I Mean You No Harm

A Novel

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Pub Date 03 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021

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The enemy of my enemy is my sister

Career criminal Vic Doloro isn’t the kind of guy you’d send a card to on Father’s Day. Layla Shawn never has. She’s spent most of her thirty-two years estranged from her father and haunted by the mysterious death of her mother.

Then Vic dies, leaving Layla—an unemployed artist—a tempting inheritance of ill-gotten money. Urging her to take the money is Vic’s other daughter, Bette, with whom Layla shares a troubled past. On a cross-country road trip. the two women mend fences, but Layla finds herself caught in the middle of an unsettled and lethal score between her father and a man who knows more than he should about her mother’s death.

As Layla zeroes in on the truth and wrestles her own demons, she finds herself face to face with a killer.

The enemy of my enemy is my sister

Career criminal Vic Doloro isn’t the kind of guy you’d send a card to on Father’s Day. Layla Shawn never has. She’s spent most of her thirty-two years estranged from...

Advance Praise

 “Castrodale’s I Mean You No Harm simmers with tension. It’s expertly paced and marvelously written, chock full of twists and turns that surprise and titillate.”–Chris McGinley, author of Coal Black.

“A tautly paced, often elegiac novel about family ghosts, sisterly tension, and the legacies we leave behind, Castrodale’s I Mean You No Harm is a unique crime thriller that you’ll never forget.”–Nick Kolakowski, author of Boise Longpig Hunting Club and Rattlesnake Rodeo.

“Amazing story. Well developed characters that are in a twisted engrossing thriller. Highly recommended. Super suspense that comes to a satisfying end! Highly recommended.”–Mike Obrien, Booked for the Season Bookstore

 “Castrodale’s I Mean You No Harm simmers with tension. It’s expertly paced and marvelously written, chock full of twists and turns that surprise and titillate.”–Chris McGinley, author of Coal Black.

Marketing Plan

*  Marketing and publicity campaign to thriller and mystery readers and social media outlets

Key outlets: Goodreads, NPR.org Books, Los Angeles Times, Midwest Book Review, The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Foreword, Desert Compan ion, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus
Reviews, USA Today, The Times, Focus Daily News, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Metro Boston, The Patriot Ledger, The Sun, Cape Cod Times, NewYork Magazine.

** Author signings and events in Massachusetts

** Available on NetGalley and Edelwiess

** National radio and TV interviews

** National blog tour and promotion on the author’s social media platforms

**Promotion and giveaways on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, Imbrifex.com,
Facebook.com, Bookbub.com, Booksends.com, FussyLibrarian.com,
BethCastrodale.com, and others

**Publicity and promotion in conjunction with the author’s speaking

*  Marketing and publicity campaign to thriller and mystery readers and social media outlets

Key outlets: Goodreads, NPR.org Books, Los Angeles Times, Midwest Book Review, The New York Times, Las...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781945501692
PRICE $25.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 67 members

Featured Reviews

This book started slow but I ended up liking it and appreciating the relationships between characters.

Again, this started off slow and you're hit with the knowledge of a strained history that keeps you interested beyond the funeral. However, that "history" turned out to be less dramatic than I expected. I found the story slow spaced and thought of DNF-ing around 40% but kept going and it does pick up, like most books around 60%.

This is not a thriller or a mob book, somehow I had those expectations going in and once I let go it got better. Reading it I was iffy but finishing it and letting it sit I liked it more.

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Great book! I was hooked from the start, thank you so much for providing me a copy of this book to read. This is something I would love to purchase.

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I did enjoy this book. It was more a mystery of the past all coming together in the present. Layla’s Mom died when she was very young and her father was absent. The story unfolds as Layla attends her father’s funeral. Not a sit on the edge of your seat, page turner but it kept me engaged to its conclusion.

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I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and really enjoyed it. It is a great storyline and is, for the most part, well-written and engaging.

The book has two storylines running concurrent with each other - the story of two estranged sisters (Layla and Bette) taking a road trip for mysterious reasons as well as the story of the death of Layla’s mother and the continuing impact her death has on Layla. While both storylines are interesting, I don’t think both were required. The story of Layla and Bette’s relationship following the death of their father is more than enough to carry the entirety of the book. The addition of the storyline of Layla’s mother’s death felt superfluous and, in my opinion, didn’t add anything substantial to the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely read more by this author!

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Amazing story. Well developed characters that are in a twisted engrossing thriller. Highly recommended. Super suspense that comes to a satisfying end! Highly recommended . A true roller coaster thrill ride

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I found that this book was good. It is definitely a mystery with some thriller moments thrown in there, but overall I believe it's about Layla finding out more about her father and life she never really knew as well as coming together with her half-sister Bette, I did feel this book was more of a slow burn, it does have it's slow moments but towards the end, it's hard to put it down. I think for mystery lovers this would be a good read for them but if you are more into thrillers and being on the edge of your seat I think you'll find it slow and a hard read.

I was able to read an advance copy thanks to NetGalley.

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This mystery thriller follows Layla and her half-sister Bette after the death of their father. Layla lost her mother when she was a baby and was raised by her late grandparents. She and Bette were never close after a failed family camping trip a few decades earlier. The sisters reconnect after the death of Vic, their father, and his work in criminal ventures. Bette is ill, but after the funeral she planned a cross country road trip to pick up adaptive art equipment for her son Jake, who has Down’s Syndrome. Because of Bette’s illness, Layla offers to drive with her, to keep her company and keep an eye on her.
Layla and Bette make amends after the failed camping trip, and bond more as sisters, but the secrecy around their father Vic and his associates creates some conflict for these sisters. Layla is sure that her mother was murdered, and she knows the man in the drawing is the culprit. The novel is laced with flashbacks to her mother working at the diner, her father meeting with his associates, the creepy man who killed her mother, and Layla searching for answers at the high school library about the details of her mother’s death.
The author utilizes art to set the scene for the setting of Layla’s mother’s death. Art connects Layla to her nephew Jake and the stalker that will not leave her alone. I enjoyed the pace of the story, it was very steady; however, there were some moments at the beginning where I wanted the author to speed up the story a bit. Another aspect of the novel I appreciated was the fact that the story did not span around romance, but family connection. I feel like so many novels these days, especially in the mystery genre are all around love lost or unrequited love or something romantic. I liked how there were aspects around lost love or not accepting the advances of scary men, but that was not the main point to the novel.

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I Mean You No Harm was a fun mystery novel that kept me very engaged throughout; I read it in less than 2 days and I really enjoyed the plot. Where the book left me feeling like I needed more was the character development. I just didn’t feel as connected to Layla and Bette as I wanted to. I liked reading about them bonding after having a rough history together, but besides that, I did not feel too emotionally attached to either of them, which is a big thing I look for in books. I was slightly more interested in the plot of the mysterious possible murder of Layla’s mother, but it was more of a back-burner part of the story that did not involve much of a plot twist; once she started questioning the motives of a certain someone, I figured out what was going to happen. I enjoyed reading Chapter 14 from the killer’s perspective; I thought that was a really intriguing route to take and I wish there had been more of that because it was a really fun point of view to read from. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to someone wanting a quick, easy mystery read, although there were just a few things that didn’t work for me. 3.75 stars is my rating.

Thank you NetGalley for the electronic advanced reader’s copy!

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I Mean you no Harm is a story about two half sisters whose father has just passed away. The relationship between the three is very rocky and Layla believes he knows more about the death of her mother than he led on. The ill gotten inheritance is to go to Layla and her half sister Bette wants her to have it. At first it seems that the story drags on pretty slow but once the two sisters take a road trip it begins to pick up speed. The story is told in two point of views and is very easy to follow along with. Bette and Layla make amends while traveling to get art equipment for her son Jake. There is a picture of a man that Layla can vaguely remember seeing. The flashbacks help in telling the story and bringing you closer to the characters. Can Layla find the man who murdered her mother? Or will there be a surprise at the end? You will need to read this one to find out.

Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley and publishers for an advanced electronic copy of this book to read and review.

First off, I am a character reader. In real life I’m a total people watcher, so characterization in novels is critical for more. So, lucky for me, this book focuses primarily on characters; the plot line is secondary and at points almost nonessential.

With that said, I was interested in Layla, her estranged half sister, Bette, and the line of characters associated with their shared, career criminal father, Vic. I still felt a little disconnected from them though, even with so much insight into their lives and their past. But out of all the characters, I found Jake, Layla’s nephew, to be the one I cared the most about.

While the bulk of the novel takes place during a road trip from Ohio to Arizona, the substance comes in the stories and flashbacks that occur along the way.

I have seen this book categorized as a suspense/thriller/mystery, but I didn’t find it thrilling or suspenseful at all; instead,, I found that it made me curious. I was curious about how their lives all connected and how the backstories made the characters act and react the way they did. I would agree that it fits more into the general fiction category.

Now, there was a small mystery that I felt was downplayed until the end of the book where there was about 20 pages when said mystery came to its conclusion. In the end, it was my curiosity that kept me hooked.

This book is about family and grief and with a dash of revenge. It’s about choices. The ending was bittersweet,

This is an easy read, but if characters drive your decision to put books on your TBR list, this is a good option. It’s not set to be released until August 3, so take note.

Overall, I’d give this a 3.5/5 because while it peaked my curiosity, I didn’t find it possessed that hard-to-put-down quality.

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Layla is dealing with the loss of her estranged father. When she meets up with her half sister, details emerge that help bring Layla peace.
This was a great mystery read. It dealt with issues of the heart that we all deal with at some point or another. It showed a bond between family even when they were miles apart. This was a great read! Thank you to NetGalley and Beth Castrodale for a copy of this ARC.

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I loved this book. I Mean You No Harm is a well written mystery/thriller. The characters weave together from years before to present day. Vic - deceased crime boss, is the glue that holds all the characters in each others lives. Layla, Vic’s daughter, is the main character. W see her face turmoil when dealing with her parents passing away, her estranged sister, and a stalker. This all forms a story that will keep you turning until the last page.

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This story focuses on artist Laylah. She was brought up by her now deceased grandparents after her mother apparently took her own life in the local woods. The curcumstances of her death have always been surrounded in doubt. Laylah's father has been absent from her life due to his career choices. You wouldn't describe him as a law abiding citizen, more like some kind of gangster. After his recent passing Laylah reconnects with her sister Bette at his funeral. Along with Bette's son and aunt. During her stay Bette reveals that she is about to embark on a road trip to collect some equipment for her special needs son, so Laylah tags along and uses this as an opportunity to bond with her sister. But has Bette been completely honest about the reasons for her trip? She is also hiding another secret about her recent health issues. What starts as a simple car ride with her estranged sister, turns into an adventure to complete a certain mission, and it looks like the are not alone.
I really liked the characters in the book. They felt believable. You got a real sense of the awkwardness surrounding the ladies and could see the barriers start to fall down.
I found it fairly predictable although there were still a few surprises. But I wasn't disappointed. I found myself shouting at Laylah in my head about the danger she will face, almost like when you watch a horror film and the viewer knows the bad guy is round the corner. It actually added to the suspense.
I enjoyed the relationship between Laylah and Bette's son. Their love and natural talent for art really bonded them and you could see that it would be a really strong relationship for years to come.
This was a quick, enjoyable thriller. Lots of suspense, some exciting developments and also interesting interactions between a split family. It had a sense of duty to loved ones and breaking down barriers to include people into your unit.
I would recommend.

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Characters developed well and related to the reader. Interesting action and settings. Enjoyed throughly

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Beth Castrodale’s “I Mean You No Harm” expertly fuses family drama into the organized crime narrative, resulting in a juicy thriller that readers will devour.

Focusing largely on the relationship between sisters Layla and Bette, Castrodale excels at slowly building the tension with a strong focus on really exploring the complex dynamics between the sisters.

Overall this was an easy read for devotees of the domestic thriller genre - with a little something extra to keep readers on their toes.

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The book started a bit slow and was a bit difficult to follow. Layla was at a funeral and only knew Bette but was looking for someone based on a sketch her mother had drawn. About half way into the book, her and Bette go on a roadtrip and that's when things started to get interesting. The ending was a complete 180. Keep reading!

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Layla and Bette have a father in common, but that where it stops. Layla was brought up in a loving family by her grandparents after her Mom died. Vic, her Dad, had left years before. Bette was brought up by Vic, a ruthless criminal. Layla meets Bette in her teens when their Dad took them on a camping trip hoping they would connect, it was a disastrous trip. Their next meeting was after Vic died and Layla goes to stay with Bette and her autistic son Jake for the funeral.
The story picks up when Bette tells Layla she has to go to Phoenix to pick up art supplies for her son. Layla suspects Bette isn’t being completely truthful and decides to join her.
There are some twists and turns in the mystery which keeps the readers’ interest. I would recommend it as a quick read mystery novel.
I give it 3.1/2.

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What makes this book different is that it's a character-driven thriller. Most thrillers are plot-oriented, with characters used as devices to move the story forward, In this book, the characters rule.

I liked that the book was a mystery, I liked the two protagonists, I liked the surprise ending, I liked the themes of family and revenge. Give me an inheritance book and I'm a happy reader! Having said that, I didn't connect with the book as much as I normally do, hence the 3-star rating.

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As all have already indicated, its a thriller novel, which started a bit slow. The end was typical mafia style. This is my first book by Beth Castrodale, thanks to the ARC provided by Netgalley, thus didn't know much of the genre that Beth wrote on. Not much a fan of thrillers, hence I would suggest its a one time read.

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Layla Shawn finds herself at the funeral of her estranged father, Vic Deloro. Vic has never been much of a father, especially since Layla's mother was murdered when she was just a small child. Layla has a half sister Bette, that she has not seen in some time. After the service, Bette shows Layla what her father left fro her. Bette then tells Layla she is taking a trip to meet someone to drop off some of her fathers items in exchange for some computer art supplies for her Bette's mentally challenge son. Layla is concerned because Bette seems ill, so she offers to tag along on the trip.

From there things get really strange. Layla has had a stalker who has been sending her packages for several months. She also gets the impression that there is more to Bette's trip than she is saying. Bette seems very paranoid when she sees a white car that appears to be following them. There's also the little problem of how Vic made his money.

This is a great story about the things we do for family, even if they aren't blood. Both Layla and Bette are well fleshed out characters and though very different in their views, they come together for the good of the family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in a day because it was hard to put down. Lots of excitement!

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.

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Really enjoyed this book! It was the first one for me to read by this author and I can't wait to read more! The characters stick with you long after the book is over.

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The title is a big lie. Plenty of harm is done in this novel. It starts off slowly as the author sets the scene. Told by the female protagonist over several timelines, this story makes for an easy read filled with drama and suspense.

Thanks to NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for an ARC to read and review.

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"I'm sorry, he said. And he'd really meant it, hadn't he? He'd truly believed that this encounter would be a beginning, not an end. But maybe love was far from the savior he'd imagined it to be. Maybe it only made his urge more painful, and deadly..."

Struggling artist Layla finds herself at the wake of her recently deceased father. She has been estranged from her father for most of her life. Together with the mysterious death of her mother when she was only two years old, Layla could have been called an orphan way before her father passed away. But here she is and her half sister Bette is waiting for her, together with her mother and her son. Even though they barely know each other, they invite Layla to their home, where her father has left her something. Something Bette wasn't willing to reveal over the phone. Knowing that her father was a convicted criminal, Layla feels quite disturbed about this. What could it be?
Bette doesn't seem all that well and when she announces that she's going on a roadtrip to get art supplies for her son almost on the other side of the country, Layla decides it is time to start to protect her sister. She travels with Bette to Phoenix, but nothing is what it seems. Are they being followed? Is Bette's health deteriorating? Will they survive their roadtrip?

I Mean You No Harm is a novel that reads like a thriller. Page by page the reader follows Layla on her journey to figure out what happened to her mother and what kind of mess her sister Bette is in. Every page reveals a new clue, but not enough to be able to guess what is going on. It has caused me to finish this book way more quickly than I was planning to! I couldn't read it in one go, due to a job requiring attendence and my body needing sleep, but when I found time to read, I did so. Non stop.

Now that I have finished the book and know what happened to Layla's mother, I do not necessarily feel satisfied. Or perhaps I should say that the novel didn't exactly blow me away. I liked reading it, discovering every little bit together with Layla, but I didn't love it. I wasn't moved by it. And I am afraid I will not remember it in a couple of weeks. Which is a shame, because the story itself does have potential. Perhaps if the book had been bigger and there had been room to shed a little light on the other characters besides Layla, the story would get a little more depth, a little more intensity, a little more impact.

So who is author Beth Castrodale? Castrodale used to be a reporter, until her love for books led her to a career switch. She first worked as an editor. Before I Mean You No Harm Castrodale has written short stories, essays and three novels: Gold River, Marion Hatley and In This Ground.

All in all, I did like reading I Mean You No Harm and would happily recommend it as a nice get-away novel. Do you have some time to kill or want to get your mind off something, do pick this novel. It will work like magic!

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i really enjoyed reading this book, the premise was what drew me in and I'm glad that I was able to read this. The characters were great and the story was written so well.

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For me this was a reasonable book. I liked the developing relationship between the two half sisters. I did get a bit frustrated when we went away from that storyline, and back in time. I also found that this made the book too slow for me, not bad, but not a thriller.

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What starts as a family drama, revolving around the lives of Layla, Vic, and Bette, quickly turns into an engaging mystery with Layla finding herself on the brink of uncovering her mother's death. The plot takes on various elements including analyzing Layla's strained relationship with her estranged dad Vic, and her not-so-close relationship with Bette. I loved the premise of the cross country road trip that leads to Layla and Bette getting to know each other better, and it is so symbolic that it happens during a road trip, because it signifies what long strides they have taken in life in understanding each other after Vic's death. I enjoyed reading this book, and my thanks to Castrodale and the publishers Imbrifex Books, for gifting me with a copy of this book.

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After an unexpected inheritance, struggling artist Layla ends up on a road trip with her half-sister, who was raised by their father, a man many years in prison and completely estranged from Layla. She may finally learn the details of her mother's death, and perhaps find a second chance at family. Castrodale keeps up the adrenaline with the ambiguity turning Layla's heart around and the terrifying people connected to her father. I recommend this story I was fortunate to receive from the publisher Imbrifex Books through NetGalley.

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Heroine Layla Shawn is estranged from her criminal father while her mother had been killed when she was younger. Upon her father's death she attends his funeral and meets up with his other daughter, Bette. Layla is also presented with a box of money to the tune of $50,000. Undecided on if she should take the money, Layla embarks upon a road trip with Bette and finds answers she wasn't expecting.

If you are looking for a book that will grab you by the lapels when you read the first sentence, this book is not it. In fact, it started out very slow and I was inclined to give up. I’m glad I didn’t. Now, this book isn’t a huge rollercoaster. It does have moments where it piqued my interest to keep on reading. I nearly gave up at the very beginning, but when the heroine was given a box that housed $50k in cash, it kept me going.

What also kept me going was watching how Layla and her sister, Bette, grew their relationship. From virtual strangers, to two women taking a cross-country road trip, who end up forming a bond that they didn’t have before, recognizing that they are sisters.

Insights to human nature and a relationship Layla never had with her father are touched upon and examined, but not so much that it bored me – haha.

I feel like the book could do with some polishing and a bit more construction – the flashbacks are, in my opinion, not really used well and seemed superfluous. It was almost like it was a word count kind of thing back in college. 5,000 words OR ELSE! kind of thing.

If you like stories that are a bit of an even keel, with no dramatic highs and no dramatic lows, this is good enough.

A million thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Imbrifex Books, for giving me the opportunity to read and review.

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Great book. Highly recommend and will most defiantly read more by this author and suggest to others!

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While this was a fun read, there was nothing overly special about this book. A lot of the twists were fairly easy to see coming but I did enjoy the writing style and the dynamic between the estranged sisters.

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A good mystery book with multiple timelines and perspectives. The author manages to capture the story in simple snapshots like the Polaroid artist’s exhibit featured in this novel. A great read for a holiday trip (maybe not a road-trip though).

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