Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thomas Hall Keeps Readers in Suspense in Nothing As It Seems!

She wore a gray hoodie when she was acting out her murder... She had her first victim picked out and she knew exactly how she was going to get her to let her into her home...  After that, she was experienced in handling the actual event. No problems!

Megan Gallagher's life was going to end today.

Of course when she awoke this morning she had no reason to suspect that was even the remotest of possibilities. Like most young people of her generation, her own mortality rarely crossed her mind. And why would it? It wasn't as if she'd been diagnosed with some terminal illness months before, and therefore knew that each subseqent day could be her last. And she wasn't the type to engage in risky behavior--no driving drunk, no illegal drug use, no skydiving. And it wasn't even a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
Megan was going to lose her life because someone was going to murder her in her own home...

Nothing as it Seems

By Thomas Hall

She continued to lie in the tub as she
considered the scene at Megan
Gallagher's house. She felt no remorse;
there were no recriminations. In fact,
she felt nothing at all. It was just
something that had to be done, so
she'd done it. But she also recognized
that it was only the first part of the
plan, and the rest of it might not be
as easy...
The woman in the gray hoodie arrived home about twenty minutes after leaving Megan Gallagher's house. She entered her apartment turned on the lights, and immediately headed for the bathroom where she started to remove her clothing. Once she was naked, she ran the water in the bathtub.
As the tub was filling, she picked up her clothes and brought them to the small alcove off the kitchen which housed the compact washer and dryer. She didn't bother to check her clothing for blood or any other signs of what she had done. There was no need; there wouldn't be any. The killing had not been violent; she had planned it well, and it had gone very smoothly.

There is much emphasis placed on the death of Megan. She worked to help take care of patients at Horizons Rehabilitation Center, and was well-liked by everyone. One patient had become especially close and when she learned that she may not be able to return to her home alone, Megan had considered having her move into her home... She had promised the patient that she would check with social services to find out what could be done. The patient knew she would not have made such a promise if she had planned on suicide, which had been the first assumption...

Finding Megan, in fact, had come about by her supervisor going to Megan's home--it was so unlike her to not be at work that staff had begun to worry. She immediately called the police because the smell was so apparent--as a nurse she was familiar with the smell of death...

I met Thomas Hall through his novel Hidden - Do check out my review if you haven't read this book...

Agent Craig Walker and Detective Dave Munoz, from Hidden, are carried over into this novel. These two, plus others, put forth a major effort to solve the murder, especially after another woman was killed, and then a third who almost died. When the latter was hurt, it was really the first break because they were definitely able to determine method of death.

Hall has a talent for writing "in suspense..."
By that I mean that his method of presentation automatically sets up suspense for readers. For instance, the villain is known only as "the woman in the gray hoodie..." 
The victims' names are identified and then immediately readers are told she was going to be murdered...that day...

When Walker, Munoz, and other investigators are working, readers are privy to each and every concept as considered. But Hall also provides an extensive look into their frustration as they repeatedly go over every piece of paper, every clue, time after time. Amazingly, then, one will see something from a new perspective and that lead will be explored. You would think that type of activity would become tedious, not only for the investigators, but also the readers. It doesn't simply because we become so vested in solving the crimes and answering the same questions that Walker and others are asking. One reason for that is that Hall has  created the surrounding lives of the victims in such a sympathetic way that readers "want" to see the murderer stopped!

Walker is a strong leader and is worthy to have a series built around him so that we could learn more about his personal life. He definitely is extremely dedicated and capable, with sufficient experience so that how he thinks through the organization and methodology is astounding to his fellow characters. For us, we become more and more assured that he will fully close out this case by the end!

As readers near the end of the book, the surprise ending will have taken off in such a way that  it is impossible to divulge any more about the book. So let me just conclude with my thought that those of you who enjoy suspenseful, police procedural novels, I think you will love this one. The characters are solid and readily accepted into the roles they play. However, it is the identification of clues in the way they are discovered that really stretch the imagination as to whether some of what happened could be done--and yet, it seemed so natural as it occurred... Then I read the final page and the author threw one final pitch to the readers that he knew all along we were...wondering... Superb paragraph!

An ingenious plot that undoubtedly demanded significant research to support the actual chain of events. Kudos to the author for the inventive and unique ending to the story. Amazing! Highly recommended...


Thomas Hall is a former English teacher and middle school and high school principal. Two of the schools where he was the principal received national recognition for their academic excellence. He and his wife Marcia live in Central Massachusetts. They have three adult children.
Mr. Hall was born on Long Island, New York and lived there for the first seventeen years of his life before his family moved to Massachusetts. After graduating from high school he received a full athletic scholarship to Northeastern University for track. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northeastern.
Although writing has always been a passion, he limited his efforts to short stories and non-fiction articles until after he retired and had sufficient time to tackle a novel.
When Mr. Hall is not writing, he enjoys reading, going to the movies, jogging, and playing softball. Over the past several years he has participated in numerous Senior Softball tournaments throughout the United States and Canada.
He is currently working on his next novel. You can contact him at

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