Hello avid readers!
I have here a self-published eBook review for your perusing pleasure! The Blue Ridge Project is a thrilling crime novel written by Neil Rochford, and follows the intense and mysterious happenings of two characters who become caught in a web of tricky lies and vices. It is a very good story, and I think a lot of us who enjoy mystery novels would find this incredibly enticing. Read on for a more detailed review of Rochford’s latest novel, and let me know if this is a sort of book you’d find interesting!
This review is spoiler-free. The Blue Ridge Project was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Blue Ridge Project
Author: Neil Rochford
Length: 230 pages
Synopsis: The Blue Ridge Project follows three distinct point of views: Detective Andrea Nox, civilian Robert Duncan, and affluent Francis (Frank) Mortimer, whose lives converge on a harrowing path of dark deeds and hidden desires.
Andrea is a newly appointed Detective on the Beacon City police force, and after losing her last partner in a devastating job assignment, she is partnered with an unfamiliar officer. As soon as the reassignment is instated, strange murders and suicides come out of the woodwork, puzzling the force and throwing Nox off of her usual astute game.
Robert, meanwhile, is forced to deal with the deteriorating state of his personal and professional life until a strange lead allows him to believe that maybe, just somehow, he can do good in this world and redeem himself once again. All the while, Frank Mortimer, disturbed and sociopathically charming, flies under the radar and begins to allow his horrific actions to leak out and touch the lives of innocent people. Robert and Andrea find themselves caught in Frank’s mess, and their paths converge in a life or death situation in which only they have the answers and ability to survive.
Impression: Rochford writes dark suspense in a jaw-dropping, enticing style. The novel is a quick read and is incredibly hooking- it was hard to stop reading this story, especially when the characters are so beautifully flawed and the mystery so tantalizing.
Andrea is one of the few characters I’ve read that appeared so put together and intelligent on the surface, but acted in such disparaging, angry outbursts that I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the mess that is her life. I felt a bit guilty of being so enthralled by her actions, because I knew there would be something wild and reckless to come next, but never was it written in a contrived or cardboard cutout kind of a way. Her intelligence is obvious (that’s why she’s on the police force), but her issues are complicated and chaotic and made her an incredible character.
I also truly enjoyed Robert, who is probably the opposite of Andrea in every way. Cautious, self-degrading, but not pitiful, Robert is a wise and caring character who makes his way through the book passively but without coincidence. Rochford’s artful dynamic made the two point of views so intriguing and genuinely made the reader look forward to each alternating scene.
The mystery plot was well written, but there were a few parts in which I wished the characters allowed more dialogue to conclude an especially important conflict. I also thought the resolution of some scenes were a little too easy. I wanted the characters to have to fight harder or use their intelligence to turn a conversation rather than just violence. However, this is merely the first novel (out of three, I believe), so maybe Rochford will use that kind of a transition as a character arc/character growth.
I give this novel 4/5 feather pens because of its amazing characters, its great pacing, and its easily resolved plotline. I wish Rochford had made the roadblocks a bit more difficult for the characters and had made the characters more proactive (it seemed like a lot of coincidence drove them to the conclusion), but Andrea and Robert are truly well-written characters and have a ton of potential for growth and leading the plot through the next couple of books.
For fans of character-driven novels and fantastical mystery stories with some dark, mature tones woven in, I would definitely suggest this book!