Cover Image: Liquid Shades of Blue

Liquid Shades of Blue

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Member Reviews

A gripping and emotionally charged mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I was immediately drawn into a web of family secrets, betrayal, and redemption.

Polkinghorn quickly immerses the reader in Jack's world, painting a vivid picture of his complicated relationship with his father and the haunting memories of his past. From the opening scene of Jack waking up to the news of his mother's death, the stakes are set high, and the tension continues to escalate as Jack delves deeper into the mystery surrounding her apparent suicide.

The character of Jack Girard is brilliantly crafted, with layers of complexity and depth that kept me invested in his journey. His struggle to come to terms with his family's troubled history and his own demons is palpable, and I found myself rooting for him every step of the way.

The plot unfolds at a brisk pace, with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. The exploration of themes such as grief, guilt, and the search for truth adds depth to the narrative, elevating it beyond a typical mystery thriller.

One of the novel's strengths is its vivid sense of place, with Polkinghorn skillfully evoking the atmosphere of Key West and Miami. The setting becomes almost like a character in its own right, adding to the sense of unease and foreboding that permeates the story.

In conclusion, "Liquid Shades of Blue" is a masterfully crafted mystery that will appeal to fans of the genre. With its compelling characters, taut suspense, and evocative prose, this novel is sure to keep readers hooked until the very last page.

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I did not see that ending coming! Jack has created a good life for himself. How he got there is a whole story on it's own. He has an awful manipulative father. As the book reveals it's secrets there are so many side stories that eventually tie into the final reveal. I liked the book.

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"Liquid Shades of Blue" by James Polkinghorn is a compelling mystery that takes readers on a rollercoaster of emotions as protagonist Jack Girard seeks the truth behind his family's tragic past. This four-star novel skillfully blends suspense, family drama, and personal redemption.

The story unfolds as Jack Girard, a hungover ex-lawyer and bar owner in Key West, receives a distressing call from his father, Claude "The Duke" Girard. The news of his mother's apparent suicide prompts Jack to confront his tyrannical father and revisit his childhood home in Miami. The narrative cleverly intertwines the present investigation into his mother's death with haunting memories of his brother Bobby's past suicide, adding layers of complexity to Jack's quest for truth.

Polkinghorn's writing is evocative and engaging, immersing readers in the vividly portrayed world of Key West and Miami. The author skillfully captures the emotional weight of Jack's journey, exploring themes of grief, family dynamics, and the long-lasting impact of buried secrets.

The characters in "Liquid Shades of Blue" are well-developed, each with their own quirks and flaws. Jack Girard's internal struggles and his complicated relationship with his father contribute to the depth of the narrative. The plot is intricately woven, with well-paced revelations that keep the reader hooked from start to finish.

One of the novel's strengths lies in its ability to maintain suspense while gradually unveiling the family's hidden secrets. The exploration of the alleged murder of Jack's estranged mother adds an intriguing layer to the mystery, keeping readers guessing until the final pages. The suspense is heightened by the looming danger Jack faces as he delves deeper into the family's dark past.

The theme of redemption is woven seamlessly into the narrative as Jack races against time to uncover the truth. The revelation of long-buried secrets adds a satisfying complexity to the plot, and the resolution is both poignant and redemptive.

In conclusion, "Liquid Shades of Blue" is a four-star mystery that captivates readers with its well-crafted plot, rich character development, and a perfect balance of suspense and emotion. James Polkinghorn delivers a gripping tale that explores the depths of family secrets, the impact of tragedy, and the possibility of redemption. A highly recommended read for those who enjoy mysteries with a strong emotional core.

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Great book I will have to read again sometime. Thanks for the opportunity but I didn’t get to finish it.

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Jack Girard wakes up with a beautiful woman in his bed and his phone ringing. After answering he is told his mother has died and he needs to head back to Miami to help arrange services. Jack has been living in Key West for years in order to stay away from his tyrannical father and now he has to go back and face him. As he makes the journey he discovers more secrets than he wants to.

This was a perfect mix of suspense, thrill, and excitement that I wanted. I would put this as a mix between Miami Vice and John Grisham. It packs everything into a quick read and makes me want to keep reading! I thought it was worth the read.

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A Key West bar owner receives a phone call from his father telling him that his mother has died by suicide. Our protagonist returns to his childhood home in Miami to check out the situation. Turns out she may have been murdered and Sonny boy gets embroiled in the investigation of the potential crime. Super easy to read and entertaining is this book that I highly recommend. My thanks to the author and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book.

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Set in Miami and Key West, Liquid Shades of Blue is a fast-paced story about a wealthy Florida family who is concerned with their image. Jack takes the blame for his dad's law firm when they are called into question about billable hours. Jack takes the pay off from the Duke, his dad, and opens a bar in Key West where he can also quietly re-establish his law career by helping the locals. When Jack's mother appears to die by suicide, as did Jack's brother, Bobby, Jack is called back to Miami and asked to buy into the public story the Duke is creating about his wife's death. Author James Polkinghorn creates strong opposing characters is the Duke, a media-loving lawyer and Jack, his honest and hard-working son. The novel comes with discussion questions and is an excellent selection for book discussion groups.

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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, but at the same time found some things predictable. Despite this, I still enjoyed reading this.

Jack Girard wakes up to an unexpected call, regarding his mother's suicide. He heads some and reunites with his big-shot lawyer of a father 'The Duke', who heavily implies that his mother was murdered. His mother's death brings memories of his older brother's suicide, and we learn that there is more to this suicide than it appears.

It is from this point. I quickly realise who it was. But as stated earlier, despite discovering this, I still enjoyed reading this to see how it would end.

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This was a fine thriller and should you find yourself with a copy you should give it a read. It wasn’t a stand out story for me though, I’m not sure why I cared about the protagonist or continued to read until the end but it was a fun easy summer read.

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While this is a good mystery story, I struggles to like the characters. The mystery was well written and kept me turning the page, but I just didn't totally connect. With that said, I do still recommend this book because I did still find it enjoyable.

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Liquid Shades of Blue by James Polkinghorn
Publisher Oceanview Publishing
Release Date May 16, 2023

Overall Enjoyment:

“ First his brother, now his mother—Jack Girard searches for the truth behind his family’s tragedies”

Jack Girard has had his fair share of trauma in his life. Now the ex lawyer and bar owner in the Florida keys is about to experience even more. Jack is woken from a sound sleep after a night of drinking and sex to his phone ringing. It is his father and what he has to tell Jack will throw him for a loop. His mother is dead and it looks like she committed suicide. This is not the first time that Jack has felt the sting of suicide. In their college years his brother also took his own life. Now Jack must head back to the place he calls home….Miami Florida. After speaking with his dad, Jack finds out that there is a secret. A secret that might prove that Jack’s brother was instead murdered and that his dad thinks that his mother was also murdered. Jack starts his investigation but now could be the next victim in the Girard family. Can Jack find out what the secret was that his mother told to only two people was? Did his brother go to the grave knowing something that got him killed? This is a great book that is a psychological family thriller that delves into more twist and turns that make the reader want to guess as to who is doing this to the family but you really never know. I wanted to think I knew what was going on but the ending shocked the hell out of me. If you enjoy authors who do an amazing job of telling a story that keeps you guessing from the first page until the last page, this one is definitely for you. The character buildup was awesome as was the suspense. I find it hard to find authors that do not leave bread crumbs for the reader to figure out long before the ending. I promise, you will love this one…..

5 stars

Run and get your copy on May 16, 2023

Thank you to NetGalley as well as the author and publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.

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This was a good story which kept me turning the pages throughout the night. Great mystery, writing and plotting will recommend to all my friends who love this genre.

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First his brother and now his mother have committed suicide. Is it just a coincidence or is someone else involved? When Jack wakes up next to a beautiful women and the phone ringing, it sets in motion his going back to Miami and dealing with his Father. With many twists and turns, Jack looks into the suicides to find out the truth.

A fast paced page turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book- I was transported to beautiful Miami and Key West and immediately trouble began.
Jack Girard, owner of a local bar takes a call from his father, “the Duke,” and his life goes into a tailspin as he heads
home to deal with the death of his mother. allegedly by her own hand… Or perhaps not. As the story goes, all of the
worst family business comes to the surface and secrets are coming close enough as to be guarded from the world,
hoping to keep everyone safe. This would make a great series since the backdrop is delightful and ex~lawyer and bar owner Jack just finds trouble so effortlessly. The book had me talking back to Jack at points, and I like to think
it helped! This is a fantastic debut novel! My thanks to Oceanview Publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Top marks for that ingenious title, which effortlessly evokes the hazy shades of the sultry Floridian Keys where this murder (maybe?) mystery takes place. At the same time, that clever phrase rings big bells with readers of my era who cut our crime fiction fangs on pulp-fiction detective stories like the John D MacDonald novels from the 1960s and 70s.
The Travis McGee mysteries were similarly set in Florida, where the drop-out protagonist champions lost causes and hopeless cases, and the first was titled The Deep Blue Good-by. This surely can’t be coincidental…
Liquid Shades definitely delivers many of the staples of old-school American noir, including an opening scene which could’ve come straight out of a James Ellroy novel. Our hungover investigator wakes bemused in the bed of a beautiful femme fatale, unable to recall quite what happened in the steamy small hours. Then he gets a message with the worst possible news – a death in the family – which exhumes skeletons from closets and opens old wounds, and drags him on a merry dance on either side of the legal line until his quest for the truth leads to a deeply personal confrontation. Legal scheming to organised crime to sibling rivalry: it’s all here.
Despite the dysfunctional family dynamic, the stylish writing is engaging and entertaining. I rattled through the story in a couple of sittings and although it deals with some seriously grim issues – the effects of a suicide on the surviving family, for instance – it doesn’t get bogged down in misery. That’s where Liquid Shades definitely differs from the harder edged classic noir which could get depressingly nihilistic at times.
Instead, there’s a strong positive thread woven into this narrative, an affirmation of loyalty, friendship and honesty. So while – of course – the bad guys are cruel brutes and the plot hinges on appalling acts of betrayal, the story is resolved with a satisfying sense of redemption, of wrongs being put right.
Thoroughly enjoyable. Look forward to the next one.

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Thank you for letting me read this book. I was disappointed in that I had expected to become involved in the characters and care about them and their difficulties. I did not find that to be the case. I will not be blogging about this book because another person may react entirely differently, and I don’t want to take away their pleasure.

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Liquid Shades of Blue by James Polkinghorn
Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Jack is interrupted from a lovely night with a gorgeous women by a phone call from his father that his mother just died. Worse it appears to be suicide. As Jack goes home to Miami he starts asking questions about his family’s past.

Comments: A very suspenseful noir set in Miami and Key West. I look forward to much much more and having more Jack. Some comparisons to Jonathon Ames.

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Jack Girard is a former lawyer and current Key West bar owner and finds out from his father that his mother is dead in an apparent suicide. This leads him back to Miami to face his tyrannical father, as well as recalling his brother's suicide when they were in college. Jack is dealing with family trauma, but his father thinks it might not have been suicide at all, but murder. She had revealed a secret to two people, and it's the same one Jack's brother took to the grave. Now Jack is in danger of becoming the next family tragedy.

We start out with the morning Jack gets the call from his father, who was more interested in controlling the narrative than anything else. There were stilted conversations with his friend, then a chapters-long flashback taking up the first quarter of the book. I already didn't like the Duke, and that just cemented it. He has zero regard for others, has no problem manipulating his family members, and chooses to believe in his own version of reality. The flashbacks don't end there, and Jack’s clumsy investigation doesn't go far in Miami. There are some threats along the way, with the biggest one a not surprising surprise given behavior earlier in the book. There aren't a lot of characters to keep track of, and most really aren't likable people. I'm not terribly surprised by Jack's response at the end, and think he'll be better off for it.

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Liquid Shades of Blue by James Polkinghorn

Powerful, compelling, thought provoking, dark, and tragic – Wow!

What I liked:
* The prologue that caught my attention and made me wonder “why?” and then “what comes next?”
* Jack: bar owner, lawyer, martial arts training, athlete, strong, fit, grew up in a dysfunctional family…even if he didn’t realize it at the time, more complex and interesting than he first seems to be
* Bobby: Jack’s older brother, athletic, conflicted, had secrets, bowed out through suicide much too young
* The plot, pacing, location in Key West and Miami, and the writing
* The twists and turns and surprises
* Being able to really HATE the bad guy
* That this book made me think, care, and hope
* Reading a new-to-me author that I really enjoyed
* The conclusion of the story

What I didn’t like:
* Who and what I was meant not to like
* Thinking about how evil some people are
* Thinking about the impact family and religion can have for the positive and the negative on so many lives

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? Yes

Thank you to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars

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Welcome to Liquid Shades of Blue, introducing the Girard family, past and present. His mother's death, suicide they say, pulls Jack back into the family's influentual neighborhood. As his father's actions threaten to pull him back into the family's shadow, Jack must investigate his mother's death and how it might relate to his brother's suicide many years prior. His father's attitude and demeanor remind him everyday why he left but now he has a mission, find out why his mother died.

This is my first book by this author and I'm suitably impressed with his writing and world building. Should it become a series, I'll definitely be reading the next book too.

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