Review: By the Book by A.J. McCarthy

By the Book

Congratulations to author A.J. McCarthy on the release of her latest novel, By the Book!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

By the Book front coverBy the Book

Publication Date: November 12th, 2020

Genre: Mystery/ Thriller/ Suspense

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

A clue is left at a murder scene: a page from a paperback novel. The title of the book is Murder by the Dozen, and local author, T.L. McGinnis, cannot provide any leads. Detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller of the Ottawa Police Service are worried about what lies ahead. It soon becomes evident their worst fears have been realized, and a serial killer is using the novel as a guide. It’s impossible to foresee and safeguard all the potential victims, and time is running out. But who is the killer’s real target?

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The figure glided to the bed on soft-soled feet. The face of the intended victim was at ease, lashes dark against her pale cheeks. The curve of her lips suggested a pleasant dream.

Jennifer Danvers slept the sleep of the dead, the intruder thought. The pun provoked a smile; a hand stifled a chuckle.

Jennifer’s face was familiar, chosen with great care, and it inspired a sense of excitement; the adventure had begun at last. It had taken months of planning and hour upon hour of research.

A few hiccups were expected along the way, but the killer didn’t question the likelihood of accomplishing the goal.

Despite a sense of elation, the hands were steady as the person leaned over the bed and wrapped latex-covered fingers around Jennifer’s throat. Her lovely blue eyes opened, startled, and her hands grabbed her assailant’s wrists as she struggled to free herself, to no avail.

Training and preparation were on the killer’s side.

“You should be honored.” The words were spoken with a smile, even as the fingers

increased their pressure, and terror-filled eyes pleaded for mercy. “You’re perfect. The most

perfect I’ve found. We’ll go down together in history.”

It was over within minutes, too quick for the killer’s satisfaction, and the young woman’s body slumped, lifeless, on the bed. The act completed, the murderer took a few moments to relish the sight of her: the slack mouth, the bulbous eyes staring back, as if in wonder.

Exhilaration flowed through the killer’s veins. So powerful, so clever, so much in control. A laugh escaped, a brief staccato burst.

“No one will ever suspect me. They never do. I’m invisible.” The words were addressed to the body on the bed, as if expecting a response. “I may not come across as being special, but I can do whatever I want to, and I’ll prove it. You’ve been an enormous help. Thank you.”

The corpse received a bright grin as a reward. “Oh, I can’t forget. I have a few things to take care of, haven’t I?”

From a pocket, a pair of tweezers were removed. Unzipping a bag pinned to the front of the person’s white coveralls, a small, red plastic heart was extracted. Jennifer’s mouth was opened, and the heart was lodged against her tonsils. Thin lips curved into a smile of admiration

before closing the victim’s mouth and blocking the heart from view. Next, the tweezers were used to pull a crisp piece of paper from the bag. The killer squatted, placed it beneath the bed, and pushed it under as far as possible, taking care not to bend or tear it.

“There. Once upon a time.”

Available on Amazon and at B&N!

About the Author


A.J. McCarthy grew up with a love for reading, and that love became stronger with the years. Having built a career in finance, she decided to try her hand at writing. To her surprise, she discovered a new passion, and is enjoying the excitement and the challenges which accompanied that discovery.

She tries to blog when the inspiration strikes her, and she continues to write novels.

She lives with her husband north of Québec City, Canada, and is the mother of two wonderful daughters.

AJ McCarthy | Facebook | Twitter | PinterestInstagram

My Review:

I have to start this review by stating categorically, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK if you are a fan of murder mysteries!  Honestly, I couldn’t read this quick enough – the term ‘page-turner’ was invented for this kind of book!

From the moment it starts, I was hooked – I loved that we get to see from the Murderer’s point of view as well as the police and other characters and I also loved that I didn’t really guess who the murderer was right until the end!

I loved the writing style of the book particularly – it was well written, explanatory but not patronising and I enjoyed the little side stories and hints of romance which I didn’t think detracted from the main storyline. I also want to put it out there that the author has a good sense of humour too – there was one particular bit that literally made me ‘snort-laugh-out-loud’… “.. that has to be the most sanctimonious, sexist twaddle I’ve ever heard.” – pure brilliance!

The characters were well imagined; I particularly like Cliff – I saw him as the sidekick to begin with but soon fell for his charms, and the other person to stand out for me was Tierney; I cannot imagine what it must be like for a writer to watch all this happening in front of you knowing what could be coming next and hoping amongst hope that it doesn’t.

I loves that the book was set in Canada too – I love Canada and can’t actually think off the top of my head of any other books I have read that are based there.  It would have been nice for a tad more description of the surroundings but that is just my opinion due to being a lover of the location!

All in all, I loved it and would recommend it to anyone and I for one will ensure to look out other books by A.J. McCarthy!  I give it:


By the Book

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