Woman Murdered

Domestic Suspense

Fiction - Suspense
284 Pages
Reviewed on 10/02/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

Could a young boy named Daniel James be the murderer of an old lady found in the sea? So it seems. He has Asperger’s syndrome, and death and violent games obsess him. Most importantly, he has already been charged with manslaughter in the death of his father, and the suspicions about him seem more than justified. After the trial, his mother and he move to the central coast of California to build a new life, only to find troubles once again. Rumors spread about Daniel, but is there any truth in them? The reader will find out at the end of Beri Balistreri’s marvelous novel, Woman Murdered. Like every great thriller, it will keep you in suspense to the last page, and like every good story, it will make you reflect.

I am a lover of mystery stories, and Woman Murdered thrilled me. Balistreri is able to create the right atmosphere for this book. She depicts with masterly skills the setting and the relationships between the characters. If Daniel is difficult to understand, the people who surround him are not flawless either. Name a defect, and you will find it represented in Woman Murdered. Mistrust is the greatest problem. People accuse Daniel of murder because they consider him an outcast. I like how Balistreri suggests guilt everywhere and how every detail fits perfectly. On the whole, Woman Murdered aims at showing how complicated human relationships are, and it achieves this by telling an unusual and enthralling mystery story. I recommend Woman Murdered to readers who enjoy great and complex novels.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Woman Murdered: Domestic Suspense by Beri Balistreri will touch the reader emotionally as Aimee James fights for her son, Daniel. Convicted of manslaughter in the death of his father, this teenager who has Asperger’s Syndrome and now PTSD must have equine therapy to stay out of prison. His mother and therapy dog move with him to help in any way possible. Her devotion and parenting are questioned continually. What Aimee misunderstands as help is instead a foundation of lies and deceit. Daniel and his bizarre ways become a focus in their neighbor’s death. Roberta Wagner was not a nice person and many people in the community had a reason to see this bitter woman die. Her actions toward Daniel may have been the final act of unkindness that sets someone off.

Beri Balistreri takes readers into the lives of a teenage boy struggling to connect and communicate with others, and his mother who would do anything for him, maybe even kill. Woman Murdered: Domestic Suspense will make the reader view people differently as it plays their thought processes out. I loved how much depth the author put into the characters. Aimee was an excellent example of the devotion of a single mother while fighting her own demons. Often, I could not tell who was bad or good until the story unfolded, making this an enticing read for those who like suspense with twists and turns. This was a story that had to be told.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Woman Murdered by Beri Balistreri is a domestic suspense novel. Aimee James’ son has been convicted of the manslaughter of his father. His jail sentence is suspended as he is ordered to undertake therapy with an animal therapist. He has Asperger’s; he has an obsession with horror-core rap music, and he has PTSD. The odds really are against him and his mother as they take refuge in the Monterey coast, hoping to start over. That’s not going to happen though. There’s wickedness, dark lies and twisted motives of the people she thought she could start again with. When the body of an elderly woman turns up, it won’t take long for fingers to point at Daniel. Aimee is willing to go to any lengths to protect her son. Just how far will she go?

Woman Murdered: A Domestic Suspense by Beri Balistreri is an amazing story. A mystery and a thriller, all rolled up in a heavy blanket of suspense, this book will take you on a journey you will never forget. The life of an autistic teen, his therapy dog, PTSD, murder, mystery, suspense and more, all in one compelling story. You will find when you pick up this book that you won't put it down until you’ve finished, and the story will stay with you for a long time. The characters were exciting and fresh, the storyline was unique, and you won’t see the twist at the end coming. This is a gripping tale, well-researched and really well-written – if you love a good story with plenty of suspense and action, you’ll love this book.

Lit Amri

Woman Murdered by Beri Balistreri takes place in Monterey, California, where the body of an old woman surfaces. The body belongs to 76-year-old Roberta Wagner and the blame is put on 13-year-old Daniel James who has Asperger’s Syndrome. His recent conviction of manslaughter in the death of his father further solidifies the accusation. His mother Aimee believes her son is innocent in both cases. She comes to wonder about the people that she thought she knew, including herself. Their move to the coast is supposed to be a healing process for both of them. Unfortunately, it’s anything but.

Woman Murdered is a riveting story of a mother trying to do right by her son. With solid writing, Balistreri’s characters are memorable, the setting is well-depicted and the plotting is excellent. The way the death of Roberta becomes the catalyst to reveal more about the other protagonists is intriguing. While investigating, Detective Frank LaTorella offers readers additional insight into the other characters who are suspects or have valuable information about the case. Between an overly ambitious, unsympathetic psychiatrist, bitter septuagenarians, a dead husband, a dead lover, references to O. Henry and Steinbeck, and much more, this is a tale of human idiosyncrasy revolving around a mother with a painful past and her autistic son. All in all, this is a commendable murder/suspense story for fans of the genre.

Rabia Tanveer

Woman Murdered: Domestic Suspense by Beri Balistreri is the story of a woman who is trying to protect her son, but fate has other plans for them. Aimee James knew her life was going to be tough, but she had no idea that it would be this difficult. Her son Daniel has Asperger's syndrome, but all she wants for him is to have a healthy and safe life. However, it is difficult, especially considering that he has been convicted of killing his father. In hopes of making things better, she moves to a new place where the tides are high but people are not welcoming. Settling in is hard, but Daniel and she are making do with what they have. But when a corpse of an old lady is found, Daniel becomes a suspect. It is now up to Aimee to find a way to clear her son and make it possible for them to find the peace they long for.

This was a very emotional novel for me. I sympathized with Aimee and her need to protect her son at all costs. The stigma that mental health issues carry needs to be addressed in a more open and real manner. The author does exactly that and shows how everything can be placed in the same box, and opinions need to be changed. I found Aimee’s character very true to life. She is a mother who will do whatever it takes to protect her child. She will fight the world. But she’s not a hysterical woman ruled by her emotions; she knew Daniel, she knew what he was capable of, and she knew that she would be the only person willing to protect him, at whatever cost. The narrative itself is very powerful. From the opening scene to the closing sentence, Balistreri showed her skill as a writer. The flow was perfect, the dialogues were crisp and the development was on point. All in all, a stellar novel in every aspect! Incredibly detailed and well-constructed.