A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fixed in Blood by T.E. Woods- Spotlight + Review + and Interview with the author

Perfect for fans of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter thrillers and the novels of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter, the gritty, action-packed Justice series continues as a depraved mind taunts those who seek retribution on both sides of the law.
I become whatever they want. Whatever they need.

Seattle Chief of Detectives Mort Grant is still reeling from losing his daughter—again. When Allie first walked back into his life, breaking years of silence, he could hardly believe his luck. And after hearing her story, Mort tried to do everything in his power to keep her safe. The only person he trusted with Allie’s life was The Fixer. But, for the first time, The Fixer let him down.

Now Mort has been called in on a gruesome murder case: a beautiful young woman found in a ravine, her body riddled with stab wounds. Within twenty-four hours, the police uncover a snuff film depicting her murder, the killer’s face always just out of shot. When a second body and video are discovered, Mort knows this is no ordinary case.

From a chain of sleazy payday loan shops to the dark underworld of the sex-slave trade, Mort’s chasing a twisted menace to hell and back. But he’s not the only one. Once again, The Fixer is on the hunt—and she’s desperate to make things right.

About The Book

Title: Fixed in Blood (A Justice Novel)

Author: T.E. Woods

Genre: Thriller / Suspense

I am so excited to have T.E. Woods here with me at The Book Review!!  T.E. was nice enough to join me for a little Q&A-  So, here goes!

  1. Lydia - Would you describe her as an “anti-hero”? Is it OK to root for her? Why or why not?

Not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but it depends on what your definition of “anti-hero” is. She certainly doesn’t fit the stereotypical view of a hero…which is male, muscular, handsome, and virtuous to a nauseating fault. Lydia is an abundantly flawed young woman acting in tortured isolation. Yet she does do what she does strictly as a matter of last resort. She acts when all other avenues to justice have been exhausted. She’s the last chance for hope for the victims who have been denied their due and people who reach that particular life-stalling level of frustration certainly would consider Lydia a hero. I like to think of her more as a champion. She tucks the battered and shattered under her protective wing and uses her considerable prowess to avenge them. What no one offered her when she was being abused, she willingly offers to others. Who doesn’t love a person like that? So, naturally, we root for her. Pick up any newspaper on any given day. You’ll read story after story of innocent or powerless people being denied justice. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a number we could call and set in motion a quick and justified fix?

  1. Lydia and Allie are both dark characters. Do you see a parallel between them since both are connected to Mort?

I do, indeed. Certainly they’re both loved by Mort. He’s the father-figure to each, isn’t he? To Allie, Mort is the biological father, ever-dedicated to loving his girl despite all the havoc she brings whenever she walks into a room. To Lydia, Mort is the nurturing and steady paternal force who believes in her much more than she ever believes in herself. Beyond their connection to Mort, Lydia and Allie are parallel in their behavior. Both kill. Both hold themselves above the law, ready to act and prepared to justify their actions on no other authority than their own internal code. It’s the motivation of the two women that set them apart. Their behavior may be identical…I mean a dead body is a dead body, right? But it’s the reasons behind the killings that make Lydia someone we hope finds true and lasting happiness. We hope for something far more sinister for Allie, don’t we?

  1. Name a few of your favorite authors.

Oh, man. Got a week? How about I hit the highlights? In my opinion, no one tells a story like Stephen King. He the master of plain, straight-forward language that grabs you by the throat, pulls you into the story, and doesn’t let you go until he’s drained every emotion out of you. I also like Dean Koontz. Ever notice how many of his plot lines take place in a single 24 hour period? Man, that guy packs a lot of punch into one day. Kurt Vonnegut was the guy who, when I was in middle school, showed me reading could be more than informational or fun. He taught me a story could change a person. Fundamentally and forever…fiction can alter the way we see fact and force us to use our own judgment to challenge what others want us to believe. Like the rest of the world, I adore Harper Lee’s solitary contribution to the literary world. I guess we can’t say that anymore, can we? She’s got her second book coming out after all these decades. Jeffrey Eugenides and Toni Morrison put me on the floor with their ability to craft a perfectly told tale out of nothing but perfectly formed sentences. I mean, where does someone get THAT kind of talent? Janet Evanovich makes me laugh from my belly. Gotta love that. Ah…I could go on and on, but then you’d think of me as boring and I certainly don’t want that, do I?

  1. What do you do in your free time?

Free time…free time…ah, wait. Yes, I remember. I really don’t have much of it. I have a full-time clinical practice and I write (my other job) at least thirty hours a week. But when I do find myself able to carve out time, my first priority is always the three creatures with whom I live. There’s my husband, who after all these years still is my favorite person to hang with. Then there are our two dogs, Tugger (an eleven year old Cavachon) and Gitch (a year old cockapoo). The three of us can make a whiz-bang day of things just futzing around the house, doing our best to make the others laugh. I also kayak (rivers are my favorite, but I’ll take a lake, too), hike, and bike. I have wonderful friends. Give me time to sit with nothing other on the agenda than talk, talk, talk, while sipping a great glass of wine and I’m in heaven. And I simply love binge-watching good television shows while sitting in a bubble bath. All my shows are on hiatus now. I’m feeling the loss.

  1. What are you reading now?

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

  1. What was your favorite book as a child?

The same book that’s my favorite as an adult. Like most Americans it’s To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it first when I was in middle school…assigned by my English teacher, of course. I thought it was a cool story about how a Southern girl lived. I re-read it when I was 20. That time it was a story about how we treat the marginalized in our society. I decided to re-read the book every year I hit an age with a zero in it. It’s been a different story for me each time. Perhaps by the time I’m ninety or one hundred I’ll be able to have stood witness to each and every one of the layered messages the genius Lee wanted to share. As I say these words I’m wondering if Atticus’ demands for justice might have influenced my Lydia’s motivations. Hmmm…I’ll have to think about that.

  1. Coffee or tea? Dogs or cats? Favorite dessert? Favorite season?

What a delightful set of questions! De-caf coffee, black is my daily choice. I start early, drink lots, and stop at precisely noon. Then I switch to iced tea until 8:00. Then it’s a nice merlot or cabernet. When I’m sick I like hot tea. Fortunately, I’m not sick often. I’m definitely a dog person. It has been my experience (albeit rare) to be in the company of some human and not have a good time. I have never, ever, ever been in the company of a dog and not had a good time. My favorite dessert of all time is the crème brule at the El Tovar Lodge on the rim of the Grand Canyon. I know…odd place to find gourmet after-dinner treats, but get there and try it. You’ll see what I mean. As relates to my favorite season, I am blessed to live in Wisconsin, where the weather is honest. The winters aren’t cold, they’re damned cold. The summers aren’t hot, they’re damned hot. Spring bursts forth with such color and sweet lilac scent. And if autumn was any lovelier I’d need medication. I love them all. Snowshoeing and dogsledding in the winter, long active days in shorts and tank tops in the summer, the return of birds and rabbits and squirrels in the spring, and the low, slanted, golden glow of autumn lights when I shuffle through fallen leaves, happy to feel the crisp breeze on my face. There’s not one I don’t look forward to.

  1. Who plays Mort and Lydia on the screen?

The truth is, anyone the director tells me is playing them. But in my mind’s eye, when I’m writing, I see Ed Harris as Mort. Maybe Kate Beckinsale as Lydia. I’d be more interested in who you or your readers see. How about sharing that with me?

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a couple of things. Of course, the Justice Series continues. Fixed In Fear, book five in the series, comes out in October of 2015. I hope your readers will be looking forward to that. Allie’s making a mess of things while Mort’s looking for the killer of his friend Larry’s uncle. I’m working on the next book in the series. Book seven brings Allie and Lydia into a direct showdown. In addition to the Justice Series, I’m about half-way through the first draft of a stand-alone mystery novel. It’s set in Madison, Wisconsin and involves a woman who, while sitting in stalled traffic, looks off to her right and sees something that, in the blink of an eye, sets off a series of events that lands her in the police station trying to explain her connection to a newly discovered body now laying on a slab in the morgue. Beyond those two main projects, I’m always working on short stories, articles, and posts for the blog I do for Psychology Today.

  1. Where can readers contact you?

I’m always eager to hear from readers. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to connect with them and hear what they think of my work. There’s lots of ways they can reach me. My Facebook page is T.E.Woods. My website is tewoodswrites.com. My twitter is @tewoodswrites.

  1. Is there a favorite quote you would like to share with us?

Again, what a great question! I’m a woman who collects quotations. I use them often. So many people, FAR brighter than I’ll ever hope to be, have said so many wonderful things. Maybe it’s easier to quote others than to think for myself, huh? Wow. It would be hard to pick a favorite. I’ll bet the one I use most (remember, my day job is being a shrink) is one of Dr. Maya Angelou’s. I’m probably not getting it exactly as she said it, but she once said something like, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Isn’t that great? I can’t tell you how often I use that. So many of my patients get themselves stuck trying to believe that whoever is hurting them…boss, lover, spouse, sibling…whoever…will someday change and magically begin to treat them better. So much energy and time is wasted needing someone to be other than who they’ve shown you to be. When someone shows us who they are, we must believe them. Hmm…perhaps one of my characters needs to remind Mort of Dr. Angelou’s sage guidance.


Author Bio

T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.



Fixed in Blood (Mort Grant #4)Fixed in Blood by T. E. Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fixed in Blood by T.E Woods is a 2015 Random House/ Alibi publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finally! It's been a long wait between books and I have been dying to know what would become of the relationship between Mort and Lydia, which ended on a very sour note in the last installment.

As the story opens we find things have not gotten better between the two, but when a young mother is found murdered and the bodies keep piling up, Mort and Lydia find themselves once more working on a disturbing murder case. How did Lydia get involved ? When one of her patients calls in obvious distress and promptly disappears, she does a little investigating of her own and runs right into Mort in the process. So, for Auld Lang Syne the two are back together again working to find a murderer, and hopefully Lydia can refrain from sliding off the wagon, so to speak.
And of course we will get an update on Allie and it's not a positive update, as she has gone from bad to worse, causing Mort and his son great distress.

This series is one my favorites. I love the dark themes and Lydia is always a unique character study, and is an interesting parallel to Mort. Allie is out of total control now having completely given herself over to evil, drawing yet another interesting parallel between these two women. One of which is pure sociopath and the other well... I'm not really sure how to define Lydia, and the two are connected by Mort.

Snuff films, something we have all come to believe is really a urban legend, seems to be given some credence with this story as young women are forced into prostitution to pay off debts, then found murdered, then for kick and giggles a recording of the murders surfaces. It is of utmost urgency that Mort find this sick killer, never in his wildest dreams thinking he could somehow be connected to the case in a personal way.

This installment was worth the long wait. There are hairpin turns, huge and shocking developments, very atmospheric, and a truly twisted story.

This series has everything a good thriller should have with a psychological angle that sucks you in and keeps you entrenched in the drama as much as you are in the crime solving element. I love that the main female protagonist, Lydia, has this calm professional exterior but hides an impulse that sets her apart, making her character border on the anti-hero side of things. “The Fixer” is most assuredly controversial, but I can't help but cheer for her and I even understand her brand of justice, even if I might not actually condone it.

I was happy to see Mort and Lydia working together as a team again, putting their issues in the past. I have a feeling Mort is really going to need Lydia now as more details leak about about Allie. But, I know for sure I can't wait for the next book to come out.. I hope the wait isn't too long though....hint, hint. 4.5 stars


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.