Liquid Shades of Blue by James Polkinghorn

Title: Liquid Shades of Blue

Author: James Polkinghorn

Published on: 16 May 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Legal Thriller

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Hardcover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ex-lawyer and Key West bar owner Jack Girard wakes up one morning to a shrill ringing telephone. It’s his dad, Claude “The Duke” Girard. He has news – Jack’s mother, Betty, was found dead in her apartment four days ago. Apparently, it was a suicide.

Jack hits the road, heading back to his childhood home in Miami to face his tyrannical father. His mother’s death brings back memories from the past – from his older brother Bobby’s death to his mother slowing losing herself to alcohol and drugs. When Jack reaches Miami, The Duke suggests his estranged wife’s alleged suicide might have been a murder.

As Jack begins to uncover the truth about his mother’s death, he learns about his family – those well-kept secrets that his mother might have shared with her older son, Bobby. Jack finds himself in imminent danger. Can Jack reveal the true story before it’s too late? He has to act quickly, or he fears he may be the victim of the next Girard family tragedy.

What a fabulous debut! I am seriously awestruck. I read this book in one sitting. To be honest, the story was so good that I didn’t want it to end. This isn’t your usual fast-paced thriller. At the same time, readers must be prepared for a nail-biting adventure.

The story begins with Jack waking up one morning, with a beautiful woman sleeping beside him. The phone begins to ring, and Jack ignores it. It rings again and Anna, the woman lying on the bed with him, insists he receive the phone call. It’s The Duke, Jack’s father (a famous lawyer.) He has news – his estranged wife Betty (Jack’s mother) committed suicide in her apartment four days ago.

Jack hits the road and drives to Miami where he learns from his father that Betty’s alleged suicide might have been murder. The Duke and Betty were in the midst of a divorce and The Duke claims she was having an affair with a neighbor. As Jack starts to dig into his mother’s mysterious death, his past resurfaces.

Jack and his older brother Bobby were close. Born a year apart, they were more like twins. Jack didn’t expect Bobby to kill himself – they went to the pub the previous night and next morning, Jack found Bobby dead in the living room. His mother, who had already been living a troublesome life so far, gave up. She surrendered to alcohol and drugs, thus driving a wedge between her and Jack. Her relationship with her husband wasn’t working out well, either.

As the story proceeds, we get to know how much The Duke influenced his family. He was not only controlling father but a shrewd and cunning lawyer. Things took a turn for worse when Jack, who worked at his father’s firm, walked out feeling insulted.

I couldn’t help but feel bad for Jack, Bobby, and Betty – especially at the end when the secret is out. The Duke is quite a villainous character who leaves nothing but destruction in his wake.

The storytelling is simply fantabulous. Well-portrayed characters and excellent character development. The pacing is simple perfect – neither too fast, nor too slow. The mystery behind the alleged suicide/murder kept me guessing till the end. I was hooked on to the story and couldn’t put it down until the end.

I absolutely loved every bit of this book, and I cannot wait to read more of James’ works. If you are looking for a perfectly paced, engrossing, unique, interesting, and riveting read, I highly recommend you give Liquid Shades of Blue by James Polkinghorn a try.

I received an ARC from FSB Associates and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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