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Before You Leap  By  cover art

Before You Leap

By: Keith Houghton
Narrated by: Scott Merriman
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Publisher's summary

Peace of mind is all Greg Cole has wanted since the murder of his twin sister, Scarlett.

In his new sun-soaked Florida life, he thought he had found it. But when Scarlett's killer is released early from prison with a cast-iron alibi, Greg realizes that his past is about to explode into his present, with terrifying consequences.

To expose the truth he must open up old wounds. As a talk therapist, Greg knows all about dark secrets, but when a childhood friendship comes to the fore and the police turn their spotlight on him, the thought of analyzing his own psyche is a disturbing prospect. How far can he trust his own memories?

With his life coming apart at the seams, and his grip on reality beginning to unravel, Greg must face the ghosts of his past if he hopes to prove his innocence and live to see another day.

©2016 Keith Houghton. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Before You Leap

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    261
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    169
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Riveting start that fizzled out

I'll be completely honest here (and why wouldn't I be?) - I listened to over half (not sure how far into it I was) of the book and then I switched and finished on my Kindle. Why? Blah, blah, blah, I'm going to drone on about something,blah, blah, blah, I'm whiny. Now I'm going to introduce something so ridiculous that the listener's mouth will flop open like a fish out of water. I was really enjoying the book, and then, BLAM!, I wasn't. The story went back-and-forth between present and the storyteller's foggy past. It kept me interested and then I realized I mostly didn't care about the outcome. This is when I switched to my Kindle. I skimmed to the (not unexpected) ending. Is he? Isn't he? Did he? Didn't he? Didn't really care and don't after finishing. Plot contrivance that just didn't work for me. I think more than anything, I'm upset because I really enjoyed the initial part of the book; this may have been due to Scott Merriman. He was an excellent first person narrator and I will give him the credit for me (perhaps) enjoying the first half of the book more than I should have. I couldn't get beyond the big "twist" in the book and that seriously detracted from my enjoyment of the story. It was ill-fitting, didn't make sense, dumb, irritating, and, well, you get the idea. If I had been holding an actual paper book, I would have been flipping back-and-forth through the pages thinking "Huh? What? How?" Since I had an audio book and a Kindle I have to rely on my memory and say, "I didn't miss anything." It was a twist introduced to be a twist and it stunk up the book and all of the various plot tendrils that it connected to - and the plot holes resulting from it.

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72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bizarre twists at the end spoil the book

I enjoyed Gone Girl but like many a successful book before it the success of the book has introduced a lot of crap into the book market. I, for one, will be very happy when we emerge out of the era of the unreliable narrator, and especially books that abuse the reader like this book does.

The book opens with a scene in which the narrator/main character is on a bridge at a police road block. There's a hostage in the car and the person with the narrator seems to have a crazy plan. The rest of the book tries to explain this situation.

Greg Cole lives in Florida having left the Michigan upper peninsula following the murder of his twin sister Scarlett. He's become a psychologist and lives with his long-time friend Eve in a platonic house-sharing arrangement. Life is reasonably stable and good until a private detective shows up to let him know that the man convicted of killing his sister has been released from prison because he's been able to establish an alibi that was never introduced in court. A detective from Michigan arrives shortly after to give Cole the same news along with hints that he may be a suspect in his sister's murder now that they have learned that the wrong person was convicted.

As the story progresses Cole has to confront the convict who may have revenge on his mind, gets involved with a person from his childhood who has had his own share of run-ins with the law, and is framed for a second murder.

The book moves along well and there are good action sequences. Houghton can be an insightful writer. The problem comes near the end when Houghton begins dropping some odd hints along the path that led me to start questioning the reality of some of the events. Sure enough there's a sudden twist in the plot. Then it's not really a twist and we're back to normal, then another twist. All of this happens near the end of the book, making it less like Gone Girl and more like The Sixth Sense. Gillian Flynn played reasonably fair in Gone Girl giving us a frightening portrait of a marriage and then, around halfway through, turning everything upside down. But once the secret of the book is revealed she sticks with it for the rest of the book. Houghton pushes things way too far with hints about his patients and drugs that his sister took, then just kicks over the board at the end. What could have been a noire John Dies at the End becomes simply weird.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The wheels in you brain will definitely turn.

Before You Leap by Kieth Houghton is an entertaining story about love and grief. It has many twists and turns. The characters are interesting and we are given the back stories when needed. I have to admit, I did get aggravated with the lack of common sense the main character had at times, but that just made it more interesting.
Overall, I like an interesting book that makes you think so this was my kind of story.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Amateurish

This book was a disappointment. It read like a movie script written by a teenager. At times it seemed like the author didn't quite know where he was headed, along with too much rambling on certain topics. I still enjoyed it somewhat thanks to a great job by the narrator. However, I will not buy any more books by this author, nor will I recommend it to anyone.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Really Enjoyed This Book

I did indeed enjoy this book, especially Greg's line of work. But as in most stories in this genre, you have to allow for some incredibility. For instance, knowing someone was coming to Fl from MI to do you harm and you consider only their driving time in planning for your safety is pretty stupid. There are airplanes!

And after being in and around multiple murders, kidnapping, shootouts with the police, etc., involving State Police and county cops in two states, Greg was basically patted on the head by the cops and told to take two weeks off work to recover. Don't think it would be that easy in real life.

Also, I had one petty gripe with the narration and I don't know if the narrator or the producer failed to do due diligence. Story was mostly set in Lee County FL, most specifically in Bonita Springs. Mentioned also was the Tamiami Trail. I live here in Lee County. Both Bonita and Tamiami were always mispronounced. It would have only taken a couple minutes to call any Lee County office and ask whoever answered how Bonita is pronounced locally and how to pronounce Tamiami. Narration would have been a five star without that irritant.

I have association with Lancaster PA which is not pronounced the same way that Lancaster CA is. I'm sure books written about either of those towns have the same problem. Also Charlotte MI is not pronounced the same as Charlotte NC. Picky issue, I know, but irritating to listen to.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Sloooow and painful

I guess I'm too lazy to give a formal review, but I just want to give a little feedback to the author in the form of an incomplete critique.

1. The story moves painfully slow. The descriptions of the surroundings and the main character's inner thoughts are repetitive and waaay too detailed. I like action movies and books with lots of action, but... I am very sure I can enjoy good character development and dramatic dialogue. I don't need constant bombs exploding or near death experiences in order to immerse myself in a good story. Main character, Greg drones on and on about his perceptions and descriptions of past and present and imaginations and feelings....ugh! I don't know if I can keep listening....after 5 hours or so... I feel almost angry....yeah angry.... I've even yelled out load in my car at Greg a few times..."move on, we get it!!"

2. And sometimes I yell at him, calling him a "pussy" lol. He's so tentative and cautious and afraid and emotional....oh gosh. And I'm not even close to macho, but Greg described the "azure sky" and his never ending emotional grieving for his twin sister....waaay to much. I thought his attachment to Scarlett was almost incestuous.

Anyway, I think the author has real talent...there are elements of a great story here. But it just dragged on and on. And I just found myself not liking the whining main character for his whimpiness. I'm pushing through it out of hope that things turn around and ...oh gosh... I'm listening through my Amazon Echo as I write this and Greg is going on and on again at the beginning of chapter 12. Guys don't think this way....even most women.... it's so....OA.... overacting.....so dramatic and whiny. Sleep paralysis....oh gosh..... okay, I'm done....no more energy to write about this annoying story.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Physician heal thyself

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not likely to recommend. Author inserted too many "reasons" regarding the human condition. We all differ (thankfully). Some truly march to different drummers.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Deleted Mr. Houghton's heavy analyses.

Which scene was your favorite?

"Eve's" last words.

Did Before You Leap inspire you to do anything?

Characters more annoying than inspirational.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • BW
  • 06-26-17

predictable half way through the book as to end

I knew 1/3rd to 1/2 way through the book what would happen pretty much. ridiculous set of events occur near the end that could never happen.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Never read a book that took place where I lived

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was entertaining

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I had it figured out long before the end. Just needed confirmation that I was right.

Was Before You Leap worth the listening time?

I thought it was worth the time. It wasn't that long.

Any additional comments?

The story wasn't bad. It was entertaining and kind of interesting reading about places that you have been to and lived.