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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 November 2012
This is a debut full-length novel by this author who's written a lot of short stories prior to this which I never bother with. I want to read a proper lengthed book. (Is that a word) ?? Anyway, you get what I mean !! I don't download a book unless it's longer than 200 pages.
It's about a retired cop in Virginia who has recently started treatment for cancer. A young girl tracks him down since he was the lead detective in her mother's murder twelve years ago and now she thinks she's being stalked by her killer. He got away with being imprisoned for the murder and it always haunted Marty as he knew he was guilty. So now he decides he'll help her track him down.
I liked their relationship and he writes well about Marty's chemo treatments. He doesn't bog the reader down with it or make it a totally depressing read but he does tell it like it is and it's interesting to know what happens to him and how it makes him feel. As far as he's concerned it's an inconvenience he could well do without especially since he now has "A Reason To Live".
There were a few errors that grated, mostly the omission of the odd to or a here and there. One person had a name change from one page to the next which was careless editing and the spelling of another person's name changed on the same page too !! This cost the 5th star in my rating, though.
All in all a great read and he's written a sequel too I have on my wishlist.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 August 2013
Marty Singer is a retired detective battling Cancer...when the daughter of a murder victim comes to him for help he has the chance to right a wrong from a case that haunts him still. Despite his illness Marty is determined to protect the girl and find the truth...

I was very impressed with this novel, the authors debut I believe and it did get me wondering again about the foibles of publishing..this is terrific crime fiction. An interesting protagonist who you can really get behind, a wonderful mystery story and terrific writing meant that I enjoyed this one thoroughly - and yet prior to the Kindle explosion and the ability to self publish I wonder if it would ever have seen the light of day. Much as self publishing might "flood" the market thank heavens for it I would say, there are some real gems out there and this is one of them.

Marty is an extremely well drawn character - he doesnt rush around brandishing his gun and effortlessly side stepping the bad guys - he can't. He's too ill. And yet with quiet determination he tracks down the clues, looks after a vulnerable victim and finds himself a reason to live...

The story unfolds with perfect timing - told mostly from Marty's point of view we see things through his eyes, something shocks him it shocks us. His backstory - that of his battle with Cancer - is realistic and involving and you will end up hoping for a good outcome for him. I believe there are more Marty Singer stories out there and I will be off to track them down when my schedule allows!

The mystery element is clever without being over complicated and these can be the best kind. A few twists and turns along the way, the introduction of some "sidekicks" who I hope to meet again and a satisfying yet intriguing resolution puts this novel in the top 10% of crime and mystery books that I have read lately. Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!
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on 18 January 2014
I'd barely started reading A Reason to Believe when I hit this paragraph.

I was killing time at a coffee shop, slouched in an overstuffed chair that had been beaten into submission years earlier. The café--I don't know the name, Middle Grounds or Mean Bean or something precious--was a grungy, brown stain of a place flanked by a failing Cajun restaurant on one side and a check-cashing store on the other. A crowd of Hispanic guys hung around out front looking simultaneously aimless and expectant, hoping their next job was about to pull up to the curb. I looked up from my cup and stared at the girl who'd called me by name. She was slim, with delicate brown hair worn past the shoulders and intense, dark eyes set in a face so pale Poe would've written stories about it.

I was impressed. In a single evocative paragraph I understood the coffee shop, the neighborhood it was in, the crowd outside (which figures into a later scene), a lot about the narrator Marty, and not only pictured the girl who'd approached him, but was curious about what she wanted. I was hooked. And I stayed hooked.

The premise, that a murderer who escaped punishment has returned and is stalking the original victim's daughter, is a good one that gives the protagonist, Marty, a chance at some kind of redemption. That Marty is retired because he has cancer complicates things in a couple of ways. First, although this is much like a police procedural, technically Marty isn't even a cop anymore, so he doesn't have ready access to the resources he had in the past. Then his chemotherapy treatment interferes with his ability to do much of anything some days, so detecting is out of the question.

This is the first of a series with at least three more books already available. I'm not sure if that means chemo goes well, but I'm eager to find out what his next case turns out to be.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 May 2014
Not many cops would take on a new case when they have reluctantly taken early retirement on the grounds of ill health. Especially when they are about to commence a course of chemotherapy for the bowel cancer which has forced their retirement. Marty Singer is no ordinary detective though, and this is no ordinary new case. The daughter of a murder victim seeks his help when she begins to receive reminders of the events which led up to the death of her mother; she is afraid that the killer is back and coming after her. All connected with the original case were dismayed when the police officer charged with the murder was acquitted after a particularly inept trial. The police were blamed, Marty in particular, but just what went wrong?
It rapidly becomes clear that the daughter is indeed at risk, and Marty does everything he can not only to protect her, but to find the perpetrator in order to ensure Amanda's safety. What he hasn't allowed for is just how much the chemo is going to knock the stuffing out of him - how can he protect anyone when he can't even run a few yards up the street? He also hasn't realised that there are other people who know that this case has come to life again, people with something to hide, and they really don't want Marty to dig around too much, but do want to get to the perpetrator as soon as possible, although not for the reasons one might think.
This was an intriguing, and gripping read, founded on a good plotline, and wrapped with an unusual element. It held my attention from the outset and offered a hint of danger, whilst throwing up the odd anomaly to prevent the reader becoming complacent. I was slightly disappointed by one of the outcomes although it was nothing critical to the main plot. The justice in the end is natural rather than judicial, but the outcome is the same.
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on 21 July 2016
4.5*
It’s a case that retired detective Marty Singer has never been able to put out of his mind completely – the murder of Brenda Lane by Michael Wheeler. Wheeler was a police officer with the same force as Marty and the crime left Brenda’s young daughter an orphan. Wheeler was found not guilty, even though his story didn’t add up.

Twelve years later, Marty is feeling weary and apathetic having been diagnosed with cancer, which precipitated his retirement. He is about to begin chemotherapy treatment when Brenda’s daughter, Amanda, who was twelve years old at the time of her mother’s murder, seeks him out. She believes Michael Wheeler is back and is targeting her.

Amanda’s situation gives Marty a much-needed incentive to try and right a wrong and get justice for both Amanda and her mother, giving him ‘a reason to live.’ Marty has missed being a cop and, although his investigative resources are now limited, he reconnects with his old partner, Jim Kransky, who also believed Wheeler should have been found guilty.

Marty is the narrator and a great lead character, I love how he’s portrayed and developed. His struggle is different to the usual flawed police officer and gives Marty depth and humanity without overplaying the disease angle. It’s a realistic representation and gives Marty a vulnerability which is endearing. It’s a nice change to have a lead character who is more down to earth and relatable.

The secondary characters are well defined and the excerpts from the mind of the antagonist added a little extra. Excellent writing infused with feeling and clear imagery and a well thought out plot that kept me guessing until the author chose to reveal the outcome. I listened to Matthew Iden’s short story The Kindness of Neighbours a while ago and loved it. A Reason to Live is his debut novel and the first in a series I plan on following.
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on 16 September 2015
I really liked Marty,I liked the fact he wasn't a typical macho ex cop and his cancer gave him a vulnerability that you don't usually get ,I thought the descriptions of his illness and reaction to chemo were very well done,and I felt really sorry for him.But this wasn't just a book about illness, it was quite a complex and entangled web lots of interesting characters, and action.I liked the writing style and the pace of the book, and the twists and turns,I will be looking forward to reading more books in this series,and I really enjoyed this one.
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on 11 December 2015
I give this 3.5 stars as not quite worth 4. I enjoyed the fact that Marty
Singer wasn't the usual James Bond type that gets beaten up and shot and jumps
back up again! He had been forced into retirement from the Homicide Division he lived
for because of aggressive cancer. Having been lucky enough to live through chemo, I could
empathize with him throughout his treatment and his horror at how tired it made him.

Despite this, he is doing his best to help Amanda. 12 years before, Marty arrested a fellow
cop for murdering Amanda's mother - but the cop walked free at the trial. Marty and his then
police partner feel bad about this as they were sure he would be convicted. Now Amanda fears the killer
has returned and is after her.

There were several twists as Marty, his ex-partner and the female lawyer who defended the killer, but
also thought he was guilty, try to trace the killer and stop him attacking Amanda.
I wasn't so keen on the snippets at the start of some chapters which were the thoughts of the killer - in fact the first
two of them I didn't actually understand! Still, overall I enjoyed the book, though I thought Marty was a bit harsh
at the end with the way he treated a friend - cannot say more or would spoil it.
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on 18 June 2014
This is apparently the first in a series of novels featuring Marty Singer and a good start.
The retired cop chasing down an old case not particularly original but well written.
The fact that he is starting treatment for the cancer which forced him to retire at the same time however is original and is well covered.
The combined elements of righting wrongs, unlikely romantic episodes and dealing with the chemo in a straightforward manner together with various red herrings make this, for me, a very good debut.
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on 30 July 2014
Just finished reading this great book and feel the need to praise the writer for an interesting take on the genre. Really enjoyed the character's, and the concept of Marty`s forced retirement. The book never got maudlin about cancer or bogged down with the technicalities of the disease. The highest praise I can give is to compare it to my all time favourite author Ed McBain and say, since his untimely death I have not enjoyed a new character as much as I enjoyed getting to know Marty Singer. Keep up the good work as I will be working my way through the rest of the series...so far.
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on 5 December 2015
Really enjoyed this book - a bit different from your typical police/detective books. The plot is very subtle - it's not all shoot-ups and violence (although I do like those too), so is a bit different. Liked the main character and bought into his development across the book.

If you are a fan of authors like Rachel Abbott, you'll really enjoy this style of book. Looking forward to reading the second book.
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