Fragments of Fear

Fragments of Fear

by Carrie Stuart Parks

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Overview

“A rollercoaster ride with a lovable protagonist and a suspenseful, twisty.” —Colleen Coble

Stolen art. A New Mexico archaeological dig. An abandoned dog. And a secret that’s worth killing for.

Evelyn McTavish’s world came crashing down with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she receives a call that her dog is about to be destroyed at the pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine with her name and address makes it hers.

Evelyn recognizes the dog as one owned by archaeologist John Coyote because she was commissioned to draw the two of them. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner—but she arrives only to discover John’s murdered body.

As Evelyn herself becomes a target, she crosses paths with undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price. The more he gets to know her, the more personally invested he becomes in keeping her safe. Together, they’re desperate to find the links between so many disparate pieces.

And the clock is ticking.

“Over the years, Carrie has mastered forensic art, fine art, and her own brand of offbeat humor. As a novelist she combines these skills with another: puzzle writing––scattering puzzle pieces all over her fictional universe and then dropping them into place in twists, surprises, revelations, and side-pocket whimsy until the big picture emerges, never too soon, always on the brink of disaster.” —Frank Peretti

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785226161
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,500
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award–winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish — Tavish to her friends — clenched the red long-stemmed rose and stared at the glossy casket. The brief graveside service had ended with the Unitarian Universalist pastor reading from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. The pastor's last words echoed in Tavish's mind. "And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

"What does that even mean?" Tavish whispered. The unseasonably warm Albuquerque sun beat down on her black wide-brimmed hat, giving her a pounding headache. Her dress was itchy black wool made worse by her sweat.

The few mourners drifted away to their cars lined up on the pavement behind her, each first tossing a rose from a spray onto the lowered coffin.

Her mother had put in an appearance at the funeral home but left before the graveside service. Mother's stolen art had been released by the police and was being returned today. The stolen paintings were clearly more important than her daughter's grief.

Tavish felt ... hot. Hollow. Empty. Squeezed dry.

The funeral director, standing in the shade of a nearby tree, shifted and took a quick look at his watch.

Of course. She was delaying them from finishing their work. Fake grass covered the pile of raw, tawny-colored earth — earth that would soon cover her fiancé.

She tried to picture his face. Before. The funeral home said his remains were unviewable, but they didn't realize she'd been the one to find his body. That was the image burned into her brain. He'd told her where to meet him, a parking lot near the Rio Grande River. He was in his car — a rental, it turned out. The shotgun was beside him on the seat.

She snapped the rose's stem in half.

He would have left a note. If it was suicide, he would have left her a note. If he loved her like he'd promised, he would have found a way to tell her why.

The late afternoon sunlight caught the facets of her engagement ring's diamond, sending a shimmering light pattern onto the coffin's dark wood. He'd proposed just a week ago. They planned to have a celebration dinner this very night. He would have formally met her mother — and just as formally asked her mother for her hand in marriage.

She tore her gaze from the yawning grave and glanced at her grandmother's headstone a short distance away. Grandma, I wish you were here.

She felt rather than heard someone come up behind her. She stiffened, expecting more bland condolences or maybe even a nudge toward her car.

"I can't believe it's true." A woman's voice murmured. "I came as fast as I could."

Tavish nodded. She couldn't believe it either. She'd walked around for the past week like a cyborg — when she could get out of bed. She hadn't bothered to contact her accounting company and let them know why she was absent. They called and she'd just let the answering machine pick up. They'd finally stopped calling. She didn't care to know why. What difference did that make? Her life was over. And she hated that company anyway. Though Tavish's heart had been in her art ever since her grandmother died, her mother insisted she work "a real job" and had given her the firm. Now her mother could take it back.

"Why? Why?" the woman asked.

Why indeed? Tavish wished the mourner would leave. She needed these last few moments alone with Andrew. Her love. Her loss. She'd mentally planned their wedding, honeymoon, first home. The baby they would make. Family Thanksgivings and Christmases together. Now only emptiness stretched before her.

"I had so much to say to him," the other woman whispered. "I ... I ..." She quietly sobbed.

Tavish pulled a clean handkerchief from her pocket and held it out. The woman took it.

He'd brought meaning into her life, which had lost direction since Grandma's death. Before he came along, she'd been a fat, ugly lump of clay. He'd thought her intelligent, beautiful, and a brilliant artist.

The weeping continued, followed by coughing and throat clearing. "This is so wrong."

Wrong? Nothing's been right for a long time.

"He never would have left me." The woman's voice steadied. "Never. Not now. We were to have been married —"

Her words shot through Tavish's thoughts. "Excuse me?" She turned.

The strikingly beautiful young woman stared at Tavish through brown, glittering eyes. A black shift stretched across her pregnant belly.

Tavish tore her gaze from the woman's midsection and took a half step backward. "Oh. It's ... I'm ... This is extremely awkward, but I think you're at the wrong funeral. This is ... was Andrew James."

"Yes. Andrew James. He's dead, and it's all my fault." She stared at the lowered coffin, then shifted her gaze to Tavish. Her eyes narrowed. "Or maybe it's your fault."

Glancing around for the funeral director, Tavish hoped to catch his attention and have him escort this obviously deranged woman away. She spotted the man walking toward the hearse.

"I made him choose," the woman said. She was now glaring at Tavish. "But it is your fault."

Tavish wanted to put her hands over her ears. "Please go away —"

"I never would have done that ... made him choose between us"— the woman shook her head — "If I'd known he'd kill himself."

Tavish's stomach churned. "He didn't kill himself! He was murdered, and it was set up to look like suicide. I ... found him."

The woman's gaze sharpened. "Do the police believe it was murder?"

"Not yet, but —"

The woman opened a faux leather tote bag, grabbed a photograph, and thrust it at Tavish. Andrew grinned out at her, his arm around the woman. In the background, Tavish recognized the distinctive shape of the Spirit Lodge and Spa on the edge of town. She sucked in air through numb lips. "That d-doesn't prove anything."

The woman snatched the photograph back. "You don't have to believe me. Think about all the times Andrew was gone —"

"He was an investment counselor. He had to travel —"

"Yeah. Right. Investment counselors do most of their work on the phone." The woman jammed the photograph back into her purse. "Did you ever go with him on a business trip? Did you ever meet a single client?"

"No —"

"And where are his clients? His friends? Family? Why didn't anyone come to his funeral?"

"Um."

"Did you ever even go to his home?"

"He ... he said he had a roommate."

"Yeah. Me."

Tavish opened her mouth but no words came out. She felt like someone had just sucker-punched her in the stomach.

The woman's lips tightened. "Did you think a man as handsome as he was would ever fall for you?" She held up the handkerchief Tavish had given her. "Who has embroidered initials on their handkerchiefs? Who even carries handkerchiefs anymore? You're a plain, dumpy rich girl. That's all he wanted. Your money."

"He ... he had money ..."

"Is that what he told you? Ha! That ring on your finger is nothing more than cubic zirconium."

Tavish's head buzzed.

"Want more proof that he was engaged to me? That I knew him? Andrew loved IPA beer, wore his father's dog tags, and hated his work. Shall I describe his —"

"No!"

"I knew about you, but you didn't know about me. I told him he had to either break up with you or I'd make sure this little bundle"— she rubbed her bulging stomach —"Would be your next news flash. Andrew took the easy way out." She turned to leave, then turned back. "None of this had to happen if you and all your money hadn't come along. Now neither of us wins." She pivoted and stalked away.

Tavish turned toward the open grave, staring at it blindly. She could barely breathe.

The funeral director coughed softy.

She blinked, dropped the rose's broken stem, then crumpled the petals and let them drift through her fingers. Carefully she removed the engagement ring, lifted a corner of the fake grass, and shoved the ring into the dirt. She straightened, turned, and walked to her car, never looking back.

CHAPTER 2

ALBUQUERQUE, NE W ME XICO THREE WEEKS L ATER

Is this, ah, Evelyn McTavish, thirty-five, zero three, seventeen seventy-nine?" The man's voice was unpleasantly high-pitched.

Tavish checked the caller ID again. Happy Tails Shelter. "Yes, this is Evelyn McTavish, but I don't know what those numbers mean, and I don't donate to charity over the phone."

"That's how the registration came back. Your name, them numbers, this phone number, and the address of 965 Westwood Estates."

Tavish glanced at her watch. "What registration?"

The man gave an exasperated sigh. "Your dog registration.

From the microchip."

"I don't own a dog. Please don't call me again." She disconnected.

The phone rang again. Happy Tails Shelter. "Look —" she began.

"No, you look, lady, and I'll give it to ya straight. Either pay up and get the dog, or we're gonna kill it." The man's voice rose even higher. "We don't kid around. What's it gonna be?"

She made an effort to loosen the white-knuckled grip on her cell. "And I'm telling you for the second time, I don't have a dog! I've never had a dog. I've never even owned a goldfish —"

"Alls I know is the microchip on this mutt is registered to you. The shelter is overcrowded with dumped dogs, and this one bites, so we can't place her in another home. Come and get her or she's dead." Click.

The cell phone dropped from Tavish's shaking hand and onto her lap. Her stomach tightened and knotted and the room spun. She glanced at her fingernails, several of which were wrapped in Band-Aids. Finding one that was exposed, she bit down on the remains of the ragged nail. The sting made her eyes water, but slowly the anxiety attack passed.

"I'm okay," she whispered. "This will pass. Breathe in calm, breathe out fear. Om Mani Padme Hum." She thought the chant sounded like a sick cow, but this week's therapist wanted her to try it. The counselor before that gave her a journal to write in. And the string of psychiatrists her mother had set her up with after Grandma's death all gave her drugs.

Once her heartbeat returned to normal, she stood. "It's not my dog. Why should I care? I've never owned a dog. Dogs are great for books and movies, like Turner and Hooch or Lassie." What if it was just a puppy? A tiny fur ball that just needed a home? A baby Old Yeller? Or Hachiko waiting by the train station? A lump closed up her throat and her eyes blurred. They wouldn't kill a poor, defenseless puppy.

They will if I don't save it.

She snatched the phone, then dialed her mother's house. One of her mother's gardeners or staff workers could retrieve the dog and find a location to keep it until she could find the owner.

The housekeeper picked up. "Hi." Tavish couldn't remember this one's name. She hadn't set foot inside her mother's house since her grandmother's death more than a year ago, even though the front door was just a hundred yards away. "This is Tavish ... um, Evelyn ... Helen's daughter. Is Maria there?"

"Maria?"

"Maria ... um ..." What was her last name? It started with an M. "The lady who cleans my house. She works for my mother."

"No."

"Okay then. I need you to send someone to the Happy Tails Shelter and retrieve a dog —"

"Lo siento, pero no tengo coche, señorita. No car."

"The gardener ... el gardener ...? "

"No. Nadie está aquí todavía."

"Okay. Um, gracias." Tavish disconnected, grabbed a handful of tissues, her purse and keys, then raced to her car. She punched the name of the shelter into her cell, then directions. That horrible man hadn't said how long she had to fetch the poor dog. "You'd better not hurt that little puppy or ... or I'll ..." What? Draw his picture? Stab him with a pencil? Throw crumpled up newsprint at his head? Not a lot of vengeful acts available to her in her new career as a fine artist. Nor in her old career as an accountant. Hard to physically injure someone with numbers.

She could always just sit on him. The revenge of a fat lady.

She shot out of the driveway, almost sideswiping a passing pickup. The driver hit his horn.

"I'm so sorry!" Should I stop and apologize?

The pickup turned the corner and drove off.

She bit a piece of cuticle off her thumb. Her horoscope said she'd have a surprise today. Who would have believed the surprise would be an unwanted puppy?

At the red light, she tugged on the crystal pendant around her neck. Come on. Come on! She'd get the canine-thing straightened out. Maybe pay them to keep it for a few more days. Just long enough to get through her gallery opening. She'd place an ad in the newspaper. Find the owner ... somehow. She glanced at her watch. The Albuquerque pet shelter was in the opposite direction from the gallery.

* * *

Cars and trucks parked unevenly in the packed dirt of the parking lot of Happy Tails Shelter. Tavish stepped into the dry, early May sunshine and winced at the cacophony of wails and barking coming from the low pink-stuccoed building.

Inside the crowded lobby, a family of six hugged a wildly joyful yellow lab. The dog brushed against her, leaving fur on her tailored jeans. She brushed it off and avoided getting near two outdoorsy couples patting a shaggy mutt. In the corner, an elderly man held a small terrier. Three staff members wearing khaki shirts with "Happy Tails" and a dog's rear end — apparently the logo — embroidered on the pocket held clipboards and were gesturing to the attached paper. Everyone was shouting over the din of barking.

A short man wearing the Happy Tails shirt, made his way to her side. He sported a five-o'clock shadow, sunken cheeks, large nose, and receding chin. "Can I help you find a new fur baby?"

Fur baby? She recognized the voice on the phone. "You just called me. The dog with the microchip —"

"Oh, yeah." His smile faded and eyes narrowed. "So you came to your senses and don't want your dog killed." He turned and strolled toward the kennel area, not waiting to see if she followed.

Tavish caught up with him. "I told you on the phone. It's not my dog. I mean, dogs are fine in theory, and they make fine literature and films, but —"

He opened a door. The overwhelming sound of frantic barking and more people talking slammed into her ears. "I don't have a dog." She raised her voice over the din. "I don't know why my name and address was connected to it." The odor of disinfectant cleaners and urine burned her nose. "It must be a mistake." Chain-link dog runs lined either side of a hall, with several dogs of all sizes and breeds in each run. She made sure she walked down the middle. At the end of the hall, a door with a window marked No Admittance led to additional runs. He paused and pulled out a set of keys at the end of a chain. After unlocking the door, he passed through and stopped.

In the first run, a small black dog with a coat that looked like dreadlocks lay with its head between its paws, eyes watchful.

"Marley?" Tavish approached the kennel. "Marley?"

The Puli stood and stared at Tavish.

Tavish turned to the man. "I recognize the dog. But it's not mine. As I told you, I don't own a dog."

Marley launched herself at the gate, leaping against it, barking wildly. The leaps turned to spins, then to a race from one end of the run to the other, long cords flying. She looked like an animated black string mop.

The man snorted. "I don't care what you say. This is your dog, lady. Look at how she's acting."

The happy canine, now spinning in one place, continued to bark.

Tavish stepped back and brushed imaginary fur off her pressed jeans. "This is John Coyote's dog."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Can you show evidence of vaccination, including rabies?"

"How can I show you ... ? Never mind." After pulling out her phone, she thumbed through the numbers until she came to John's. "I'll call Marley's owner."

"You do that."

The phone rang. And rang. And rang. "He's not home." Tavish disconnected. "How long can you keep her —"

"You don't get it, do you, lady? Either you walk out of here with your dog, or she's toast." He leaned against the dog run.

Marley leaped away and lifted her lips, exposing sharp canines. The happy yips deepened to a bark worthy of a Doberman.

He straightened and jerked his thumb at the canine. "See what I mean? She's vicious."

Maybe she just has good sense. "Not usually."

The man's expression didn't change. "Look, ya either own a dog and take care of 'em, or ya put 'em up for adoption, or ya put 'em to sleep." He leaned forward, his eyes narrowing to slits. "Ya don't turn 'em loose where they'll get hit by a car, or shot, or killed by other dogs, or chewed up by coyotes, or starve to death. Got it?"

She pulled at a hangnail on her left finger. "Mister ... um?"

"Brown."

"Look, Mr. Brown, I know this dog because I'm an artist and was commissioned to draw her and her owner. Well, actually paint them, but —"

Brown headed toward the lobby. "I got work to do. Either purchase her shots and get her license, or leave and we'll take care of her."

"Marley's owner is John Coyote, a retired archaeologist." She raced to keep up with him. Marley's yelps grew frantic behind them. "He's probably consulting on an archaeological dig somewhere, and Marley got loose. You just need to keep her —"

Brown stopped so abruptly that Tavish crashed into him. "Seventy-eight bucks. And you take her with you."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Fragments of Fear"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Carrie Stuart Parks.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Fragments of Fear 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous 8 days ago
enjoyed this storyline and characters, can we have more of tavish and sawyer along with marleythis would ma,ke a great movie, enjoy
D_Maddox 5 months ago
There were so many things I enjoyed about this book. Tavish's life was out of control and she was a mess at the beginning. Missing her recently decreased grandmother, reeling from her finance’s supposed suicide, feeling unloved by her mother, and afraid her art was never going to sell, Tavish had plenty to deal with. Then she gets a call to pick up her dog from the pound - but Tavish doesn’t have a dog! She argues with the pound but finally relents and gets the dog when they tell her to get her today or she will be euthanized that night. She recognizes the dog immediately as belonging to a man who recently commissioned her to do a portrait of him and the dog. When she tries to find the owner, she finds him murdered. Things only get worse for her from there. I believe her relationship with the dog is the first step in her journey to a better life. But things get worse before they get better - she discovers more murders and then there are attempts on her life. The story is full of suspense, twists, and surprises up until the very end. By the end, Tavish has matured and grown into a more self-confident woman with a bright future. A little romance adds to the adventure also. Ms Parks pulls all the pieces together into a tense and fun read. I will read more books by this author. In full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
jkmeaux 5 months ago
At first I honestly didn't know what to think of this story but as I continued on I became so wrapped up in the plot I was absolutely spellbound and couldn't put it down! A twisting plot, so pay close attention, an adorable pup named Marley, and a very unexpected ending! A great introduction to a "new to me" author. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an an advanced copy of this book. Thoughts and review of this book are mine.
LLangley 6 months ago
The culture of New Mexico, fine art theft, archaegological digs, microchips, a Puli dog, and an innocent bystander accused of murder--or is she innocent? You'll find it all in Fragments of Fear, a new novel by suspense author Carrie Stuart Parks. She keeps readers engaged with an interesting story line, a likeable and believeable main character, truly bad bad guys, and edge of the seat suspense. If you're looking for a good read, this suspense novel won't disappoint, but be prepared to let other things go by the wayside, because you'll have a hard time putting down Fragments of Fear. It's the perfect book for a holiday or vacation time. Just when you think you know which way the plot is headed, you'll find some surprises. If I say any more, it might spoil the read, and you don't want that! Pick up a copy of Parks' Fragments of Fear today.
J_Augustine 6 months ago
Can she trust anything...or anyone? Carrie Stuart Parks is definitely one of my go-to, must-read, favorite authors. All I have to do is see her name on the cover and I know I am going to seriously love the book. Her brand of suspense/thriller, sometimes with a dash of romance, is right up my alley. And I simply love her no nonsense writing style. Needless to say, I've been pretty excited about reading Fragments Of Fear since I first heard about it several months ago. And, oh, I was so NOT disappointed! It was everything I had hoped for and more! Sorry, but I just had to gush a little there. I wasn't kidding when I said that she is one of my favorite authors. Anyway... Fragments Of Fear was an excellent read. It's a taut psychological thriller slash romantic suspense novel and I was totally engrossed in the story right from the start. One of the things that Carrie Stuart Parks does well, aside from painting vivid mental images of the characters and settings, would be the psychological element. Seriously, you feel every bit of Tavish's emotional roller coaster as she seeks the truth, and a little justice, while being gaslighted and terrorized by some very nasty bad guys. Carrie Stuart Parks brings the New Mexico landscape alive, from the elegant art world to a dusty archaeological dig, in Fragments Of Fear. It's a story that I really enjoyed and would definitely recommend. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
magnificentk 6 months ago
Fragments of Fear is a mystery style novel, but deviates from your typical run-of-the-mill heroine. Evelyn McTavish, who goes by Tavish, is a complex character with flaws and traits that most authors by-pass. She has obsessive compulsive tendencies, issues dealing with her overbearing mother, and suffers from low self esteem. But when confronted with a series of murders, it’s clear someone wants her dead. Tavish has to break out of her self-imposed box and delve into a world completely out of her comfort zone. Readers become engrossed in Tavish’s pursuit for justice and will root for as she tries to navigate a world that is very different than the life she’s led. The author gives an interesting perspective into the way others see Tavish versus how she sees herself. I rather enjoy novels with characters and stories lines that are complex and unique. This isn’t a typical heroine saves the day story. Readers will spend time trying to figure out Tavish. Is she a train wreck or a super hero? There is a love story, but Tavish take center stage and the romance element almost seems like an afterthought, although it does play into how Tavish views the world around her. The novel took me some time to get into, but I found Tavish to be delightful and loved to see her transformation throughout the story. There is definitely a lot of high stakes action and suspense, so if you are a fan of danger and life-or-death situations, you’ll find this an exciting read. Carrie Stuart Parks always has intriguing settings, and this takes place in the deserts of New Mexico. It’s the perfect backdrop for this mysterious plot line.
KimPotter 6 months ago
Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks is a stand-alone suspense mystery. Evelyn McTavish is trying to move on after the death of her fiancé. Selling her art is the beginning but when she receives a call to pick up a dog that the shelter claims is registered to her everything seems to explode. With her life in danger her path crosses that of FBI Agent Sawyer Price. Now, with someone she can trust maybe she’ll make it out alive. If she can figure out just what is going on! This was a great story. Even though the odds were against her, Tavish never gave up. I would definitely like to read more from this author. I received this book from Celebrate-Lit in exchange for my honest review.
5643437 6 months ago
Fragments of Fear brought me slowly into the storyline. At first, I felt Tavish was one of those characters I might find it difficult to like. Because I am not a dog person, the dog did not initially capture my attention. But as I kept reading I found myself drawn into the story. Sawyer Price, FBI agent, immediately caused me to like him. I also found myself wanting him to help Tavish find her way out of the chaos and intrigue she was in when they first met. The mysterious and dangerous aspects of the story kept me reading. I found myself wanting to know how the story would turn out in the end. The mysterious woman who shows up at Tavish’s fiance’s funeral made me angry. She was a rude and ill-mannered individual. I have to say I appreciated the journey Tavish found herself on and her willingness to stick to her claims that her fiance was murdered instead of someone who would commit suicide. The storyline took me a while to get into, but once I started enjoying it, I was glad I stuck with reading it. I have to say in the end the dog played a necessary role in the story. So if you like books with mystery, danger, or pets, check out this book for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
Deana0326 6 months ago
Tavish is a very wealthy young woman who doesn't have the best relationship with her mother. I guess if you call your mother by her first name, it is obvious there is a fracture in the relationship. I didn't care for Tavish's mother at all. Maybe her mother is upset that her daughter is independent and doesn't always do what her mother wants her to do. Her mother is always requesting Tavish's appearance at functions she doesn't want to be at. Whatever the reason, the author does a great job of exploring their relationship throughout the story. The suspense in the book is good and has many twists in it. What would you do if you received a call from an animal shelter saying to come pick up your dog before it is euthanized? Tavish is quite confused with the call because she doesn't own a dog, but I'm so glad she has a good heart. The dog is a clue to something that brings the story to an adventure filled with secrets and danger. I adored the dog and thought it was a great addition to the story. Sawyer is charming and wants to help Tavish while trying to keep her safe. I love that he is not afraid to share his faith and encourage Tavish to not give up. It was fascinating to read about archaeology and be able to feel a part of the dig that was going on. I love the element of art in the story and have always enjoyed learning about different pieces that an artist has put their heart into. Tavish has a difficult time trusting people and when her life is in danger, she will have to learn to let her guard down and trust Sawyer. She is thrown into an unexpected turn of events that bring her to a place where she will encounter life and death. I loved how the author keeps readers guessing with her excellent ability to throw in curves that involve intrigue and surprises. It's hard to figure out who are the enemies and just what they are after which made me want to read as fast as I could. The book is very good with layers of complicated people who are after something of value. I have to say that I loved how intense the story is at times. Overall the story is well written and delves into the art world with drama, heart pounding action and a bit of faith scattered throughout the story. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 6 months ago
Tavish is a very wealthy young woman who doesn't have the best relationship with her mother. I guess if you call your mother by her first name, it is obvious there is a fracture in the relationship. I didn't care for Tavish's mother at all. Maybe her mother is upset that her daughter is independent and doesn't always do what her mother wants her to do. Her mother is always requesting Tavish's appearance at functions she doesn't want to be at. Whatever the reason, the author does a great job of exploring their relationship throughout the story. The suspense in the book is good and has many twists in it. What would you do if you received a call from an animal shelter saying to come pick up your dog before it is euthanized? Tavish is quite confused with the call because she doesn't own a dog, but I'm so glad she has a good heart. The dog is a clue to something that brings the story to an adventure filled with secrets and danger. I adored the dog and thought it was a great addition to the story. Sawyer is charming and wants to help Tavish while trying to keep her safe. I love that he is not afraid to share his faith and encourage Tavish to not give up. It was fascinating to read about archaeology and be able to feel a part of the dig that was going on. I love the element of art in the story and have always enjoyed learning about different pieces that an artist has put their heart into. Tavish has a difficult time trusting people and when her life is in danger, she will have to learn to let her guard down and trust Sawyer. She is thrown into an unexpected turn of events that bring her to a place where she will encounter life and death. I loved how the author keeps readers guessing with her excellent ability to throw in curves that involve intrigue and surprises. It's hard to figure out who are the enemies and just what they are after which made me want to read as fast as I could. The book is very good with layers of complicated people who are after something of value. I have to say that I loved how intense the story is at times. Overall the story is well written and delves into the art world with drama, heart pounding action and a bit of faith scattered throughout the story. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Floyd Johnson 6 months ago
Evelyn Yvonne McTavish (‘Tavish’ for short) is not being believed. She is convinced that her fiance has been murdered - the police do not believe her. Evelyn tells the city pound that Marley, the Puli (a dog breed) is not hers - Mr. Brown, the attendant, does not believe her. And when she reports the death of John Coyote (a client for whom she did some artwork), the police cannot find the body or the blood she had seen on the floor. Evelyn’s credibility is going downhill fast. All that is in the first two chapters. The plot involves events that are over two years old, events that may involve her mother in a criminal conspiracy, and events that may involve national security issues. Tavish and FBI Special Agent Sawyer Price will need to work independently and cooperatively to piece together the seemingly disconnected pieces of information to solve the riddles before them. Written with a light faith-based style, the book has its protagonists looking at their own spiritual lives even as they are forced to work together on the issues before them. The book belongs in both the church and public library, as well as in the hands of those who enjoy a thrill ride from an experienced author. For those looking for a good Fall weekend read, this book may fill the bill. ______________ This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Madison-s_Library 6 months ago
Fragments of Fear is a thrilling and intricately woven suspense novel. With endless twists and loads of action, it is a novel that continued to keep me guessing and marvelling at the unexpected strength of the main character. Fragments of Fear is the first novel I have read by Carrie Stuart Parks and I was impressed with her storytelling and mastery of the suspense details. Evelyn McTavish, Tavish to her friends, is rocked when her fiancé dies by suicide. A surprise visitor at the graveside service further shakes Tavish’s confidence in herself. Her art isn’t exactly making the waves she thought it would, she hates her accounting job and she still lives under her mother’s roof - even if it’s a guesthouse. When she receives a call saying her name and number was in the microchip of a lost dog, she stumbles into a world of stolen artefacts, drugs, and murder. When the killer’s target is turned her way and the police label her as crazy and don’t believe her story, Tavish sets out to find out what’s really going on. Tavish is an unlikely heroine. She is not exactly self-confident, has zero experience solving crimes and taking on bad guys, but she never gives up. Even when everyone writes her off, doesn’t believe her or calls her crazy. Even when she has been shot at, blown up and left for dead. Tavish, despite having no detective experience, is pretty good at investigating. I liked that this is a citizen-driven investigation and while she and FBI Agent Sawyer cross paths and work together at some points, they don’t unrealistically team up or are unnecessarily thrown together. Parks leaves the characters, Tavish in particular, to find their own way and answers, which I found refreshing. There are so many threads in Fragments of Fear. I like a good, thick plot and that is exactly what you get with this story. Along with all the action and life endangerment, there are threads of drug crime, art crime, artefact theft, murder, family drama complications, cons, and mysterious coverups, as well as a touch of romance and discovery of faith. Fragments of Fear is a detailed and well planned suspense novel, which I greatly enjoyed. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Ourpugs 6 months ago
Fragments of fear Definitely a lot involved in the book. Everywhere she went Takish got into some kind of trouble. Never was sure who was on her side, even her own mother. She really had quite the adventure. At the beginning of the book she inherited a dog. A different type of dog that is in most books. So she tries to figure out why the dog was in her name. One thing leads to another. This is my first book by the author. It definitely won’t be my last. I really enjoyed her writing. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. This review is my own opinion.
LucyMR1 6 months ago
This is my first Carrie Stuart Parks book and it definitely will not be my last as I devoured this one. Loved that it keeps you guessing and on your toes throughout. I found this to be very inventive and smart writing that engrossed me from page one. Murders keep piling up and knowing who you can trust becomes a puzzle when your life is on the line. A complex story line and a real character in Tavish, as she suffers from panic attacks, who finds strength to keep going through her adversity. Throw in a lovable dog and you have the makings of a great story. This is not just a story of running for your life but of running the race towards Proverbs 3:5. Self perception is also addressed and how someone else sees us can be enlightening. Run to snatch this one up, as you won’t be disappointed. I received a complimentary copy from CelebrateLit/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
ARS8 6 months ago
I was glued to the pages of Fragments of Fear which is an action packed thriller that does not stop or slow down till the final pages. Evelyn McTavish, or Tavish, is a lost soul who is very rich yet is searching for answers about life, wanting to find true love, and has no self-esteem at all. I am glad that she did have a healthy dose of self-preservation at least as she really needed it in the twists and turns on the rollercoaster ride her life decides to embark upon. This story has a lot of puzzle pieces that by the end fit all together to give a good picture of the story that you just read. I was hooked from page one, and like Tavish could not rest until she had some answers. And she needed them a plenty. Tavish had a problem with herself, so much so that when she started living a healthier lifestyle she did not see the outside changes that were happening to her. I understood that word picture, that she was overweight yet did not notice that she began losing weight and that everyone else was seeing her differenty. Her self-image was one that was cloaked in shame, lonliness, and self-pity. She was still wearing her “fat” clothes when she wasn’t that size anymore. I think the visual really helped as Tavish was changing on the inside as well. I get that and the book was all the more meaningful for it. I received a copy of this novel from the publihser. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
amandainpa 6 months ago
I have read one other book by Carrie Stuart Parks and I enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one as well. I enjoyed many things about this story. Tavish, the main character was enjoyable to read about and I adored her relationship with Marley, the dog in the book. The setting of the story was also great and unique to me...it takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and there are several scenes in the deserts and canyons that were described very well. There was no shortage of action in this book. The plot moves very briskly and there were no moments when I felt that the story lagged or was slow. The content was very clean and appropriate and the faith message was presented well.  The plot was a bit complicated and full of many characters that I found difficult to keep track of at times. I also found that romance was definitely an instalove situation.  Overall, the mystery was interesting and kept me guessing and there were a few twists that I didn't see coming. I highly recommend this one to fans of suspense and action. I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
Erin_Slocum 6 months ago
My Thoughts on Fragments of Fear: This book is very unique. It centers on art but then again it doesn’t. Some big takeaways from the book. Acceptance is important no matter what we look like. The negative space is real and we need to be looking for it and at it and the people who live there. Lies are all around us and hurt can come from even the closest relatives and the nicest people. What would you do to save someone you loved? If someone wasn’t who you thought they were which way would you remember them after they died? All these questions and thoughts plus so much more went through my head while reading Fragments of Fear. Art is definitely not my thing. I know nothing about it. All the names in the book were just that to me. I couldn’t tell you which were real artists and which weren’t. But that’s not the reason I picked up this book. I chose to read this book because I’m a lover of mystery, suspense, and murder books. But I don’t want the normal ones on the shelves. I want the murder mysteries that are written by Christian authors so I don’t have to worry about content that I don’t approve of. Nothing like getting into the midst of a really good mystery only to come across questionable content and have to stop reading. This book will not make you stop reading. Instead, it’s going to make you keep reading. You might take the book to the dining table, or even possibly the bathroom because you don’t want to set it down. While I figured out parts of the book before they were revealed there were some definite wow and you’ve got to be kidding me moments. Loved them! In fact, I loved the whole book. The style of writing is unique and flows really well. Nothing disjointed here. I loved the strength that the main character comes to have. She develops strength in herself and learns who she can and cannot trust. Of course, learning brings about some wrong decisions. But her knowledge of negative space keeps her relatively safe and thank goodness she happened to mention to Sawyer about negative space as well. It’s like their own secret code! Also, have you ever heard of a bad guy with a good heart? There might be one of those in here too. And let’s not get me started on that dog. Oh, how adorable. Tavish is so lucky that sweet pup got foisted on her. Highly recommend this book and I’m going to be checking out other books by this author now as well. I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
Randi_AMDFT 6 months ago
When I pick up a mystery or suspense book, I look forward to the mystery... of wondering who did it and how it all went down. From the very start, this book certainly had that going for it! The action started right from the first chapter and didn't stop until the very end. In the beginning though, it really had me as the reader questioning what was really going on. We 'see' what our main character Tavish sees, of course... but as the evidence disappears and given her already fragile mental state... you can't help but wonder... is this REALLY going on? Is it all in her head as the police believe? How does it all go together? That air of mystery kept me turning the pages to find out the truth. Nothing is quite what it seems, as information is slowly revealed- a fragment at a time- throughout the story. And I couldn't get enough! There is just a hint of romance in this one, which I believe fans of the romantic suspense genre can appreciate... but the mystery is really the primary focus here. As a Christian novel, of course there is some mention of God, but likewise, it's not in your face about it. As a Christian reader, I appreciated seeing that aspect of faith... but I believe that non-Christians could still enjoy this as a good, clean read without feeling as though they are being preached to as well. This is the first book that I had personally read from Carrie Stuart Parks. From my understanding based on thoughts from other reviewers, it seems as though this one might be rather different than her previous works that tend to deal more in forensics. Again, having not read anything else from her in the past, I cannot compare but I can say I really enjoyed the style of her writing and look forward to checking out more from her in the future. **I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.
Librarycataloger 7 months ago
Evelyn McTavish is an accomplished artist but she seems to have a hard time realizing her self-worth. "Tavish" has apparently had a weight problem in the past so she has a poor self-image of herself, her relationship with her mother is very strained, and she has just buried her fiance when this book begins. Suddenly, she finds herself caretaker to a dog whose owner has been murdered and running from the person who probably killed him. As the story continues, Tavish and FBI Special Agent Sawyer Price work together to find answers as more murders are committed, art work is stolen and art forgeries are discovered. Along the way, Tavish has her car stolen, she becomes a walking target, and she finds her sanity being questioned. Who is behind this and why is she the target? Sawyer seems to want to protect her but are his motives honest and pure? Perhaps the only positive outcome from all of her problems is that Evelyn Yvonne McTavish finally begins a relationship with the Heavenly Father that her late beloved grandmother had encouraged her to find. I must admit that I don't often read stories set in New Mexico so I enjoyed the references to Albuquerque and the use of Native American artifacts in the plot. I also enjoyed the unending suspense and trying to guess just what was coming next. Fragments of Fear is filled with non-stop action and danger and I can see why other readers are so eager to Parks's books. This was my time to read a book by Carrie Stuart Parks but it won't be my last! I voluntarily received an Advance Reader's Copy from Thomas Nelson as part of JustRead Publicity Tours but I was not required to write a positive review.
ibjoy1953 7 months ago
MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK  I really enjoyed this fast paced thriller from author Carrie Parks. Tavish seemed to get herself in trouble everywhere she went. When she finds her boyfriend dead, the street is so bad she finds herself chewying on her fingernail, a very bad habit. And her boyfriends death leads to a string of deaths, and she can’t seem to find the connection. Then she meets FBI Special Agent Sawyer Price, who not only is a bit attracted to Tavish, he wants to help her find answers. Tavish and Sawyer wiggled their way into my heart from the beginning. I love the unique and interesting characters created by Ms. Parks. They all played their parts so well in each scene of this highly rated thriller. Tavish was a mixed up young lady, she wasnt a Christian, instead she depended on her Crystal’s. And the supporting characters have their own unique qualities as well. There are so many twists and turns to this story. I tried throughout the book to figure out who did what, it was all so mixed up, it seemed like everyone was guilty. I love the way this author weaves all of the characters together with the horrific issues going on, and created an ending that was a shocker in some ways. Near the end, I had narrowed the killer down to a few, but I was still shocked at the results. I love when authors keep us guessing throughout the story. Especially authors like Carrie Parks, writing such twisted scenes, bringing every character into the picture. And I appreciate that Ms. Parks shows Tavish’s life before and after she gives her heart to Jesus. If you love a good clean thriller/mystery, this is the book for you. You will love this one! A copy of this book was given to me by the author or publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions here in this review are totally mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
MelissaNC 7 months ago
Fragments of Fear is the newest suspense novel from Carrie Stuart Parks. It is quite action-packed from the very beginning. Tavish, the main character, is thrown into a mystery of her own when she finds a dead body, inherits a dog, and escapes many life threatening situations. She quickly figures out she has no idea who she can trust and she feels like the police think she is crazy so she sets out to figure out herself what is going on. I can tell you this, I did not see the ending coming. Totally took me by surprise. This is the first novel I have read of hers and it definitely will not be the last. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Net Galley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
devonrexlover 7 months ago
I was so anxious to read this book. The synopsis was so interesting. Evelyn's boyfriend commits suicide. She ends up with a dog from the pound. It's chip has her name on it. She knows who the owner is and takes the dog to his house. She finds him murdered. So starts a non stop action book. Unfortunately, the writing just didn't measure up. Everything jumped around so fast I couldn't get involved in any story or character. From sentence to sentence could be a different subject. I would read whole sentences that didn't make sense. I would go back to re-read them and realise there were quotation marks on half the sentence, the rest of the sentence were thoughts. This was very distracting. The writing didn't flow and felt choppy as it jumped from one subject to another. The FBI agent was in very little of the story. He and Evelyn were together for such a short amount of time yet fell in love was very unrealistic. I really felt like I knew the dog Marley, the best. I've read some good reviews on this author and really want to try another of her books. I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest opinion.
caribougirl 7 months ago
Wow - what a fun ride! This book hit the ground running and did NOT let up! I literally could not put this one down. The entire book had so many twists and turns. While I didn't have any trouble keeping track, I was left guessing until the very end. Very well written suspense with just a hint of romance. There was also a solid faith thread that was not in the least preachy, but did come through loud and clear. Evelyn McTavish (known as Tavish) has recently lost her fiance. Though she refuses to believe it was suicide, the police do not give her any credence. While she's still grieving, she gets a call from an animal shelter to come and get her dog before they put it to sleep. Tavish has never had a dog, but she doesn't want to be responsible for an animal being euthanized, so she goes to check it out. Picking up the dog sets a whole series of events in motion that she could have never imagined. This book had a little bit of everything. An intense mystery with suspense, non-stop action, fun lovable characters, drama, great dialogue and little bit of romance. My only complaint (and this may be something that gets fixed in the final edits) was that though the book was written in 3rd person, it would shift to 1st person whenever someone was "thinking". It wasn't difficult to track - just a bit distracting. Since it didn't detract from the story at all (nor was it confusing), it did not take away any stars from my rating. I would strongly recommend for readers who enjoy inspirational mystery/suspense or romantic suspense. Special thanks to NetGalley for an advanced e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to write a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.
More_Than_A_Review 7 months ago
Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks was a truly enjoyable read. I enjoyed this story and the mystery around it to the point I read it in less than 24 hours. Tavish was a mess and I like my heroines to have their life together. However you could not help but like her. The scenes with her and the dog were hilarious. Tavish has lost her grandmother and her fiancé. She deals with anxiety and uses all kinds of methods to try and calm herself. From biting her nails to crystals. Let me mention this is a Christian story but is not mentioned much throughout the book. Tavish suspects that her fiancé was murdered when the police think it is a suicide. Then she sees another murder and the police do not believe her. She meets Sawyer (loved that scene) who I really liked as a character. He is an FBI agent finishing an undercover job when they meet and he starts helping her. And best of all he believes her. Lots of action in the book. My favorite parts were watching Tavish develop and come into her own. Sexual content – none Violence – deaths, a body appears to have been tortured but no details, kidnapping, shooting, Language and drinking - none
CatheSwanson 7 months ago
With her usual deft characterization, Carrie Stuart Parks has brought to life a cast of unique and believable people (and dog) in Fragments of Fear. This book moves fast, with as many twists and turns as any thriller, without losing sight of the individuals’ character development. The book begins with a rather ditzy, anxiety-ridden woman, burdened with shock and sorrows, but as soon as I started getting impatient with her, the story shifted, and I was hooked. Each of the supporting characters is well-drawn and has a meaningful role in the story, just as every detail is important to the tightly-constructed plot. The author knows art and archaeology, and that expertise is obvious in the story. There’s also murder, theft, a disappearing corpse and chip technology in the mystery. The ending was surprising and satisfying. I had to look up the breed of dog in the story, because it sounded so unusual. Marley is a Puli. Google it. It’s action-packed suspense, all the way through, but there’s a little romance and a light faith theme. If you like thrillers and suspense, you will enjoy this one!