When J. A. Schneider’s novel Her Last Breath was published Joyce kindly wrote a guest post for Linda’s Book Bag giving advice for aspiring writers that you can read here. Unfortunately, with my father dying in hospital I simply didn’t have time to read Her Last Breath so when Joyce asked me if I’d like a copy of her latest novel, Shoeless Child, in return for an honest review I was thrilled to accept.
Published today in e-book and paperback, Shoeless Child is available for purchase here.
A little boy has seen a horrific murder but is too traumatized to speak. Detective Kerri Blasco struggles to connect with him…
Charlie Sparkes peeks out to see his mother and another young woman brutally shot. Hysterical, the brave child bolts into the cold November night for help. He screams and cries, only to fall into more trauma.
Homicide Detective Kerri Blasco is called to the murder scene. One woman lies dead next to the blood soaked rug where Rachel Sparkes was seriously wounded. With little memory of the attack, she has been taken to the hospital – but where is her child? He too, Kerri discovers, now lies in a hospital bed, mute and traumatized in a fetal position, refusing even food and water.
Charlie must have seen what happened. Kerri’s heart aches for this piteous little boy and she struggles to help him; struggles, too to find the monster who did this horrible crime. “It’s your kind of case,” Sergeant Alex Brand, Kerri’s boss and partner tells her, stepping up police urgency when another innocent is shot, and then another…
Kerri Blasco finds herself more emotionally obsessed with this case than with any other, despite clear and onrushing danger to herself…
My Review of Shoeless Child
A brutal murder sees Charlie traumatised but as he’s the key to the murderer Kerri Blasco needs to get through to him.
My goodness! I think it says something about the powerful nature of Shoeless Child that although I’d only read a few pages before bed, the story invaded my dreams. From the first page, reading Shoeless Child felt like being on an out of control roller coaster, so fast is the pace and the thrill. Several times I realised I was reading with an elevated pulse rate.
I thought the short, sharp chapters were inspired as they lent pace and momentum to the read and had the effect of making me think I’d just read one more, and one more and one more until I had gobbled up the entire book.
Initially I found the many characters a little bit confusing, but once I had settled into the rhythm of the story they became clear and distinct so that by the end of Shoeless Child I was particularly heavily invested in Alex, Kerri, Rachel and Charlie. Again, I’m impressed by J.A. Schneider’s writing because I don’t usually like children in fiction yet she made me care what happened to Charlie. That’s a real achievement!
As I read I changed my mind several times about the identity of the killer and found the final reveal very satisfying. I also really appreciated the insight into the frustrations and successes of the homicide team. The dialogue, procedures and descriptions made for a vivid and interesting, as well as hugely entertaining, narrative.
Shoeless Child is fast paced, riveting and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About Joyce Schneider
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means there’ll often be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.