Welcome to author Alretha Thomas! I enjoyed her recent release Missing Melissa--check out my four star review. Then I interview Alretha, and end with a giveaway.
Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Missing Twin Haunts Her Sister’s Dreams
Maddie is a gorgeous blond twenty-two-year-old about to start her career in broadcast journalism when she has a dream. A disturbing dream. She dreams her twin sister, who went missing when they were three years old, is still alive, and needs Maddie’s help.
Her parents don’t want to re-open the case, fearing they will crack open old wounds. But are they hiding something?
I thought this was a well-written mystery. Where is Melissa? Is she alive? Has she been hurt? There’s misdirection that prevented me from guessing the ending.
Maddie’s surrounded by some fun, opinionated characters, like her best friend Ruby and her dog Pepper.
I wish I didn’t have a missing sister. I wish everything was normal. But Ruby says normal is a setting on a washing machine and not what our lives are supposed to be.
Amen, Ruby! And I love Maddie’s dog Pepper. That dog’s got a lot of sass.
I remember when my parents surprised me with Pepper five years ago. He was a baby, so small and cute. I wanted to dress him up, too. I’ll never forget approaching him with an adorable pullover sweater. He snatched it with his teeth and ripped it to pieces. That was the end of any ideas about dressing up Pepper.
Ha! Maddie meets Detective Sam while pursuing her missing sister. He’s a hottie who’s sweet and steady.
”Well, one good thing has come out of all of this,” Ruby says.
“What’s that?” Sam and I ask at the same time.
“I finally got to meet Sexy Sam.”
I narrow my eyes at Ruby and try to change the subject. “So, where do we go from here?” I ask.
“No, not so fast,” Sam says. “What’s this Sexy Sam all about?” he asks, laughing.
While I loved the plot, I didn’t find the dialogue realistic. It seemed dated and cheesy to me. Characters speak in long paragraphs, and call each other by their full names to chastise each other ”Madeleine Louise Patterson!”
I am glad I had the opportunity to read this page turner, which ends on a hopeful note.
View all my reviews
And now for the interview:
Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Alretha, Many of us are fascinated by the special bond between twins. What drew you into writing a twin story in Missing Melissa?
Alretha Thomas (AT): Thank you for this opportunity, Jennifer. Like a lot of people, I also have had a fascination with twins. It started in childhood. My mother and aunt looked so much alike, I would have sworn that they were twins, and I was terribly disappointed when I learned they weren’t. I was thinking about this around the time the idea to write Missing Melissa came to me. I was also reflecting on my mother’s untimely death. My mother passed away at the young age of 36. I was 14. My cousin told me that my aunt was devastated when my mother died. So those two thoughts inspired me to write Missing Melissa. I wanted to explore how the loss of a close sibling can affect the surviving sibling.
JL: I'm so sad to hear about your mother's death at a young age. One of my favorite characters is Pepper the dog. Do you have a dog? Other pets?
AT: Jennifer, I am so glad you like Pepper! I love Pepper. When my husband read the opening to the book he felt Pepper had too big of a role, no pun intended (he’s a mastiff). I purposely made Pepper somewhat of a secondary character because in a way he filled the hole that was left by the missing twin. Ironically, I didn’t grow up with a dog and I’m allergic to cats. My husband and I have been vacillating about getting a dog. No one wants to do the clean-up (smile). But we both love dogs and think they’re adorable. For the past month, my husband’s been feeding a bird that comes by from time-to-time and even the neighborhood Bobcat. I think we’re inching our way to getting a pet! BTW we have a ton of stuffed pets—turtles, rabbits, bears, and even a Kangaroo!
JL: I also loved the character of Ruby, Maddie's sassy best friend. How have your real-life friendships become part of this fictional relationship?
AT: Yes, Ruby is one of my favorites as well. I love the relationship she and Maddie have and yes, friendships I’ve had over the years did influence Maddie and Ruby’s relationship. Like Maddie, I’ve only had one best friend at a time. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends. That’s probably why Maddie only has one close girlfriend. Writing the two of them was somewhat nostalgic because their relationship reminded me of a fourteen-year relationship I had that went awry right after I got married. Like Maddie and Ruby, we were close and the feelings we had for each other were unconditional. Actually, this friend was there when I meant my future husband. I truly believe that I may not have given as much as my friend did in the relationship at the time because I was going through some challenging times. I believe I may have drained her. But by the time I realized this it was too late.
JL: I notice Missing Melissa is your eighth novel, and your other books include a contemporary romance series staring with Married in the Nick of Nine. What's next for you?
AT: Missing Melissa is my debut Mystery novel! Yes, I started out with a romance series that I call The Cass & Nick series: Married in the Nick of Nine, The Baby in the Window, One Harte, Two Loves, and Renee’s Return. I had a blast writing those books. I hope readers have an opportunity to check them out as well. That series is complete. Depending on how well Missing Melissa does, I’d love to write the sequel and I have some ideas percolating. Of course, all the main characters will return, including Pepper!
JL: Wow, I would've never guessed it was your first mystery. Thank you for stopping by and best of luck with your writing!
AT: It’s been great speaking with you Jennifer.
Alretha has generously offered to gift two readers with e-copies of the first book in the Cass & Nick series: Married in the Nick of Nine.
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