, the story starts to unfold and there is a whole lot of action going down. MURDER is the name of this game. San Jose Police Lieutenant Frank Foley gets the case of the year, bodies piling up in Blossom Valley. The M.O. is always different, which is the first clue that something is off about this case. Some women are raped. A few have been covered with blankets and pillows pushed under their head as if out of respect. And some, are quite gruesome—missing body parts—that have been strewn across the room. What do these women have in common? They are all alone when it happens and the cleanup is almost meticulous. At first, what appears to be a one person job, may not be that cut and dry. It seems odd, but how many known cases of serial killers work together? It’s rare, but that is what this looks like as the body count rises. If that wasn’t the strange part, the perpetrator manages to get into these women’s homes and paralyze them, without leaving any trace at all. No puncture wounds, no burns—absolutely nothing. So, not only do we have different M.O.s that look like more than one person, we also have abnormal and dare we say—unnatural ways—of getting things done. But, Lt Foley is no stranger to this type of thinking, having a secret of his own, but never in a million years does he expect to uncover something that would change his life forever and the lives of those in Blossom Valley.
Christopher has an appealing story, filled with creativity, originality and fascinating characters. While the beginning of the story is rough and feels rushed, the story does steady out enough to be quite enjoyable in pace. The cover is what really draws the reader in at first glance, as you see a woman and two other individuals emerging from a dense fog. The colors and the name of the story really pop as well, beckoning the reader with curiosity. Christopher has well-developed characters, even though it seems like the reader is dropped into a mess of characters at first—they all seem to iron out throughout the read and each story is told within its own time. Also, the story is very well-written with little to no spelling or grammatical errors. If you are a reader of paranormal, crime fiction, psychological suspense, and mystery, you may be interested in this first installment—because it’s got them all. Since this is the first installment in the Uncommon Senses Series, the reader is able to jump right on in.
An electronic copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by Reedsy Discovery and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating to The Ripper in Blossom Valley by S.D. Christopher.
S.D. Christopher has been a life-long fan of science fiction and fantasy films, television shows, and novels, and grew up in the same hometown as George R.R. Martin. With a degree in radio, television, and journalism, he honed his writing skills for a variety of media, and quickly learned that a career as a DJ is not as glamorous as it used to be. His nearly twenty-year-career as a software tester has helped delight the customers of dozens of popular mobile applications, many of which you’ve likely used!
S.D. wrote his first two novels in the Uncommon Senses series while commuting on New Jersey Transit trains into New York City. He currently resides in suburban North Carolina with his pastry chef wife, adorable daughter, and wimpy cat, and now enjoys a much shorter commute.
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