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Out and In

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OUT AND IN
a mystery-thriller
MARIE DONOVAN MYSTERIES, #1
by
PAT DUNLAP EVANS
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.

Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.

Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.

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PRAISE FOR OUT AND IN:
Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence… As for the ending, I am still stunned.”
— Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans.”
—  five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
“Awesome … flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.”
—  five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
"The new me has learned to keep friends and enemies close, even if I am pretending affection and affiliation." -Maria Donovan
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Clueless Gent’s Rating

Out and In combines a highly unique set of elements into an engaging story! We have some ex-pro football players, a clique of snobby, rich women who control the Dallas opera scene, a murdered maestro, a gay bar, a major investment fail, and a sleazy columnist who publicizes all of it!
Seriously, have you ever read a story with such a wide range of plot points? Yet this story has it, and Pat Dunlap Evans nicely puts all of them together into a tale that remains mysterious until the very end.
If you’ve ever wondered how the other half lives, this may be the book for you. And after reading it, you’ll probably be glad that you’re not one of them.

The Protagonist of Out and In

Marie Donovan has led a pretty glorified life – until now. A former cheerleader, she was the wife of a past Super Bowl star turned investment pro. He recently took a dive from a Dallas high rise after his shady investment scheme lost people millions, including the local opera company. With no one else to blame, the investors blame his widow, Marie, for their losses.
As Marie struggles to find her place in the ruins of her dead husband’s legacy, she is framed for the murder of the opera maestro, who has pretty much slept with everyone in town. With no money, she is forced to live off the remaining proceeds of an equity credit account.
Marie Donovan has a number of flaws, which help to make her a wonderful protagonist. Similar to a coming of age story, we see Marie evolve, shedding the skin of a wounded widow and discovering her new role in her new world order.

Technically Speaking

Despite this being a very good story, I must make note of the SPAG errors. There’s a number of them, and they seem to be more plentiful as we near the end of the story. I suppose it’s possible that the editor became so engrossed in the story, he/she didn’t pick up on the errors when it got exciting.

The pacing is somewhat sporadic, but there’s a good character arc for Marie. The arcs for some of the other main characters were there, but a little less noticeable.

I have mixed feelings on the ending. I don’t recall any hints along the way, like there are in some mysteries. The way the author presented the ending was also a bit unusual. It’s almost like an epilogue, rather than a climax. But you should form your own conclusion.

Overall, I enjoyed this story.  It certainly kept me engaged throughout.  The author did a great job of connecting all the pieces. I could not cover all the plot points or main characters in this review; there were just too many of them. However, I do recommend that you give this story a go – it’s very original!

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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Pat Dunlap Evans Author Photo

Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.
After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.
Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
1ST PRIZE: Signed Copy of Out and In + $10 Amazon Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy of Out and In + $5 Amazon Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: $5 Amazon Gift Card
(US ONLY)
September 12-21, 2018
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9/14/18
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9/15/18
Deleted Scene
9/16/18
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9/17/18
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9/18/18
Notable Quotable
9/19/18
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9/20/18
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9/21/18
Review
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4 thoughts on “Out and In

    1. CluelessGent–Thanks very much for your review. Initial versions of this mystery DID have more clues about “who dunnit,” but readers told me they figured out the ending too early. No author wants readers to do that, so I deleted the more obvious breadcrumbs and left some subtle ones–perhaps too subtle–LOL. Thanks also for indicating that SPAG errors remain. I will have to double-check and upload new versions as soon as possible. As far as I knew, files were fairly clean. Three different editors all took a swing. Sigh. Perfection eludes me.

      1. Pat – thanks so much for stopping by my site today! If you’re interested, I sent Kristine some examples of the SPAG errors I came across.

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