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Welcome to my blog! My name is Kim and I write young adult paranormal, mysteries, and thrillers. This blog enables me to share the two things I love: Books and the craft of writing.

Ask the Girl is my debut novel. Murdered in 1925, Kate must seek the help of Lila and her sister to save her from her demon prison.

Book "Ask the Girl" by Kim Bartosch

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Injustice and Intrigue in the Deep South: A Review of Caroline Cleveland's "When Cicadas Cry"

Caroline Cleveland's debut novel, "When Cicadas Cry," published by Union Square & Co., takes readers on a gripping journey through the secrets and scandals of a small Southern town. As part of a virtual book tour sponsored by Rockstar Book Tours, this thrilling tale of murder and hidden truths offers readers a chance to win a giveaway. It's an adventure filled with racial tension, justice, and the power of long-buried secrets, perfect for fans of mystery and thriller genres.



My Review


"When Cicadas Cry" by Caroline Cleveland offers a compelling foray into the dark corners of a small Southern town, rife with secrets and tension. In her stunning debut, Cleveland, a South Carolina attorney, crafts a narrative that intertwines a high-profile murder case, a haunting cold case, and a simmering powder keg of racial tension.

The story centers on Zach Stander, a lawyer with a complicated past, and Addie Stone, a determined detective and his lover. The duo becomes entangled in a murder case with significant racial overtones: a white woman is brutally murdered in a church on Cicada Road, and a Black man, Sam Jenkins, is found at the scene covered in blood. Given the volatile racial climate, this case threatens to ignite broader social unrest.

As Stander takes on Jenkins's defense, he faces a formidable solicitor with influential connections, complicating an already precarious situation. Jenkins's reluctance to reveal a potentially explosive secret further complicates matters, suggesting that the murder might be linked to something much larger.

Meanwhile, Addie Stone delves into a cold case from 34 years prior, when two young women were murdered on Edisto Beach, with the killer disappearing without a trace. As she unearths long-buried secrets, the possibility of a connection between the two cases emerges, hinting at a chilling undercurrent in the town's history.

Cleveland's writing is sharp and engaging, blending mystery, suspense, and thriller elements with skill. The characters are multi-dimensional and relatable, particularly Stander, whose past adds depth to his motivations, and Stone, whose tenacity and intelligence drive the investigation forward. The author adeptly captures the atmosphere of a small Southern town, where everyone seems to know each other, and secrets linger just beneath the surface.

The pacing is well-balanced, with enough twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. Cleveland's experience as an attorney shines through in her portrayal of the legal proceedings, providing a sense of authenticity and grounding to the narrative. The interactions between Stander and Stone are complex and believable, adding a personal dimension to the unfolding drama.

One of the novel's strengths is its exploration of race and justice in the American South. Cleveland doesn't shy away from addressing the systemic issues that underpin the story's events, creating a narrative that feels both timely and thought-provoking. The tension between truth and perception, justice and prejudice, is palpable throughout the book, lending depth to the central mystery.

Fans of Karin Slaughter's "Pretty Girls" and Stacy Willingham's "A Flicker in the Dark" will find much to enjoy in "When Cicadas Cry." The novel's intricate plot, combined with its richly drawn setting and compelling characters, makes for a captivating read. The high-profile Murdaugh murder trial, held in the same town, adds an extra layer of intrigue for readers interested in true crime and legal drama.

Overall, "When Cicadas Cry" is a gripping debut that heralds Caroline Cleveland as a writer to watch. With its blend of suspense, mystery, and social commentary, this book is sure to resonate with readers who crave stories that challenge and entertain in equal measure.



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