3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2013.30 REVIEW – Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison

Where All the Dead Lie
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 392
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 6 – July 12, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor’s thoughts and speech. Effectively mute, there’s no telling if her voice will ever come back. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts – of the past, of friendships and trusts lost … of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can’t refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis’s drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor’s sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so too does her grip on reality.

Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead … or hunted by the living?


Review: This is a hard review for me to write. I am a huge fan of the Taylor Jackson series. But this book left me a little flat. I think my problem with it is that it is nothing like the previous Taylor books. It is completely different and at times I had to wonder what on earth Ms. Ellison was thinking at the time. It really wasn’t until the very end of the book that it felt like we got to actually see the Taylor that the readers know. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily disliked this book, because I really didn’t, but if this is the end of the Taylor Jackson series, I’m not sure that Ms. Ellison did Taylor justice.

I had a big problem with the change in setting. This series has always been set in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve always liked that – I live about 2.5 hours from Nashville and go down there occasionally. But in this book it is set in Scotland. It felt like it was way out in left field at times too, honestly. There is no doubt that the author definitely did her research in regards to this new setting, but I think it was just too drastic of a change for my liking.

It’s hard not to like Taylor Jackson. I’ve always liked her. And I pitied her in this book, and that’s not something that I ever wanted to do. At the same time I was a little more than frustrated with her. She knew better than to go off to a foreign country with a man like Memphis! I didn’t like what that did to Baldwin … and she didn’t even seem to care at first. It wasn’t until she really got there that she realized that she hadn’t given Baldwin a fair shake in everything.

I don’t know. It’s really hard to explain my feelings on this book. Overall, I’m glad that I read it. But if this is really the last Taylor Jackson book (I don’t know that it is – I just know that Ms. Ellison has taken off with a spin-off series with Sam’s character) I feel like it could have been wrapped up better. But then again, maybe I’m just bummed because I really don’t want Taylor’s series to end. Who knows. I might add that this book could probably be read as a standalone, just because it is so different from the other books, but then you would be spoiling a lot of the storyline with Memphis in the earlier books.

Bottom line: Recommended, but probably only to die-hard fans of this series.

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AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2013.15 REVIEW – So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison

So Close the Hand of Death
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 406
Read: March 15-24, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 15
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

So Close the Hand of DeathBlurb: It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Predator is back … and he’s got helpers.

As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll – she’s beside herself and ready to snap.

The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…


Review: I love, love, love the Taylor Jackson series. It’s one that I found a few years back and have read almost all of them – I only lack the latest one (is it the last? I just might cry if it is … but at the same time, I’ll be relieved because I kind of prefer to have some closure to series, not the huge 40+ book long-running ones).

Anyways, I must start this review with stating that if you have never read a book in the Taylor Jackson series, do not start with this one. You will be so confused. You probably won’t like Taylor’s character. You have to start from the beginning to really understand this book and who she is in this installment.

That being said, I think that this is the best book in the series that I have read. It’s so raw. It’s so eye-opening. It’s just a perfect blend of everything I love in  my mystery/thriller books.

The storyline is so fast paced in this book. It really starts off and never lets up. I was constantly turning the pages trying to figure out what was going to happen. And the end-game between Taylor and The Pretender is not at all how I expected things to happen.

And I must say that I really like the sound of the next book in this series. I don’t have a copy of it, but I’m definitely on the hunt. I think it’s going to be a very good installment. I’m interested in seeing what happens between Taylor and Baldwin … there’s a definite disconnect after the events of this book, and it will be interesting to see what happens between them.

Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough good things about this book. Or the entire series, really. So –  read this series. End of story.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2012.6 REVIEW – The Immortals by J.T. Ellison

The Immortals
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 389
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 22– Mar. 6, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012 Challenge
Yearly Count: 6
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: It is Samhain – the Blood Harvest. Nonbelievers call it Hallowe’en. The night when eight Nashville teenagers are found dead, with occult symbols carved into their naked bodies. It’s a ritual the killers believe was blessed by Death himself.

When children are victimized, emotions always run high, and this case has the public both outraged and terrified: a dangerous combination. Recently reinstated homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows she has to act quickly, but tread carefully.

Exploring the baffling culture of mysticism and witchcraft, Taylor is immersed in a darkness that threatens to unbalance the order of her world, and learns how unchecked wrath can push a killer to his limits.


Review: I have enjoyed all of the Taylor Jackson books in this series so far and this installment is no exception. I had a bad feeling going into this book when I found out that there was an occult spin on the storyline. I tend to steer clear of anything with witches/vampires/werewolves, etc. It’s just not my thing. But I love Taylor’s character and was pleasantly surprised to find this one enjoyable. I guess I should say that while there was that aspect to this story, it wasn’t too overpowering for someone who tends to not care for paranormal stuff.

For whatever reason it had been a few months since I had read the previous Taylor Jackson book. I don’t know why; this book had been on my shelf since before I finished the previous book. (It’s probably because it had the occult/paranormal twist and I was putting it off). So I had a little bit of trouble recalling some things that had happened previously. But all in all I found this one to be another great installment in this series.

I need to say that while you do not have to read these books in order, it is definitely for the best that you do.

So I guess my final rating would be that it was another good installment in a favorite series!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2011.29 REVIEW – The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison

The Cold Room 
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 401
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 8 – June 14, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 29
Format: Print

First Line: Gavin Adler jumped when a small chime sounded on his computer.

Blurb: Homicide detective Taylor Jackson thinks she’s seen it all in Nashville – but she’s never seen anything as perverse as The Conductor. Once his victim is captured, he contains her in a glass coffin, slowly starving her to death. Only then does he give in to his attraction. Later, he creatively disposes of the body by reenacting scenes from famous paintings. Strangely, similar macabre works are being displayed in Europe. Taylor teams up with her fiance, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, and New Scotland Yard detective James “Memphis” Highsmythe – a haunted man who has eyes only for Taylor – to put an end to The Conductor’s art collection. Has the killer gone international? Or are there dueling artists, competing to create the ultimate masterpiece.

Review: I love this series, there is just something absolutely haunting about the stories J.T. Ellison can weave. There were some new characters introduced in this installment, one of whom I really hope will continue to be an integral part – the new detective, Renn McKenzie. In this particular book there has been a lot of changes within the Nashville Metro Police Department. These changes have directly impacted Taylor Jackson’s work life, so it was very interesting to see just how Taylor would handle them as a person. I sincerely hope that Taylor and Baldwin get married sooner rather than later, because I think they’re a great couple. I’m definitely interested in seeing where they go together in future books. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t tried it before.

AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2011.2 REVIEW – Judas Kiss by J.T. Ellison

Judas Kiss
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 395
Rating: 4/5
Read: Jan. 5 – 14, 2011
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge; TBR Dare
Yearly Count: 2
Format: Print

First Line: Blood. It was everywhere.

Blurb: It was a murder made for TV: a trail of tiny bloody footprints. An innocent toddler playing beside her mother’s bludgeoned body. Pretty young Corinne Wolff, seven months pregnant, brutally murdered in her own home. Cameras and questions don’t usually faze Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson, but the media frenzy surrounding the Wolff case is particularly nasty … and thorough. When the seemingly model mommy is linked to an amateur porn Web site with underage actresses and unwitting players, the sharks begin to circle. The shock is magnified when an old adversary uses the sexy secret footage to implicate Taylor in a murder – an accusation that threatens her career, her reputation and her relationship. Both cases hinge on the evidence – real or manufactured – of crimes that go beyond passion, into the realm of obsessive vengeance and shocking betrayal. Just what the networks love.

Review: Okay, so it took me forever to read this book. But not because I wasn’t enjoying it! I actually really liked this book. For whatever reason, I really like Taylor Jackson as a character! She’s witty, independent, smart, and manages to balance all of that with her love life and work life. It’s amazing what kind of insight the author, J.T. Ellison, has into the psyche of the character she has created. In this particular installment, many of the cases from Taylor’s past come back into her life. It’s interesting to see how she handles it all – along with the pressure of having some really embarrassing tapes being released to the media. This book does have some adult aspects to it, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. (But I’m not really a good judge when it comes to offensive material because I’m not offended by much of anything.) Overall I’m really looking forward to reading more Taylor Jackson, I’m dying to know what she does with the awful Delores Norris (what a despicable woman!).

Here’s a line that made me laugh out loud when I was reading:

She was starting to get a complex; just how many serial killers could the city of Nashville have in one day?

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

REVIEW: 14 by J.T. Ellison

14
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 402
Rang: 5/5
Read: Oct. 19-24, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge;  RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 56

First Line: Would the bastard ever call?

In the mid-1980s, the Snow White Killer terrorized Nashville. As abruptly as the killing started, it ended. Now it seems like the killer has started up again – four new bodies have been found that look exactly like the Snow White Killer’s work. Or is there a copycat? Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson has the gut feeling that it’s a copycat at work. But she’s also a bit distracted trying to plan her impending wedding. Taylor knows that she won’t be able to enjoy her three week honeymoon unless this case is wrapped up. But the twists and turns that the clues will take them on will surprise everyone in the end.

This is the second in the Taylor Jackson series. You can read my review of the first book, All the Pretty Girls. This book really sucked me in from the first page and I wanted to know the truth. There were definitely some pretty shocking twists and turns that made this book just that much better. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good thriller. Plus, I have the next two books on my shelves and am definitely looking forward to getting to them soon.