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Bombshell: An Ava Romantic Mystery

What Doesn't Kill You, Book 9
Narrated by: Chanté McCormick
Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

A musical career in the making. A murdered childhood friend. One chance to catch the killer. 

Ava dreams of building a better life for her daughter through her island pop songs. Her new temp job leads to a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a record deal, but before she can pack her bags for New York, she discovers a dead body outside her office building. Horrified, Ava recognizes the murdered sex worker as her childhood friend. 

The single mother finds herself torn between pursuing her life’s passion or justice for her murdered friend. When another friend is killed, she worries the deaths are connected to a shared trauma that she’s been running from her whole life. After dumping her cop boyfriend, she realizes the pain she keeps locked inside could be sabotaging her shot at lasting love. Before Ava can move on to a bright future in music, she must confront the truth behind her dark past to catch the murderer or she'll be next on his kill list. 

Bombshell is the first audiobook in Ava’s trilogy within the What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery saga. If you like sexy single moms, shocking suspense, and journeys of self-empowerment, then you’ll love Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ award-winning series. 

Buy Bombshell to get into the rhythm with a fast-paced pop murder mystery today.

©2017 Pamela Fagan Hutchins (P)2018 Pamela Fagan Hutchins

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Enjoyed the Narration

The narration on the book, with the Caribbean accent (when appropriate), gave this book the little extra something special to the book. The book had a great story line, although I do feel as if the main character, Ava, maybe could have been portrayed a little different (not so much as a whole, a mother that rather party than spend time with her baby, mooching off of her parents, having an abortion, sleeping with best friends brother, and possibly even hit on best friends husband (mentioned first part of book).....really puts a black light on her morals and ethic), however, I suppose then if the main character would have changed, then we would not have the story that we do have. I also did not enjoy the author talking negative about our current president-it was distasteful and lacked grace. Political opinions are best left to ones self

I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dee
  • LA
  • 07-08-18

The narrator killed it!

This is my first book by McCormick and I sincerely enjoyed it. She slipped so easily into her island dialect and was quick to switch to the other character's. Her narration was like a one-woman theatrical performance and is what took center stage with this listen.

The story was just okay. I absolutely did not like Ava. She was a tad selfish (and over-sexed) and I just did not care to be in her head. (I can't believe how she kept saying she needed to do something for her kid and was constantly palming said kid off to be babysat.) I was constantly struggling to keep listening since this book was told from Ava's POV. If not for the narrator. I would have stopped.

The other books in this series did not have Ava as the main protagonist. I hope this is the last.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A Good Story. An Even Better Performance.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Ava is a troubled soul. That is the bottom line. She is a series of "want to be": a good mother, a successful singer, a supportive daughter, a worthy girlfriend, an appreciative friend, a model employee. At the end, she just struggles to be herself. She depends too much on others, and gives herself freely as an overcompensation for her internal demons that have made her the tormented woman she has become. It is not easy to live a normal life with a childhood that was anything but normal. She is beautiful, has a great voice, knows how to charm, has supportive parents and a sweet daughter, even a man that loves her for what she is. But that is not enough, it's never enough to be able to drown memories that hurt too much to be faced. Then the bombshell receives her own bombshell... The way the story unfolds brings us to the islands and back to New York City accompanied by the powerful and masterful narration of Chanté McCormick. She is truly the reason this audiobook is so successful and soulful. The mystery is not the main point of the story, just a small part of it. To me it is all about Ava's struggles and expectations. Well written, and even better narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Earns 5/5 Caribbean Conundrums…Clever!

Ava Butler, a thirty-something, single mom, is very excited about her new temp assignment with a virtual currency company, but her first day doesn't go smoothly. A run in with a pothole forces her to get a lift to work which leads to a side trip down an alley and the discovery of a dead body. Although a few years apart the murder victim attended the same Catholic school. The memories of her own time there reopens old wounds about her tragic “Me, Too” experiences she believes the dead girl shared. Then more young women are dead, her employer has issues, law enforcement has issues, a possible record deal is dangled, and another tragedy is more a horrific déjà vu memory…this can't be happening!

As an all-time multi-tasked, I greatly enjoy audiobooks, and “listening” to Pamela Fagan Hutchins’s book was the perfect opportunity to go a bit outside my “cozy” comfort zone. With a lot to unpack in Pamela Fagan Hutchins’s story, the plot is engaging addressing contemporary themes, edgy with sexual innuendo and a few adult situations and language to match. It is less mystery in a “cozy” sense and more a suspense thriller expanding into different directions with rich characters including a jumbie spirit? But it all links with more than a few perilous situations and a “Wow!” ending that made me eager to read the rest of Ava’s trilogy.

Chanté McCormick is quite the narrator. She went beyond a traditional reading enriching Ava’s first-person narrative with a pleasant natural voice, but it's the fun and very entertaining dialogue for the “Calypso” accent of Ava and the other island residents, southern drawl from Ava’s BFF, and variants in common American that Chanté did well. For female narrators mastering the male voices is quite a challenge, but Chanté did more than a satisfactory job. I found the audiobook very entertaining, and well-worth picking it up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

The story is good, the narration is outstanding!

Bombshell was recommended to me, so I decided to give it a try . The story overall is a good one, however, with this being a trilogy, there is more set-up time needed to lay the groundwork. Once you get past the first half, the story begins to roll. While the book is good overall, the narrator is the star of this show. She (Chante McCormick) gives a true performance through her vocal acting of this book. If you want a monotone or basic book reading, this is not the audio book for you, it's an all-around performance. I was impressed when I first heard her island accent. I thought, "Hey, that's pretty good." But I was pleasantly surprised when several other accents came out that were equally as impressive. I followed the story as Pamela Fagan Hutchins weaves her tale of murder suspense and throws in characters from all over the United States and Islands. The story came alive when Chante vocalized the characters' accents such as Texan, Georgian, New York and Islander accents (just to name the ones on the top of my head). I could visualize the NY characters with their sometimes raspy voices and attitudes.The Texan accents were nicely done without being given the typical way-over-done Southern drawl. I have listened to other audio books before (as I have a job that requires extensive travel) but this is the first one where the narrator was so engaging. It felt the same as when I've had a movie playing in another room and I can hear the actor talking but can't see the screen. That's the type of performance to expect with this audio book. Great job, I look forward to more performances like this. Makes my commuting so much more enjoyable!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Audiobook newbie

Bombshell was my first audiobook. I was skeptical at first when my book club selected it as our next read because I prefer books in print. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it and listened for five hours straight at first. Chante McCormick, the narrator, has the perfect voice for audiobooks. She changed my mind about them. I felt like I was present in Ava's world and found myself laughing out loud.
Ava is funny, smart and reminds me of many independent, hardworking Caribbean women I know. I definitely recommend reading other books written by Pamela Fagan Hutchins.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Pretty Enjoyable Audiobook Experience for a Newbie

This was my first time listening to an Audiobook and I would say that I found it to be fairly enjoyable. I thought it was entertaining and pretty well written, and her use of different characters made it interesting. The story had a good mixture of humor, drama, and suspense/ mystery.
The author does a great job of transporting us to the fictional island of Marcos . Some sections of the book were very vivid in describing the atmosphere and I truly felt like I was transported and could visualize the scene. I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of character development outside of Ava and maybe we’ll see more in the future books that are part of the trilogy. She also did a good job interweaving different subplots into story.
At times, I had to replay certain sections to fully comprehend what was going on as not to get lost in the development of the mystery. It did take some extra attention, especially in the beginning to figure out the direction of book due to so many characters introduced into the first chapters.
The narrator, Chante McCormick did a wonderful job bringing characters to life. She was able to do the different accents quite well and make the experience more vivid. The book got a special boost from this narration and helped to keep my interest.
The main character Ava wasn’t the most saintly of women and definitely had her shortcomings. I tried not to be too judgmental and thought there are women out there in society that do fit this bill. I looked at her as a colorful character that contributed to storyline. Never a dull moment when she was around.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Sassy Female Sleuth in the Carribean

Bombshell is the ninth book in the “What Doesn’t Kill You” romantic mystery series by Pamela Fagan Hutchins and also the first book of three with Ava Butler as the main character. Ava is a single Mum who has returned to the Carribean island of St. Marcos after breaking up with a boy-friend in the States. She is now living with her parents, working a temp job, and singing in bars at night. When she comes across the body of a murdered woman, who she recognizes from her childhood, Ava becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery.

The premise of this sounded really exciting and I enjoyed the unique Caribbean island setting. The mystery aspects were intriguing and the plot quite complex. My problem was the protagonist. Bombshell is presented from Ava’s first-person point of view. I don’t usually need likable characters to enjoy a story but I found Ava very difficult to warm up to. She came across as extremely self-centered, was using people, and treating everyone rather badly. I know she’s meant to be this sassy, sexy, and outwardly confident woman, but a lot of her behavior rubbed me the wrong way.

I haven’t listened to any of the other books in this series. This worked fine as a standalone, although there were a couple of instances where I thought I would have probably felt more engaged if I had further background information on some of the characters and their history with each other.

This was a fantastic book to devour in audio format. Ava regularly switches from Carribean dialect to American, and the narrator, Chanté McCormick, absolutely killed it with her superb reading. She enhanced the story to no end with her wonderful changes of accents and her wide range of voices. She made a rather average story into an enjoyable listening experience for me.

So while Ava certainly stands out from other heroines in romantic mysteries, which was good, my dislike for her ultimately made it difficult to care about her or become fully invested in the plot. Bombshell is advertised as a romantic mystery, but I wouldn’t really describe anything that happened as particularly romantic.

Overall, this was ok, but I’m not sure I want to spend any more time with Ava. However, I would certainly want to listen to Chanté McCormick again.

There were no issues with the production of the audio.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

The Narrator was the Bomb, the Story not so much.

Unfortunately, this book did not go the way I expected. The narrator asked me to provide an honest review for this title. I was hesitant at first but the things that influenced my decision were the protagonist is a West Indian woman and the genre a romantic mystery.

The story took me days to get through. I put it down several times before finally completing it. I enjoyed a few aspects but unfortunately; the issues overshadowed them.

I enjoyed the mystery arc. It took a while to develop, but when it did, it was exciting, twisty and unpredictable. I could never figure out who the villain’s identity and when it was revealed it was a jaw dropping moment.

My issues lay in:

1. The protagonist: Sadly, I did not like Ava. I had difficulty connecting with her. I found her to be shallow and self-centered. I especially did not like how she treated the man she claimed to love. Even her relationship with her parents seemed forced. I also had issues with her interaction with her daughter. From what I saw, she barely spent time with her, always leaving her with parents while she goes about gratifying her desires.


2. The portrayal of the book: The book is advertised as a romantic mystery. Well, I am still waiting for the romantic element of this story. There was absolutely no romance. I do not consider Ava’s hookups with her ex and Samuel, her co-worker romantic.


3. Pacing: The slow pacing made it difficult to get through the story. Majority of the story focused on Ava’s job, her interaction with Samuel and her struggles with Colin, the guy she recently dumped. It was not until around the sixty percent mark that the story improved where the pacing and the mystery were concerned.

Narration
I thought Chante McCormick did a great job with the narration. For someone who is not from the West Indies, she captured the accent and the island patois well. I loved how she seamlessly switched between the West Indian and American accent. I loved the voices she used for the characters, which helped to make listening to the story bearable.

Conclusion/Recommendation
The story received quite a few rave reviews, but I am in the minority. It did not work for me. It is book 9 in the What Doesn’t Kill You Romantic Mystery series and the first book in the Ava trilogy, but it can be read as a stand-alone. I am not sure if I will continue the trilogy, but I may try the books from the other series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Hmmn.

The main character is frustrating. Selfish, self-absorbed and has no insight into her own character deficits. She doesn’t treat anyone around her well and frankly, doesn’t deserve much of anything that goes well for her. She uses sex as much as possible and then laments when men treat her as an object. I sincerely hope that no one uses this character as a judge of what island women are really like.
The only redeeming quality was the narrator. She flows into her characters easily and transports from the island to American accent/culture well. I’ll be looking for more of her narrations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful