Connie A Thompson

Tag Archives: Ellen J. Green

The Book of James by Ellen J. Green

24965074Summary from Goodreads:

A terrible car crash sets things in motion for 31-year-old Mackenzie when her critically injured husband, Nick, whispers warnings that someone from his past may attempt to harm or kill her after his passing. He urges her to travel to Philadelphia to his childhood home. Find James, he insists. It’s the only way out.

His last words are pushed to the side in the aftermath of his death, as Mackenzie is consumed with grief. Until the things he had spoken of start to come true. Mackenzie’s search brings her to the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, to the 19th-century mansion where her husband was raised, and face to face with a mother-in-law she didn’t know existed. The two women each have an agenda. Cora, a recluse, worries that her son revealed devastating childhood secrets to his wife. Mackenzie is concerned that unless she uncovers those secrets and finds the elusive James, she may not survive. The two women circle around one another, hunter and prey. But which is which?

As the plot unfolds Mackenzie becomes more driven and takes increasingly dangerous risks while Cora’s precarious mental state rapidly deteriorates forcing her to relive a past she has worked so hard to keep buried.A gallery of photographs in the bowels of the house holds clues to generations of abuse, treachery and possibly murder. Messages hidden in Nick’s childhood Bible within the Epistle of James have Mackenzie racing against time to put the pieces together, unearth the reasons her husband chose to vanish when he was sixteen years old, and locate the person mentioned in Nick’s dying breath.

When James is finally found, the results are more horrifying than Mackenzie could have ever imagined.

Connie’s Thoughts:

The cover and the title caught my attention. I was cruising through the available titles on Netgalley, and I kept coming back to this one. What if you found yourself widowed, a tragedy, but then you learn you never really knew your husband. He lied about his past. His mother is still alive. He lied about his lack of money. Mackenzie is his only beneficiary and learns she has inherited millions. They were fighting about money when the accident happened.

I enjoyed the story. Often I would find myself asking if a real woman would take the same actions as Mackenzie would. I knew that I wouldn’t have made those same choices, but isn’t that part of the reason we read? To experience other lives.

I’ve only recently begun to read novels classified as mystery thrillers: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight,  and That Night by Chevy Stevens. I tend to gravitate more towards women’s fiction with novels that focus on family, marriage, love, and ordinary lives albeit usually with a little more flair than a normal life.




I’m giving The Book of James four stars. I often found myself saying “just one more chapter.”