Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review: The Last Breath By Kimberly Belle


By: Kimberly Belle

Published: September 30, 2014

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Fiction/Women's Fiction

Kimberly Belle packs a punch with a gripping prologue and keeps you turning the pages, assessing your beliefs and leaving you holding your breath all the way to the end. This is Belle's debut novel and hopefully more are to come.

The book begins with the murder of Ella Mae in a small Appalachian community. We know that Ella Mae knew her murderer, but is the murderer the man who spent sixteen years in prison for the crime? Gia, Ella Mae's step-daughter, has spent her adult life traveling the country assisting with disasters, feeding the hungry, and doing everything she can to stay away from her home full of bad memories. After being gone since high school, she must now come home to care for her father Ray, the murderer. He has been released from prison to live out his final days at home with hospice. Gia is thrown into chaos with a father she hasn't seen since he was taken to prison, two siblings who want nothing to do with their father, a street full of protesters, and a nagging doubt about her father committing the crime the entire community thinks he did.

As Gia returns to the home Ella Mae was murdered in, a slew of emotions surface. Her siblings refuse to answer her calls and run out the back doors of their office. Her uncle, Cal, who is also her father's lawyer, continues to fill her with lies about the case and the local bartender's food (and sex appeal) are too hard to resist after living in third-world countries.  Gia begins to unravel memories that were long buried and starts to piece together the night that Ella Mae was murdered. When she finds out the truth about Ella Mae's murderer, it may be more than she can handle.

This is definitely a page turner and one that will keep you guessing all the way to the end. There were several occasions where I was sure I knew who the murderer was and then my opinions were abruptly changed, only to be changed again a few chapters later. There is plenty of family drama and secrets to keep the reader interested and eager to start the next chapter. I'm sure you will be on the edge of your seat in the final chapters.

Along with the telling of Gia's story, we are taken back to Ella Mae's final days. We learn some of Ella Mae's secrets and are given more insight into who may have been Ella Mae's murderer. You will wish there had been a different outcome for Ella Mae. Her choices in life, as well as her murder, left ripple effects on her family and the whole community.

Each character in the story has their own personality and is vividly portrayed. From Ray, suffering through his final days, to Fannie, his spunky hospice nurse, Belle shows she can paint each scene with dramatic details.

The only negative about this book was the explicit sex scenes. Sometimes I prefer to leave these pieces of the story to the imagination rather than read the passionate details. Everything else about the book held my attention including the emotions Gia and Jake experienced as well as her siblings. Ultimately, this story is about betrayal and the importance of forgiveness, both for the living and the dying.

Kimberly Belle - source
Kimberly S. Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. Her four years at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta were a quick pit stop on her quest to see the world. After a bit of wandering she landed in the Netherlands, where she lived among the windmills and tulips for more than a decade. But the draw of Dixie was too strong. Kimberly returned and put down roots - permanent ones this time - in Atlanta, though she always makes sure to keep her passport current. Belle is currently working on two more novels. For more information, you can check out her website, HERE. You can also find her on Twitter, HERE and Facebook, HERE

To purchase a copy of THE LAST BREATH, click the photo below:

Thanks to Harlequin MIRA for sending me a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

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