Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Punishment, by Scott J. Holliday {ends 7/19}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Barnes felt more at ease as Andrea Wilson than as her husband. The pickax’s physical damage had broken Dale’s memories and made them hard for Barnes’s mind to accept, like pouring unmixed gas into a two-cycle engine. Andrea’s damage had been equally as severe but inflicted upon less vital sites. Her engine was humming, her gas mixture spot-on. She was dreaming of a garden, was down in the thick of it, in the mud, on her hands and knees. Barnes smelled flowers, soil, cut grass. He felt the wet earth squelching between her fingers. She dug a trowel into the dirt and popped a weed from its stronghold, smiled at the satisfaction of plucking the roots out. She tossed the weed into a wicker basket with a twisted wooden handle arching over the top. Beyond the basket was the gingham blanket Andrea had laid out; beside it, a small cooler. Lemonade in there. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, too. Barnes savored the taste of her future drink, a reward for a job well done.

Andrea looked at her house. In her dream it was a mansion on the estate she owned. She had let the staff off for the day, declaring that she would do today’s gardening herself. Her benevolence gave her a sense of superiority, and with it came calmness. Here striving for something better was over. Their lives were now full.

Punishment: A Thriller by Scott Holliday presents a possible future of police work, and in this book, it’s based in Detroit. Growing up just an hour or so from Detroit, I always love to find a good "local" book. This was a perfect combination of sci-fi, with a mystery/crime to solve.

Official synopsis: 
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Punishment, by Scott J. Holliday
Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…

I found this book to be a little confusing at the beginning, but just because I didn’t "get" the technology they’d brought up for the story. Essentially, they have a machine that can take memories and transfer them from a person to the machine, where other people can access them repeatedly. People are using the machine to live experiences they would like to try from celebrities or others, or in the case of this story, for law enforcement to access murder victim’s memories of the crime and seeing their attacker.

Punishment is the first novel in the Detective Barnes series about John Barnes, a detective with the Detroit Police Department. He’s brought in to replace the first detective on a serial-killer case – because the first detective lost his mind from the machine. Now Barnes is reviewing the memories of the previous victims and having the first look at the memories of the most recent victims. The victims seem random, but that would make the killer impossible to determine. How long before the killer strikes again? Will the victims in Barnes’ head always interrupt his own thoughts?

I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the main crime storyline, and the way the clues were presented to solve it. The end of the book and actual solution to the crime was completely unexpected but felt a little forced. The romance was predictable, but I liked the female character.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a busy mom who loves having her kids home for the summer. She also has been blogging at for more than 15 years about their adventures.


Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Punishment!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, July 19th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be contacted via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Punishment, by Scott J. Holliday


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