Imagine you are an empath, capable of feeling – physically and emotionally – what others feel. Imagine that when you touch someone, their thoughts and memories may pass to you in a flash of colour. Imagine not knowing if the things you know, the things that drive you, the things you desire, are yours – or someone else’s.
Tessa, the protagonist of Dawn Hosmer’s debut novel, is an unsurprisingly troubled and withdrawn woman, trying to cope with her personal reality. Her family have treated her as mentally ill, shunting her off to institutions for treatment. She relies on her therapist and one brother to support her – until she meets a charming professor in her college town, and feels an immediate connection.
But Jonas has his own secrets, and as it becomes clear there is a serial rapist and murdered stalking young women, Tessa is drawn into the search for the killer – with devastating personal results. If I could say nothing else about Bits & Pieces, I would laud the author’s bravery and strength in addressing a difficult and horrifying subject in such a gutsy and unexpected manner.
For the most part, Bits & Pieces is a satisfyingly well-written novel, the language clear and clean, the dialogue believable. Hosmer handles the descriptions of violence well, evoking the characters’ terror without dwelling on too much detail, but not leaving everything to the reader’s imagination. The action rises and falls it grows towards the climax, and Tessa’s confusion and growing disorientation are conveyed effectively.
What happens in the denouement, however, I found less satisfying: a twist in the story that has a role in terms of character development, but that I also found detracted from the shock of the primary narrative, and, by focusing on the twist, took away from the reality of how Tessa deals with what she has experienced. Knowing there is a sequel planned means I’m reserving final judgment on this, because it may have a role in the next book.
4 out of 5 stars for an impressive and unusual debut. Bits & Pieces is available from Amazon. Keep reading to learn what the author has to say about her work!
Dawn, tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired Bits & Pieces.
I am the mother to four amazing children, a wife, and a lifelong Ohioan. I spent my career in Social Work but have always had a passion for writing and dreamed of one day being a published author. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease fifteen years ago and had to quit working outside of the home a little over two years ago. I now devote myself full-time to writing and marketing.
While Bits & Pieces is a Psychological Thriller, I have not yet found one genre to call home. I enjoy writing suspense, thrillers and contemporary fiction. All of my work has several things in common, however. I like to dive deep into the psyche of my characters to explore their emotions and thoughts on the events happening around them. My tagline is Exploring The Mind, One Book at a Time. It perfectly sums up what I attempt to do in my writing. Because I write with such a deep Point of View, I tend to write in first person. My goal with writing is to also explore the many gray areas of life because no one is all good or all bad just as no experience is either. I also dive into rather dark themes in most of my work, not because I’m a fan of the macabre; rather, because life is full of difficult things. Through my years in social work, I’ve seen countless times how the resilience of the human spirit is stronger than the hard situations people must deal with. In addition, my ideas are usually inspired by true stories. Part of the inspiration for Bits & Pieces came to me when my son was a freshman in college. A female student went missing and was later found murdered. Her killer was linked to several other rapes and murders in the area. I tend to process events that frighten me or create anxiety through writing about them. It helps me feel a sense of control over situations that I am powerless over.
I was asked recently what I hope readers gain from my books. My goal as an author is to give my readers a place to escape the real world, and all of its demands, for a while. Life is hard. For me, nothing rejuvenates me like losing myself in a good book. I want my books to be that place of renewal for those who read them. Even though they often cover such dark and heavy topics, I try to always instill a sense of hope, forgiveness and/or redemption.
My next book, The End of Echoes, is contemporary fiction and will be published late summer 2019.