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on Feb. 24, 2012 :
An interesting mystery in which journalist Jade Snow uncovers a secret from the past in a quiet town. Needs more proofreading to correct syntax and spelling
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 07, 2012 :
This first instalment by Author - Lada Ray introduces us to brilliant investigative journalist - Jade Snow. Jade Snow we learn, is a twenty eight year old all action investigative journalist used to dodging straying bullets in Afghanistan, before a near death experience throws her into the arms of her soon to be husband Paul. What Jade doesn’t realise is that her days of investigative journalism and an all action career are about to come to an abrupt halt when motherhood dawns or is it?
This thriller is set in the sleepy surroundings of Stepford, Massachusetts, a small town community in America that hides a deep dark secret. Jade finds herself in this sleepy town against her wishes following her husband’s insistence on finding her a nice, quiet and calm environment for her to remain fit and well during her pregnancy. Jade Snow we learn is no ordinary young mum to be. It is not long before her inquisitive mind and investigative instincts, lead her onto the trail of a devastating dark hidden secret within the community. A crime so horrendous and brutal, it lives on in the lives and happenings of this sleepy hallow even until the present day.
Jade’s loneliness and love of quality company finds her being introduced, and soon becoming part of the social set-up of this most picturesque of American town’s. The intimate circle of six women Jade would join, unbeknown to her, will transform her time in Stepford from a peaceful relaxing stay into an intriguing web of lies, deceit and mystery. The pursuit of the truth will not only put Jade Snow and the life of her unborn child in grave danger, it will have a profound impact on the lives and community of this most fascinating of small towns for years to come.
This story of a horrific crime, a victim, an accused person and powerful local interests, desperate to keep the truth hidden from the larger world, only makes Jade Snow throw off her restrictive temporary physical shackles and risk all, to unravel the truth. The pursuit of truth among the complex personalities of this town, and an eagerness for someone to keep it hidden at all costs makes the challenge appear impossible.
Stepford USA takes us on a journey with this charming, sharp minded young journalist in a race to reveal the truth before someone else is killed, will Jade succeed? Can she protect herself and the life of her unborn child? Who can she trust? Anyone? Will she manage to discover the facts before it costs someone their life or even her own?
On the face of it, Stepford is a thriving small town community the likes of which are splattered across the American continent however, the deceit and manipulation facing Jade threatens not just people, it threatens the very way of life of this beautiful town. Undeterred, Jade Snow takes us on a gripping, dark psychological adventure, where unrealised talents may be the difference between life and death for Jade and others.
Does the answer to the secret rest within the group of six ladies “Knitting Club”? All women of varying ages and loyalties. We are introduced to Lady Adelaide Paphos, an elegant motherly like lady, who develops a fondness and close bond with Jade during her time in Stepford. Her son Jason who harbours a long held secret. Then a chance lunch time meeting with the power players of the local community that introduces us to the young police chief – Chief Nordini, Judge Bowman, Lawyer Marc Catcham, Banker Peter Burns and the quiet Jack Maloof. These men all with varying interests and knowledge of the comings and goings of the town extend an invitation to the elite Rotary Club to Jade. How will this innocent invitation propel Jade into an even more intricate web of unimagined deceit?
Jade’s investigative journey takes us to a “Hidden Lake”, a chance encounter with a friendly neighbour and his dog, a virtual reality experience and observing one of the married town influencers groping a woman out of sight of others. How does all this relate to the truth? Can it be found and who is watching Jade’s every move?
This page turning thriller is exciting, full of suspicion and possesses excellent character development throughout. It challenges the reader to consider the glaringly obvious and not so obvious, reality and challenge their own perceptions of reality and illusion in the pursuit of destroying the prejudices found in every small town. Will Jade and her soon to be born baby survive the small town experience?
The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose. The brilliant combination of plot, character development and unexpected twists and turns, keeps the reader addicted to the next turned page. Once you start reading this book, you will not put it down such is the perfect pace and flow of words in which the book is written by the author.
Psychological thrillers don’t get much better than this. Excitingly and yet chillingly gripping, it’s the sort of plot line that surprises you at every turn and absolutely does not let you go.
A highly recommended read for anyone.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 14, 2012 :
Finding the monster within... A Beautifully Written Tale!
While the story is told with light-hearted humor, deep, dark, hidden secrets is the theme of this book. It shows great insight into human behavior, perceptions and manipulations.
The book has a true to life quality about it. It's amazing how the minority in power can manipulate a whole population to suit their own agenda! I like how the story portrays the "Stepfordness" of the town, how mindless consensus and conformity can dangerously create serious injustices in this world. Remember, Stepford is not just a physical location, it's a state of being inherent in the human condition. A
timely written warning that only when we can honestly look within, can we identify and root out all the evil without. Very well written and gripping tale that will leave you guessing to the very end! Excellent storytelling!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Dec. 30, 2011 :
Some people think small town life is uneventful. Jade Snow, the protagonist of Lada Ray’s mystery-thriller, Stepford USA, thought so as well. But Jade was soon to learn that sleepy little towns can hold the biggest, scariest secrets! Jade arrives in Stepford in order to rest up before having a baby. However, she quickly starts to pick up hints that everything is not all charm and tranquility. Many years ago a horrible crime was committed from which the dust has never quite settled. With her husband halfway around the world, and while she awaits the birth of her baby, Jade tries to uncover the truth. But who can she trust? In a small town that harbors a dangerous secret one misstep can be fatal!
This exciting page-turner written by Lada Ray will have you guessing who did it from the very beginning. Lada skillfully weaves many surprises into this psychological thriller. Her exquisite scene setting together with compelling dialogue makes Stepford USA a fascinating, if at times nail-biting, read. If you are a cat lover, as I must admit I am, you will very much enjoy the exploits of a certain heroic feline who plays no small part in this book. I highly recommend Stepford USA. Jade Snow is intelligent, warm and witty. Join her as she puts the pieces together and helps release a town from its dark, hidden past.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 15, 2011 :
Wonderful Storytelling! Filled with psychic visions, virtual reality, and sassy wit.
An enlightening, uplifting book by Ms Ray, filled with intrigue and irresistible characters which make you question the very reality that we are living through during these uncertain times. Like the proverbial Alice falling the down the rabbit hole, this story leads you on a journey where the world we live in, with our conditioned beliefs and conclusions, are not what it seems. What if EVERYTHING you thought that's real was but manufactured illusion, and reality can only be pierced consciously by breaking out of ourselves to uncover the hidden truth within?
This seminal work allows you to question everything you hold sacred, all the sacred cows, established institutions of society that espouses living the "American Dream", one must succeed at all cost. Jade, an investigative journalist sensed that all is not right in this idyllic sleepy/ creepy little town of Stepford. By all appearances, Stepford seemed like the perfect place to nurture a pregnancy when one is not covering the latest reports from war torn countries. Well, Eden is about to reveal it's darkest secret, with the help of Jade's best friend Rachel- a psychoanalyst, an adorably smart and sassy cat named Lily and a group of small town ladies known only as "the knitting club". From paranormal psychic visions to virtual reality laboratories, Jade experiences life beyond her wildest expectations. Laced with cool humor and insight, Jade and her friends solve the most daunting mystery ever imagined. In total denial at first, the towns people must slowly come to the realization that not all is well in paradise and need to face their own prejudices and shortcomings in order to heal and come together as one community. A superb social commentary, Stepford USA is a microcosm for Anytown Internationale.
I love the positive, optimistic ending. Can't wait for the next Jade Snow adventure!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on April 06, 2011 :
I really enjoyed reading this book, it draws you in and keeps you guessing until the very end. Jade Snow, a worldly and sophisticated investigative journalist, finds herself pregnant and stuck in an idyllic little town. Yet, the flawless facade of this seemingly well-adjusted town starts crumbling, when a wrongfully convicted man returns from jail and Jade uncovers a deep, dark conspiracy of the “rich and famous” of Stepford. A wonderful book, easy and pleasant to read, but it makes you pause and think about the injustices that still exist in our world.
(reviewed the day of purchase)