Review & Giveaway: Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans

a mystery-thriller
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.
Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.
Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.


Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence … As for the ending, I am still stunned.” — Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans. ” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
“Awesome…flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
I have never felt such mixed emotions about a book before. I think that almost every element of this book – the setting, the plot, the characters – evoked feelings from opposite poles within myself. Take the setting: I hate Dallas; but I love the fine arts scene. Like Marie, I play the cello and love the human voice quality of it. Unlike Marie, I couldn’t imagine playing my instrument naked. I don’t love it that much. The plot: I really liked the mystery side of this book. Some authors hit you over the head with key details, thus ruining the surprise. Evans knows how to write a mystery and keep things mysterious. But the romance side of things, some details came down hard and bopped you on the nose. The characters: I felt compassion for Marie and her predicament but felt zero sympathy for her with regard to her spoiled “boys”. I guess I found it hard to believe that a go-getter like Cole wouldn’t have taught his sons how to succeed – even if that meant teaching them the wrong way to do things. 
The book cover is clever and sensual with a man (is that supposed to be Luca?) drawing a bow across the back of a woman with cello strings and f holes tattooed or drawn on her back. I’m not a fan of the font used and the decision to put “a women’s mystery-thriller” on the cover too. Bop! Right on the nose with that one. It’s nitpicky, but I think that bass clef signs should have been used instead of treble clef signs at the beginning of each chapter since that is the clef that cellos mostly play in. Speaking of the chapters, I didn’t mind the changes in point of view, but it sometimes took me a while to figure out who was talking. To be fair, there were a few chapters where Evans didn’t want us to know who was talking. I really liked those chapters where the killer(s) would talk about what they have done and how they got away with it.
The book could have used another pass on the editing table, but it was an entertaining read. I had a hunch about who the killer was and was surprised when it seemed like someone else murdered Luca. But then I got another helping of surprise when I realized that the story had not yet quite ended and then we finally get to find out whodunnit. I was hoping that Marie would have a drama free life from here on out, but I’m happy to see that this book is the beginning of a series. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they can solve mysteries easily (yes, this is a challenge to you).
Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.

Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.

Signed Copy of Out and In + $10 Amazon Gift Card
Signed Copy of Out and In + $5 Amazon Gift Card
$5 Amazon Gift Card
September 12-21, 2018


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1 Comment

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One response to “Review & Giveaway: Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans

  1. Wow! What an informative review! You nailed the pros and cons perfectly — and I agree, cons aside, it’s worth the read. Really different. I love that you know about the cello and music and are able to speak to the finer details of the book. Thanks for a great review!

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