Review of Ripley’s Revenge by Vicki Graybosch, Kimberly Troutman, Linda McGregor, and Teresa Duncan (plus Q&A with the authors)

 

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Ripley’s Revenge Shallow End Gals (Book Five, New Orleans Series) by Vicki Graybosch, Kimberly Troutman, Linda McGregor, and Teresa Duncan

 

 

As the Government brings all of its resources to bear, the most valuable asset isn’t even human, it’s Ripley, a dog. A Catahoula K-9, prowling the streets of New Orleans, hunting for his partner’s killer.

Tourey Waknem, a CIA undercover operative, has been assigned to find the same man but for very different reasons. Tourey has to stop him before he executes a plan that would bring New Orleans to the brink of destruction.

Circumstances and destiny bring Tourey and Ripley together in what appears to be an unlikely alliance to fight united against an evil and ruthless force.

Tourey, on a quest for justice.
Ripley, on a quest for revenge.
Their common obstacle; they have twelve hours.

Fans of the Shallow End Gals ‘New Orleans Series’, will be delighted to reunite with familiar characters. Can be read as a stand-alone crime thriller. As always, a full list of characters is at the end of the story.

 

 

My Review:

 

While this book can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend picking up the first four books in the series first. There is more character development in those and it really helps you follow the story better.

 

This was another great addition to the series. It had pretty much non stop action and still had the humor I’ve come to known by the authors.

 

And Ripley is actually my dog. That’s him on the cover. The authors were able to capture a lot of his personality in the book. For example, he does walk the the whole fence line in our backyard when he goes out. He also loves to open and close doors. And he’s super smart. Ripley is also very loyal and isn’t a fan of strangers. I have no doubt that he would attack anyone that came into our home without our permission. It was so cool to read a story with him and I can’t thank Vicky (who I spoke to) and the other authors for including him in their book.

 

I gave this book 5 stars.

 

 

Other Books In Series:

 

 

 

Q&A with the authors:

 

Can you describe the book series in 5 words?

 

Vicki: A tapestry of collective imaginations.

 

How did the Shallow End Gals idea start?

 

Vicki: As best friends we often meet at the ‘short’ end of the neighborhood bar at lunch time and discuss current events, books we are reading and movies. As an exercise in being critics, we discuss missed opportunities of authors and film writers to improve plot and characters and collectively we offer up our ideas for improvement. Since we meet in a public place, other patrons regularly contribute to the discussions. One day, a customer came up to us and suggested that we should write books. We all looked at each other and smiled…that was the beginning.

Now, we often hear the waitress comforting other customers and assuring them we aren’t really killing people.

 

What is one of the weirdest things you’ve had to research for these books?

 

Vicki: Both of our series use factual social problems as the basis for the plots so there is a lot of research required for each one. I would classify our research as more terrifying than weird. Often, we discuss an obscure news item only to find out it is the fringe effect of a much larger problem. The ‘what if’ conversations start and we have another plot!

 

Kim: It’s easy to tell when mom is doing research. Yesterday I got a text, “Did you know that an octopus has three hearts and nine brains?” ,or my favorite, “Did you know that 97% of birds don’t pee?”

 

Do you have a favorite character?  Who do you most relate to (besides the angels)? 

 

Linda: My favorite character is Mathew Core from the Trilogy and Catahoula, because I wanted him to morph from evil to good.

 

Vicki: I don’t have a favorite character. There are pieces of each one that I can relate to or at least understand. The most important thing to our group is to not define our characters by looks. We seldom note the race or physical characteristics of our characters and prefer to leave that to the reader. What is more important is that each character has a clear set of intentions and obstacles.

 

Teresa: My favorite character was Zack in Silent Crickets and Nick Stryker in the Nick Stryker series.

 

What made you decide to write a book with a dog as such a major character?

 

Linda: I am a huge dog lover and our research of New Orleans led us to learn more about the Catahoula Breed. When the opportunity arose to use Ripley, it was a natural. Many of our books spring from encounters in our real lives.

 

Vicki: I fell in love with the Catahoula breed doing research for our book ‘Catahoula’. Through Kristi’s review of Catahoula, we learned she had Ripley. As soon as I saw his face I knew we had a new hero! The unconditional loyalty and love from a dog are universally understood and admired. Besides, Tourey seemed lonely.

 

What is the hardest part of the writing process?

 

Linda: Working with Vicki…(smile). The pressure we put on ourselves.  We don’t write just to write. These stories and characters are important to us.  We get personally invested in a story and character which makes us passionate about how the story and character develop. Mathew Core, in the Trilogy, went from being a very bad character to someone who was driven to make amends.

 

Vicki: I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that…For me, the hardest part is deciding what the two main plot lines need to be. There are times in the beginning of a book that my mind behaves like a search engine on steroids. (Very difficult for the people around me.) There are many group conversations about this before I start writing. We want to focus on issues that are a real threat to our society and not being dealt with adequately by government or law enforcement. My ideal reader is one that stops and fact checks every seemingly unbelievable assertion we make in our stories and discovers that these are indeed really happening!

 

Teresa: Working with Vicki…(smile) Making sure we select a current event that is well researched and will be relateable to the readers.

 

Vicki: I’m starting to see a pattern here….

 

Since you write as a group, is there one person that does the majority of the writing?  Does everyone have a specific role?  Do you ever argue over major ideas for the books?

 

Linda: Vicki is the primary writer.

 

Vicki: It’s funny how this really works…. I’ll run with an idea until I slam into a block wall. Then I’ll come back to the group, like taking your car in for service, and see where they each think I went off track. I think Linda, Teresa and Kim don’t always realize that their imaginative ideas on story far outweigh the importance of penning the book. They are far too humble. I can honestly say that in the six years we have been writing together there has never been an argument. We have enough respect for each other’s ideas to instinctively take the best from every discussion. I would like to add that humor is extremely important to each of us. ‘Murder with a chuckle’ should be our tag line.

 

Kim: Mom lies. She says she doesn’t like an idea and then mysteriously adopts it when no one is looking. She also walks around the house testing ‘Dialog’. (This can be disturbing)

 

Teresa: We never argue, but we often have a variety of opinions on how to best ‘deal’ with the situations we create. Sometimes it means having a different character deal with a problem than we first planned.

 

What made you want to write books about murders, police, and law enforcement? 

 

Vicki: The short answer is I gave up on self-help and romance years ago. Murder is much more fun!

 

Our typical conversations revolve around current events. Our stories usually grow from our ‘what if’ scenarios in our discussions. In an ideal world there would be far less crime and the good guys would always win. In the New Orleans Series, we have angels helping. (We think they are needed). In the Nick Stryker Series it’s come down to a match up of grit and wit. The two series seem to be equally popular but for very different reasons. We do a lot of research to ensure the reader is given factual information.

 

Teresa: In my life I would like to experience as much as possible…murder is something I would never do so in this way we can live through our characters.

 

What are you working on next?

 

Vicki: A second book that features Ripley. “Ripley’s Secret” is the working title for now. Then we’ll move over to the Nick Stryker Series. We have readers that prefer the Stryker Series to the New Orleans Series. The Stryker Series does not have ‘angels’ and the story lines tend to be more ‘thriller’ based.  

 

 

Thank you to Vicki, Linda, Teresa, and Kim for answering my questions.

 

 

Author Bios:

 

The ‘Shallow End Gals’ are now internationally known authors of mystery and thrillers! 
We sit at the short end of our neighborhood bar for storytelling and lunch a few times per week. This is where our stories are born and alcohol is not involved. There are now four of us; Teresa Duncan, Vicki Graybosch, Linda McGregor and Kimberly Troutman.

On February 27, 2013 our friend and co-author Mary Hale unexpectedly passed. 
Mary was a retired teacher, a retired realtor, and an inspirational friend and the first one to burst into song with the faintest of prompting.

Teresa Duncan is a professional with UPS, a world traveler, a fierce supporter of humanity, and the living definition of friend. Teresa has never met a stranger and has an acute curiosity about people and life. Teresa is definitely who you want to ‘have your back’ in times of need.

Linda McGregor is a retired mortgage professional, an employee of local government and a staunch supporter of family, human rights and the plights of the less fortunate. Gifted in crafts and art and blessed with an expansive sense of humor. Linda is a born negotiator.

Vicki Graybosch is a retired mortgage professional and an avid researcher. Her life experiences and observations of the world primarily come from her computer and the comfort of her desk chair these days. Blessed with the type of mind that seeks to unearth the unique and reshape it into something humorous or memorable, she has assumed the role of placing pen to paper for the group. 

Kimberly Troutman, Vicki’s daughter, is a full time dealer at the local casino and much too young to be retired from anything. Her role in our group is to contribute her youthful perspectives, humor, and temper our devious plots.
The collective imaginations are powerful. The honest sharing of deeply held convictions is inspirational and motivational. Our goal is to tell stories in such a way that readers feel they have become one of our characters.

 

 

Buy the Book:

 

Paperback

Kindle Edition

 

 

 

Author: confessionsofayareader

I'm Kristi. I'm a wife, mom, and grandma. I have been breeding leopard geckos for ten years. I love to read and have been trying to review more books (the reason for this blog besides wanting to talk about books with everyone). I also love music and going to concerts, mostly punk and pop punk.

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