Monday, March 20, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: BELOW THE SURFACE by HEATHER D'AGOSTINO





Title: Below the Surface
Series: Witness #5
Author: H. D'Agostino
Publisher: Indie
Release Day: March 20th, 2017
Format: eArc
Genre: Romantic suspense
Source: Author
Reading Challenges:2017 New Release

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Things aren’t always as they seem…

I’ve lived by that motto for most of my life. I’ve hid who I am, who I used to be, and what I’ve done from anyone who dares to get close to me. At nineteen I lost my parents. I thought nothing in the world could be more painful. I was wrong.
...
When I met Leo, my world seemed brighter. I felt hope for the first time in months. He promised me a life of luxury, but things aren’t always as they seem. Leo had a dark side, one that he hid from me. He pulled me under and held me captive, making death seem like the only way out.

It took me two years to escape. I ran never looking back until now. My life is finally coming together. I have people I trust, a job, and a safe place to call home, but things aren’t always as they seem.

One night, one phone call, one moment causes it to all crash down. Leo has my sister, and he wants to trade her for me. The one person I can trust is the only one who could also tear me apart… Detective Jeff Horn. He’s got secrets just like me, and seems to understand me better than I do myself.

How do I tell him my darkest secrets? How do I go back to a place that nearly broke me? How do I let him see Below the Surface?

This book contains graphic violence and sexual encounters. It is intended for adult readers.

“No matter how far you run, you can never outrun your past”.

When I read the synopsis, I figured I knew the angle the author would take. After reading the first paragraph, I was even more convinced that I was right in my assumptions. Boy oh boy! Was I wrong? This was nothing like what I expected.


“I look terrible,” I mumbled as I scrutinized my reflection in the mirror. Who would want to hire me? I look like I just went a few rounds with a baseball bat. I sighed as I dropped my chin to my chest and let my shoulders sag. I was running low on funds, and if I didn’t get a regular job soon I was going to be back at the shelter. That thought alone propelled me into motion. Melissa had been a godsend, but life in hiding and running is not something that I ever want to go back to. The ladies at Thrive made me feel like I could do this. I can survive on my own, and I will make it. I just need to find a place that doesn’t ask a lot of questions.


Below the Surface, the 5th book in Witness series was intense, shocking, suspenseful and addictive, but the thing that set it apart from the other books was its darkness and edginess. It is a well-written story with fascinating characters and a captivating plot that made this a difficult book to put down.


Lena, having experienced unspeakable horrors had no trust when it came to men. Haunted by painful memories, but with the will to survive she sets out to reclaim her life. However, demons from her past had other plans and now her sister was in grave danger. To save her sister would mean returning to a fate worse than death. I admired her inner strength and selflessness. The fact that she was willing to go back to the world that broken and destroyed her mentally, emotionally and physically to save her sister spoke to who she was as a person.

The story moved between the past and present, making easy to relate to Lena’s traumatic experience. It took place at around the same time as book 4. However, reading book 4 before reading this installment is not a requirement. The story is easily read as a stand-alone. There were scenes that gave me an uncomfortable feeling; however, I was curious to see how the events would unfold. This is definitely not for the faint of heart. Not only that, it had me on edge throughout most of the story.

Despite me liking the story, I believe a few areas needed more development. I had a hard time accepting that Lena’s sister could so easily get over her experience after being in such a hell hole. Her actions were not typical of someone who experienced trauma making that aspect of the story somewhat unbelievable. Then there were the secret Jeff, the male protagonist was keeping. To be honest it was not what I expected and it left me feeling disappointed. I was hoping for something with a little zing. Honestly, I did not believe that his family being well off was that big of a deal and besides I did not see where it added any value to the story. Furthermore, he did not have a relationship with his family. I was hoping for a reconciliation, but the author did not explore that angle Nevertheless, I loved the role he played in the story. He is patient and protective, especially with Lena

I don’t want to say much about the plot because personally, I believe one should go into this story blindly. If you only knew how tempted I was to skip the pages to see how it played, but I am, glad I did not yield, as that would have ruined the experience for me. One thing I will say though is that I liked how the events played out.

I do not think there is anything else I can say to convince you to read this book. All I can say is this if you enjoy stories that are intense, suspenseful, edgy and semi-dark then this book is for you.




I received this book from the author. My review is voluntary and no compensation was given.  All opinions are my own.***


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