Tuesday, May 10

Book Review: Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

Author: Charlie Donlea
Title: Twenty Years Later
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Format: ebook
Pages: 357
Published: December 28th 2021
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Hiding her own dark past in plain sight, a TV reporter is determined to uncover the truth behind a gruesome murder decades after the investigation was abandoned. But TWENTY YEARS LATER, to understand the present, you need to listen to the past…

Avery Mason, host of American Events, knows the subjects that grab a TV audience’s attention. Her latest story—a murder mystery laced with kinky sex, tragedy, and betrayal—is guaranteed to be ratings gold. New DNA technology has allowed the New York medical examiner’s office to make its first successful identification of a 9/11 victim in years. The twist: the victim, Victoria Ford, had been accused of the gruesome murder of her married lover. In a chilling last phone call to her sister, Victoria begged her to prove her innocence.

Emma Kind has waited twenty years to put her sister to rest, but closure won’t be complete until she can clear Victoria’s name. Alone she’s had no luck, but she’s convinced that Avery’s connections and fame will help. Avery, hoping to negotiate a more lucrative network contract, goes into investigative overdrive. Victoria had been having an affair with a successful novelist, found hanging from the balcony of his Catskills mansion. The rope, the bedroom, and the entire crime scene was covered in Victoria’s DNA.

But the twisted puzzle of Victoria’s private life just the beginning. And what Avery doesn't realize is that there are other players in the game who are interested in Avery’s own secret past—one she has kept hidden from both the network executives and her television audience. A secret she thought was dead and buried . . .

Picked this up for book club. Plus...I think I was itching for a good mystery/thriller soooo perfect timing. 

The story follows Avery Mason who is the host of a TV show. Her latest story will be about a murder from 20 years ago. It is laced with kinky sex, tragedy, and betrayal. With the new DNA technology, the New York medical examiner's office makes its first successful identification of a 9/11 victim in years. This victim is none other than Victoria Ford who had been accused of the gruesome murder of her lover. Along with that, there is a chilling last phone call from Victoria who begged her sister to prove her innocence. Avery will uncover a twisted puzzle of Victoria's private life. And what Avery doesn't realize is that there are other players on the board who are interested in Avery's own secret past. 

This book was certainly a puzzle. A lot of moving pieces. I found myself back reading just to make sure I didn't miss anything vital. This is really a book you HAVE to pay attention to. Between the Victoria mystery AND Avery's own personal history...there is a lot at play here. Some are tied together, some are not. 

I was a little unsure about this the first couple of chapters. This started really, really, really slow. There was a lot of character and story building going on SO it makes, but it was slow. 

Once Avery was on the hunt and doing her research and interviews, I was absolutely hooked. The last quarter had me staying up WAY too late on a work night. Whoops. hahaha. I literally could not put it down. I HAD to know what was going to happen next. 


I did not expect the ending. That left me certainly mouth agape and shocked. I even re-read to make sure I didn't misunderstand...I mean it was WAY past my bedtime. It was a shocker, but I was mad. Maybe it was because I had a certain hope in my head? Kuddos to the author, but I pissed at certain character(s). UGH. *shakes fist* 

 Honestly...this would make a great TV special. A few episodes maybe on Netflix or Hulu or something. It was intriguing and dang that twist at the end...

Major parts of the book revolve around 9/11 so it can be triggering for some. Avery interviews and looks into survivors who may have remembered Victoria on that day. I will admit that I was nervous about this since I have struggled to read and watch movies about this event in the past. I felt it was done tastefully and respectively, so I am happy with that. 

In the end, if you love a good mystery and thriller, this is certainly one you should pick up. It had all the elements. The beginning IS slow, so be warned there. There is a lot of character setup and world-building. Overall, I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 



Jen Twimom said...

Ooooohhhh now I want to know more... what happens? Maybe I'll find out on Netflix some day. lol

Carole Rae said...

hehehehe I will not spoil nuffin' ;)

Blodeuedd said...

It has been some time since my last thriller

Carole Rae said...

This is a good one ;)