Tag: If I Run

Book quote: I know where his bodies are buried, since I hired him to bury them.

Book Review | If I Live (If I Run #3) by Terri Blackstock

If I Live is the final book in a trilogy, and don’t even think about reading it if you haven’t already read If I Run and If I’m Found.

If I Live picks up almost exactly where If I’m Found ends, so if you’re one of those readers who has the patience to wait for the whole series before you read the first book, this series is perfect for you.

Also, if you haven’t read If I Run and If I’m Found, you probably shouldn’t read this (or any) review, as they will inevitably contain spoilers about the earlier books. You have been warned …

Casey Cox is on the run again (still?) after being set up as the supposed killer of her friend, Brent Pace.

Brent’s parents don’t believe Casey is responsible, so hire PI Dylan Roberts to investigate. As he tracks her through If I Run and If I’m Found, he comes to believe her story—that she’s been set up the men behind her father’s death twelve years ago.

If I Live starts with a bang, as fugitive Casey narrowly escapes capture. The suspense never lets up, and there are plenty of unpredictable twists as Casey and Dylan work together to evade the police. The whole novel takes place over a matter of days, rather than the months or weeks of the previous novels. That adds to the pace.

One of the potential dangers of reading suspense novels, especially a trilogy such as this, is that the focus is all on the suspense plot. It’s all action-action-action with no character. The If I Run trilogy doesn’t make that mistake. Casey and Dylan both grow as characters over the course of the series, and that focus on character lifts the series, and especially If I Live, out of the ordinary. I especially liked Casey’s unusual faith journey:

Book Quote: I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I can learn so much about Christianity by listening to YouTube videos.

If I Live is written in first person present tense from several points of view. I thought those choices added to the suspense, although I know some readers don’t like first person and/or present tense. If that’s you but you like a good thriller, don’t let it put you off. First person present tense can be agonising in the hands of an amateur writer, but Terri Blackstock is no amateur. Start reading, and you’ll soon forget it’s first person.

Recommended for thriller and suspense fans … but only for those who read the first books first!

Thanks to Zondevan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Terri Blackstock

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

In 1994 Terri was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. As she was praying about her transition, she went on a cruise and noticed that almost everyone on the boat (including her) had a John Grisham novel. It occurred to her that some of Grisham’s readers were Christians, and that if she wrote a fast-paced thriller with an added faith element, she might just find her niche. As God would have it, Christian publishers were showing interest in the suspense genre, so she quickly sold a four-book series to Zondervan. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, most of them suspense novels.

You can find Terri Blackstock online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

About If I Live

The hunt is almost over.

Casey Cox is still on the run after being indicted for murder. The hunt that began with her bloody footprints escalates, and she’s running out of places to hide. Her face is all over the news, and her disguises are no longer enough. It’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes her.

Dylan Roberts, the investigator who once hunted her, is now her only hope. Terrifying attempts on Dylan’s life could force Casey out of hiding. The clock is ticking on both their lives, but exposing the real killers is more complicated than they knew. Amassing the evidence to convict their enemies draws Dylan and Casey together, but their relationship has consequences. Will one life have to be sacrificed to protect the other?

With If I Live, Terri Blackstock takes us on one more heart-stopping chase in the sensational conclusion to the If I Run series.

You can find If I Live online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 30 | If I Live by Terri Blackstock

It’s First Line Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from If I Live, the final book in the If I Run trilogy from Terri Blackstock. Here’s the first line:

Quote from first lines: Fried rice isn't worth dying for. I never should have come inside. I should have stuck with fast food.

Isn’t that a great line? Doesn’t it make you want to start reading? But don’t read this unless you’ve read If I Run and If I’m Found first. And in that order!

About If I Live

The hunt is almost over.

Casey Cox is still on the run after being indicted for murder. The hunt that began with her bloody footprints escalates, and she’s running out of places to hide. Her face is all over the news, and her disguises are no longer enough. It’s only a matter of time before someone recognizes her.

Dylan Roberts, the investigator who once hunted her, is now her only hope. Terrifying attempts on Dylan’s life could force Casey out of hiding. The clock is ticking on both their lives, but exposing the real killers is more complicated than they knew. Amassing the evidence to convict their enemies draws Dylan and Casey together, but their relationship has consequences. Will one life have to be sacrificed to protect the other?

With If I Live, Terri Blackstock takes us on one more heart-stopping chase in the sensational conclusion to the If I Run series.

You can find If I Live online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

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You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

#ThrowbackThursday | If I Live by Terri Blackstock

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my reivew of If I Run by Terri Blackstock, because the final book in the trilogy (If I Live) releases soon, and you’ll want to read all three.

When Casey Cox finds her best friend’s bloody body, she knows she’s going to be the main suspect in his murder, because the investigation will be conducted by the same police officers who ignored the evidence in her father’s death and called it a suicide. Thanks to a healthy ‘rainy day’ stash of cash, tricks learned from her cop father, and prolific reading of suspense novels, Casey is able to keep several steps ahead of the local police.

The victim’s family hire Dylan Roberts, ex-army Criminal Investigations Division, to find the missing Casey Cox. But Dylan finds the police are reluctant to allow him access to all the information relating to the crime, and to the earlier Cox suicide, and this—along with some of his findings—means he questions Casey’s guilt.

If I Run is suspense at its finest.

Casey is intelligent—very intelligent—and suspicious of the local police force. We (and Dylan) find out more and more of her personal history as the story progresses, which confirms Casey’s innocence but doesn’t necessarily tell us who is guilty—or why. She’s also kind and shows concern for others—a thoroughly likeable character. Dylan was equally intelligent and likeable, especially with his curiosity and empathy.

The story was well-plotted with a significant subplot that rose naturally out of what seemed like a coincidental meeting, but which ended up playing a major part in the Dylan-chases-Casey story. There was also a strong underlying Christian thread with Casey’s views on faith, but this was subtle and never got in the way of the story.

And the ending was excellent, setting Casey and Dylan up for a sequel . . . which I now want to read as soon as possible! Recommended for all suspense fans.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Terri Blackstock

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

In 1994 Terri was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. As she was praying about her transition, she went on a cruise and noticed that almost everyone on the boat (including her) had a John Grisham novel. It occurred to her that some of Grisham’s readers were Christians, and that if she wrote a fast-paced thriller with an added faith element, she might just find her niche. As God would have it, Christian publishers were showing interest in the suspense genre, so she quickly sold a four-book series to Zondervan. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, most of them suspense novels.

You can find Terri Blackstock online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

About If I Run

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

You can find If I Run online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to If I Run below:

Bookish Question #8: Waiting for a sequel

Bookish Question #8 – Waiting for a Sequel

Which book have you read that’s a standalone title, but you’re waiting for the sequel?

I have a love/hate relationship with series. I love them, because I love having the opportunity to get to know the characters over a longer period than just one book. But sometimes I hate them, because once I read one book I want to read more, and I know it’s going to be six or nine or twelve months before the sequel is available. A case in point: If I Run and If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock. And True to You by Becky Wade.

And the one thing that’s worse than having to wait a year to read the sequel to a book I loved?

No sequel. Not a yet-to-be-published sequel. But no sequel planned. At all. Because as far as I can tell, it’s a standalone title.

This most recently happened with Dance Over Me by Candee Fick. The novel follows an aspiring actress as she joins a dinner theater company and searches for her long-lost younger brother. And it’s a romance, so there’s a happy-ever-after ending for the main character. But what about the other members of the theater company? Don’t they get their happy-ever-after endings?

What’s a novel you’ve read that where you’re now waiting for a sequel?

Bookish Question #7: Standalone or series?

Bookish Question #7: Standalone or Series?

Bookish Question #7: Do you prefer to read standalone novels, or books in a series?

In general, I prefer to read books which are part of a series. If I like the characters, then I want to meet them more than once. And a series is a great way to do that.

My preference is a linked series, where there is some relationship between the main characters in each book (e.g. siblings, workmates). An example is The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson.

But I’ve also read and enjoyed series about a single character, with each book a complete novel but also contributing to an overall story arc. An example is If I Run and If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock. This series follows a fugitive trying to prove her innocence. Now I’m waiting for the third book!

But I don’t always like series.

If I don’t like the first book in a series, I’m not going to read the rest of the series. I guess this is one reason most publishers keep their series short—trilogies are popular. This is especially true if the series has an overarching storyline. The first book has to grab me, or I’m unlikely to be interested in the sequels.

Also, I’m no longer a fan of those romance series where it takes three novels for the hero and heroine to get their happy-ever-after. The exception might be if the romance is actually the subplot (e.g. The Smart Chick Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark).

I recently read and loved a romance novel that was the first book in a trilogy. When I looked up the sequels, they were both about the hero and heroine in the first book. What? I thought they’d got their happy-ever-after at the end of book one. The next two books seemed to be introducing and prolonging unnecessary conflict. I didn’t buy them.

If I’m going to read a series, even one with an overarching storyline, I need each book to have an ending. A proper ending, where the mystery has been solved or the couple have got together. Not a cliffhanger ending where one or more major characters are left in major peril while the author writes the next book in the series. It’s annoying on TV, and it’s even more annoying in a novel.

So do you prefer to read standalone novels, or books in a series? What might make you prefer one over the other?