First Cut

A Novel of Suspense (Book One in the Detectives Daniels and Remalla Series)

Fiction - Suspense
336 Pages
Reviewed on 01/09/2020
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

J. T. Bishop’s First Cut is a fast-paced journey into the world of homicide investigation as Detectives Aaron Remalla and Gordon Daniels strive to hunt down a serial killer before they inflict more tragedy on the lives of innocent people. When it becomes evident that the murders in their community near San Diego mirror similar attacks that occurred two years prior in Seattle, they decide to seek assistance from someone involved in the Seattle task force. Jill Jacobs is drawn into the hunt as a consultant, and she brings not only an intimate knowledge of the killer’s profile but also her self doubts and emotional scars from her traumatic failure to apprehend this psychopath; a deviant who is evidently fixated on her. Who will prevail in this deadly dance? You will be driven to find out.

Reading First Cut by J. T. Bishop was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. This is a book that has been cleverly structured, with just the right mix of possible suspects and at times evidence that does not always point in the right direction, which creates a genuinely intriguing atmosphere of danger and uncertainty. I totally failed to solve the mystery, having taken the cleverly laid path to a wrong suspect, and was shocked when the climax unfolded. To me this is reality; what a true criminal investigation would entail. This story arc has been married to characters that are rich in emotions and very true to life, allowing the reader to become fully immersed in the world which Rem, Daniels and Jacobs inhabit.

K.C. Finn

First Cut is a work of suspenseful detective fiction penned by author J. T. Bishop. Forming the opening novel to the Detectives Daniels and Remalla Series, this enticing work is suitable for readers from mid-teens upwards due to some mild but not graphic content. The plot follows the terrifying circumstances when a serial killer returns to find the woman who was once hunting him down. This is former detective Jill Jacobs, whose obsession with the Makeup Artist killer returns in full force when she begins to work with detectives Gordon Daniels and Aaron Remalla. As new love blossoms and old grudges rear their heads, there will be new blood spilled if our trio is not careful.

Author J. T. Bishop has created a wonderful combination of different characters and shared, tangled pasts that come together to form a truly suspenseful and enjoyable crime mystery tale. Daniels and Remalla make a great duo for investigation, action, and adventure, and the chemistry with Jill when she falls for one of them (no spoilers!) really sets an emotional journey in motion that is wonderful to see. Amongst these layers of emotional intrigue is the sinister presentation of the Makeup Artist killer himself, who is exceedingly well developed and enticing to read as a fan of deep psychological mysteries. All of these ingredients together produce a rich novel with plenty of detail, drama, chills, and thrills which are sure to satisfy any mystery fan. Overall, First Cut is a highly addictive and recommended suspense read.

Viga Boland

First Cut, the first of a new series based on two detectives, Daniels and Remalla, sees them and the police forces of both Seattle and their own city trying to nail down a vicious, psychopathic killer. As the body count mounts, Daniels and Remalla approach a former female Seattle cop, JJ, for help. She is reluctant, haunted by nightmares about the same killer, and trying to get her life back together. When the deadly killer realizes she is back on his trail, he is happy. He looks at it as an intellectual game, and he is hell-bent on proving he’s the smartest one of them all. He is sure they will never get him...but JJ and the two detectives are equally sure that this time he will be caught. Their only problem is catching him before too many others are killed, including quite possibly themselves and JJ. As readers join them in trying to decide which of several suspects is the killer, tension mounts and First Cut comes to a bloody and thrilling finish.

J.T. Bishop, the author of First Cut, knows how to construct an engaging, suspenseful plot, filled with realistic and likable characters, and uses well-written dialogue to move everything along quickly and bring it all to an exciting finish. One of the best things about Bishop’s novel is not just the sheer malevolence of the perp...and what’s a good psychological thriller without a dastardly villain...but the author’s ability to show, in the midst of the horror, warm friendships like that enjoyed by Daniels and Remalla. As much as these two detectives jokingly belittle each other, they really have each other's back. That relationship, coupled with a romantic angle developing, keeps the story very real. First Cut is enjoyable reading in so many ways. If you like this book, keep your eyes open for Second Slice, book two in the series.

Lit Amri

"The body stared up with vacant eyes, the garish lipstick smeared across the lips, and the cheeks streaked with harsh red. Blood pooled on the carpet and stained the walls. Large drips dried as they slid down the walls." In First Cut by J. T. Bishop, Detective Aaron Remalla and his partner Gordon Daniels are trying their best to stop a psychopath dubbed the Makeup Artist from piling up more dead bodies in their small town. Their best hope of catching him is former detective Jill Jacobs, who's now isolated herself from society. She's been hiding and running away from the serial killer, who strangely has a psychic connection to her. Helping Remalla and Daniels means confronting her greatest fear once again. Will she do it?

With a premise that will easily attract fans of the genre, J. T. Bishop's First Cut is a mixture of crime, horror, and romance, including a paranormal element that adds an excellent layer of intrigue to the plot. It's fast-paced and the tension is always there to give the story its constant nail-biting moments. Despite the gruesome murder scenes and the detrimental psychological hazards to cops, I had fun trying to draw my own conclusion on the killer’s identity. The brotherly bond between Remalla and Daniels made them perfect partners for each other despite their opposite personalities, and Jill Jacobs has excellent character depth, making her easily relatable. As the protagonists try to catch the perpetrator, a number of clever red herrings will challenge even the most seasoned mystery crime enthusiasts. Simply put, this is a compelling read from Bishop and I look forward to the story's continuation.

Lesley Jones

In First Cut by J. T. Bishop, when Detective Aaron Remallo and his partner Gordon Daniels are called to the scene of a brutal murder of a young girl, they fear the notorious serial killer, The Makeup Artist, has returned after a two-year absence. The one person that seems to be able to see inside the killer's mind is ex-policewoman Jill Jacobs. Unfortunately, Jacobs, once the hunter, has become the hunted and is now a target for the psychopath's sickening mind games. Jacobs is persuaded to help catch the killer before he strikes again, but Jacobs is not sure how much more her fragile mind can take. Remallo and Daniels have no idea that the killer is now not only stalking Jacobs but them as well. As The Makeup Artist's taunts become more daring, will he make the one vital mistake that leads to his capture? The detectives are unaware that the killer has chosen his next three victims, and time is running out to solve the case.

First Cut by J. T. Bishop is an action-packed thriller. The characters have depth and their dialogue perfectly showcases their personalities. The narrative is descriptive and sets a very dark, chilling atmosphere. I loved how each chapter ended with a cliff hanger that kept you on the edge of your seat. The twists and turns in the plot were spectacularly written as were the areas of conflict. The plot constantly moves forward with a well-balanced mix of suspense and lighthearted dialogue between the characters. I thought the relationship between Jacobs and Remallo was very realistic; it developed gradually and the dialogue between them was perfect considering their flawed characters. The last few chapters were explosive and the ending gave the reader yet another plot twist. I personally cannot wait to read the next book, Second Slice.