Ambitious personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained national fame for starring on Sink or Swim, nicknamed SOS, a hit game show set aboard a Tall Ship. She hopes the prize money will help to launch her dream of owning a chain of fitness centers. Not only does she lose the competition and have to walk the plank in the finale, but after the game show ends, the terror begins. Upon returning to her small Massachusetts hometown, Cassidy discovers she has attracted a stalker masterminding his own twisted game. She struggles to focus on her health club job and celebrity endorsement opportunities, but her stalker has other plans.
As her former competitors get knocked off one-by-one, Cassidy refuses to play by his bizarre rules. She's also being shadowed by hunky photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for a spread in the local newspaper. She wants to trust Zach, but fears he may not be the nice guy that he seems. With or without Zach's help, when the stalker forces a showdown by threatening her family, Cassidy must once again walk the plank - this time for her life.
I loved this book about the aftermath of a reality show. Cassidy finishes second on Sink or Swim and goes back to her real life. She didn't win the million dollars, but she quickly realizes that things are different anyway. She has lots of fans and admirers and has picked up a stalker. Other contestants from the show start dying. Cassidy doesn't know what to do or who to trust outside of her family. The mystery kept me guessing. I recommend this one if you like mystery and suspense.
The audio was very well done. The narrator has a great voice that fits the story nicely. The pace was good and it was easy to get lost in the story.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Taking a page out of today’s society, Sink or Swim is about a young woman who was a contestant on a reality show, with the hope of winning the big prize so she could move forward with achieving her ambitious goal of self-employment. She was prepared for the stresses and rigors of the game itself. What she wasn’t prepared for was her life becoming public once she came home. Along with the notoriety, she acquired a stalker.
I listened to Ms. Juba’s other contemporary mystery, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, and loved it; so, I was eager to hear Sink or Swim. I thoroughly enjoyed it!! Ms. Juba’s writing style is compelling, intriguing, and believable. I was sucked into the story and fell right in step with Cassidy (the main character), as she tried to determine who was tormenting her. As with Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, I was surprised by the ending. I did not solve the case ahead of time! In addition to the mystery, Sink or Swim also has just the right amount of romance to make it a great listen. I gave the narration four out of five stars. I’m sure it’s difficult to create different voices/sounds for each character in a book; however, there were a few times when I was confused about who was speaking. All in all, though, I would definitely recommend Sink or Swim. I’ll be looking for Ms. Juba’s next book!!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Summary: Cassidy’s stint on a hot new reality TV show, Sink or Swim, propels her into unwanted stardom and earns her a stalker. She misses the million by five points, but still winds up with more attention than she’d like.
- It’s a predictable yet enjoyable story.
- I heard the audiobook, and the narrator’s performance was very good.
- I like the concept of the reality TV show and the idea of stalker angle. It went on a tad longer than it truly had momentum for, but there were some interesting red herrings. It’s not really about the TV series, but that’s a neat angle.
- Her family dynamics worked for me. Mother and father divorced amiably and a devoted kid half-brother. I enjoyed the fact that the family wasn’t picture perfect with a white picket fence.
- The murder angle was okay, but I think it distracts from the terror caused by the stalker.
- The gun thing was kinda dumb, but I can forgive the character under pressure some irrationality.
- I didn’t get a big “personal trainer” vibe from Cassidy. I’m not sure the book describes her running once, though I do remember her lifting weights or something. I haven’t had a personal trainer, but I think a lot of their job is the mental piece. I would have expected some of that disciplined mindset to bleed into her thought process while dealing with the stalker.
Conclusion: Intriguing stalker book.
*I received a copy of the audio free. I chose to review it.*
Would you listen to Sink or Swim again? Why?
Yes, the narrator did a great job! She did accents and male voices wonderfully, and kept the story interesting!
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Stacy Juba does an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing till the very end!
Which character – as performed by Funda Duval – was your favorite?
I liked her portrayal of Cassidy's mom! Duval does an accent for her, and it was great!
Any additional comments?
Full Review -
I love Stacy Juba's writing! She has some interesting storylines for her books, and Sink or Swim was very entertaining! Cassidy is the main character, and she is getting her 15 minutes of fame after having starred on a reality show, but with the good of fame there is also the bad. Cassidy has to deal with overzealous fans, reporters, and a creepy stalker. Cassidy is initially excited to have a little bit of fame and money, but with some stalker sending her notes and gifts, her life is taking a dangerous turn. The whole premise is really interesting, and I loved the mystery with the stalker angle. I love that in Stacy Juba's books there is many ways the mystery could go, and she keeps you guessing till the end! I liked that Cassidy was strong, but I did find her rather rude at times, but she was in a tense situation, so I'm giving her a little slack on that. I do feel like the romance was kind of lacking in this book, but luckily the rest of the book was interesting, so I didn't mind that too much. I listened to the audiobook version of this story, and the narrator did a great job! She did accents and male voices, and did a great job with all of them, so that made for an enjoyable listening experience. I will definitely read and listen to more books by Stacy Juba!
I’m not a huge reality television watcher, but the premise of a daredevil-styled show as the introduction and backdrop for the murder victims is intriguing. Cassidy is the runner-up, second place for the prize that would have allowed her to pay off some debts and start her own new business.
An interesting character, Stacy Juba gives us the initial sense that Cassidy is rather calculated and forward thinking: dying the hair, practicing a smile in the mirror, working on ‘comeback lines’ in the hopes they will be quoted around the water cooler. In itself, this isn’t a bad thing, but setting her up as calculated, then having her react in near complete contradiction to that early character: hot-headed, impulsive and often unreasonable, while I could understand her determination to be independent and self-reliant in lieu of the threat, there was something missing that made her likeable in any way more than any other cast member of a reality show.
But what saves the story is the mystery and the tension created as her cast mates start disappearing, the difficulties encountered with being a ‘celebrity’, the questions about the real intentions of her love interest, Zach and all of the daily stressors of life that don’t include a crazed stalker with murderous intent. Full of tension, twists and some really clever perspective on the reality television and celebrity culture as a whole, the story swiftly moves through potential suspects with a pace that keeps readers on the edge.
Narration is provided by Funda Duval, initially I wasn’t a fan of the pairing as early on narration felt tentative and there is an accent that came through quite strongly early in the story that didn’t fit with my vision of Cassidy. However, as the ‘newness’ of the story and voice became more familiar, Duval’s narration managed to perfectly capture both tension and assumed voices for characters, that didn’t feel over-worked or false. There were also some early ‘echoes’ in the initial 45 minutes of the audiobook version that may have contributed to the issues, whether a microphone was not shielded or not operating properly, those issues did also resolve. ( I did listen with 3 different headphones from in ear to free-standing speakers to a set of high def headphones, none made any significant different to the echo issue I noted.)
This is only one of a handful of mystery/suspense audiobooks that I have listened to, and I will most certainly be accepting opportunities for more. Juba made a story that was interesting, intriguing and surprising for a wholly entertaining listen.
I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.