Category Archives: Blackstone Publishing

Review: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Title: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: Historical (80s), Mystery, Thriller
Length: 276 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


One secret.

Eight cryptic words.

Lifetimes of ruin.

Wayland Maynard is just eight years old when he sees his father kill himself, finds a note that reads I am not who you think I am, and is left reeling with grief and shock. Who was his father if not the loving man Wayland knew? Terrified, Wayland keeps the note a secret, but his reasons for being afraid are just beginning.

Eight years later, Wayland makes a shocking discovery and becomes certain the note is the key to unlocking a past his mother and others in his town want to keep buried.

With the help of two friends, Wayland searches for the truth. Together they uncover strange messages scribbled in his father’s old books, a sinister history behind the town’s most powerful family, and a bizarre tragedy possibly linked to Wayland’s birth. Each revelation raises more questions and deepens Wayland’s suspicions of everyone around him. Soon, he’ll regret he ever found the note, trusted his friends, or believed in such a thing as the truth.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am is an ingenious, addictive, and shattering tale of grief, obsession, and fate as eight words lead to lifetimes of ruin.


I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad is a bleak yet engrossing psychological thriller.

In 1976, eight-year-old Wayland Maynard witnesses his father’s suicide. He discovers a cryptic note that he conceals from everyone, including his mother. Fast-forward to 1984 and the Maynard family is barely hanging on. Wayland’s younger sister Lydia is involved in a toxic relationship with a much older boyfriend. They barely see their mother who works double shifts that barely provide for the family. After Wayland remembers an odd detail about his father’s death, he decides to try to understand the meaning of the suicide note.  Why did his father leave a note that reads, “I am not who you think I am”? Equally confusing and painful, why did his mother remove every trace of his father?

Wayland’s friendship with Clay is already strained when he tells him about his decision to investigate his father’s death. Angered by Clay’s response, Wayland begins his search on his own. Almost immediately, he runs in to his classmate and crush Juliette Lancaum. He accepts her surprising offer to help him but their partnership is rocky because of her unreliability. Wayland is undeterred as he sets out to prove that his theory about what happened to his father is true. He has a short fuse and he is quick to lash out at the people who care about him. His mother’s questions unleash unexpected frustration and rage that he finds difficult to control. As he edges closer to finding the truth, Wayland spirals into a dark frame of mind that results in shocking decisions that will forever haunt him.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am is a gripping mystery that moves at a brisk pace. Wayland is a sympathetic character who turns out to be his own worst enemy. He slowly but steadily unravels his family’s secrets but is he prepared for what he is about to unearth? With diabolical twists and jaw-dropping turns, Eric Rickstad brings this atmospheric thriller to a poignant conclusion.

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Filed under Blackstone Publishing, Eric Rickstad, I Am Not Who You Think I Am, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Thriller

Review: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Title: The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


At the age of twelve, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man—the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He is the Nothing Man.

Jim soon begins to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first


The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard is a unique serial killer novel.

Eve Black is the lone survivor of a serial killer who murdered her parents and seven year old sister.  Before killing her family, the murderer dubbed “The Nothing Man” began attacking women in their homes, then escalated to murdering women and sometimes their partners. Eve’s family were The Nothing Man’s final victims and eighteen years later, she is hoping someone will provide the information needed capture him.

With the help of Garda Sergeant Ed Healy, Eve is able to sift though police documents, visit old crime scenes and talk to surviving victims and their families. Her novel  is an instant hit and Eve is invited to discuss her book on television and the radio and book signings.  Eve is still holding out hope The Nothing Man will finally be identified. But will anyone provide the details the Garda need to capture the serial killer?

Security guard Jim Doyle accidentally stumbles across Eve’s novel and he secretly reads the book to find out exactly what she knows. Furious at some passages and stunned by others, he relives the thrill and power he felt during his attacks. Jim continues to feel invincible and much smarter than the Garda but he is growing certain he needs to take care of loose ends. And after a chilling encounter, Jim sets a plan in motion that endangers Eve’s life.  Is The Nothing Man still capable of murder and evading the police?

Set in Ireland,  The Nothing Man is an suspenseful novel. Utilizing the book within a book plot device, the story seamlessly switches between the pages of Eve’s novel and Jim’s reaction to the pages he is reading.  The descriptions of his attacks remain vague but there are enough details to understand the exact nature of Jim’s violent acts. Eve is a sympathetic narrator of her own story and she is honest that her memories are patchy and incomplete. With clever plot twists, Catherine Ryan Howard brings this innovative novel to a surprisingly uplifting conclusion. I enjoyed and recommend this fresh take on the serial killer novel.

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Filed under Blackstone Publishing, Catherine Ryan Howard, Contemporary, Rated B, Review, Suspense, The Nothing Man

Review: All In by Shelley Shepard Gray

Title: All In by Shelley Shepard Gray
The Bridgeport Social Club Series Book Two
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Meredith Hunt is content with her solo life. She owns and runs a successful Pilates studio, volunteers at the high school every week, and recently bought a house. She can take care of herself, which is good because she has a hard time relying on other people. When she’s mugged and a handsome man comes to her rescue, she doesn’t know how to accept his help-or how to stop staring into his chocolate-brown eyes.

Ace Vance moved to Bridgeport to offer his fifteen-year-old son, Finn, a better life. Here, Finn has a chance to play football for a good team and maybe even earn a college scholarship. And Ace scored a job at a top-notch garage, where he gets to fix up classic cars. Plus, they could both use some distance from Finn’s toxic mom. The last thing on his mind is falling in love, but he can’t help offering assistance to a gorgeous redhead in need.

Thrown together by a careless criminal, Meredith and Ace can’t deny their attraction. But can they open their hearts-and their lives-to make room for love?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s Bridgeport Social Club series explores how communities can come together to support each other, whether it’s around a poker table, in a Pilates studio, or anywhere in between. Get ready to fall in love with a group of men and women who, even when they feel lost, refuse to lose hope.


All In by Shelley Shepard Gray is a sweet contemporary romance. Although this latest release is the second installment in The Bridgeport Social Club series, it can be read as a standalone.

Meredith Hunt is a successful business owner who finds it difficult to ask for help or trust other people. Her childhood is at the root of her issues but she is still in contact with her mother . Their relationship suffers because of her mom’s continued disappointment over her daughter’s life choices. Meredith has not been in a relationship for over a year and she is in no hurry to meet anyone.  However, when she is mugged, her chance encounter with Ace Vance and his son, Finn, has the potential to be life altering.

Ace and Finn have recently relocated to Bridgeport in an attempt to escape his son’s indifferent mother, Liz. Ace plans to concentrate on rebuilding his career working on classic cars and improving his relationship with Finn.  Although he has always been involved in Finn’s life, he has never been his son’s primary caregiver.  Despite his son’s somewhat dysfunctional relationship with Liz, he is a good kid who does not get into any trouble. Since Finn does not object to his father dating, Ace is willing to let their fledgling relationship develop its full potential.

The romance between Ace and Meredith is low-key and without conflict. Meredith already knows Finn a little through her volunteering at the high school so he is more than happy to support his dad’s unexpected relationship. Finn has a fairly extensive support network in place so he fully understands the importance of asking for and accepting help when he needs it.  Meredith, on the other hand, has never had anyone she can count on, so she is working to lower her defenses and let people in.  She feels somewhat alone despite the fact that she has more friends than she realizes. Recognizing she has a strong circle of friends in turn leads to Meredith becoming more open to her burgeoning relationship with Ace.

All In is a heartwarming novel of love, friendship and family. The characters are multi-dimensional and easy to like. The dialogue is realistic and the heartfelt discussions between Ace and Finn are quite endearing.   Ace and Meredith take the time to get to know each other which makes their romance more believable. The Bridgeport Social Club series is a pleasant change of pace from Shelley Shepard Gray’s faith-based fiction that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under All In, Blackstone Publishing, Contemporary, Rated B, Review, Romance, Shelley Shepard Gray, The Bridgeport Social Club Series