About the Book
Don’t Believe ItMystery/Crime/Suspense
Setting – St. Lucia
Kensington (May 29, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B075CBLSDX
Audio ASIN: B079VRWSRY
The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.
As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.
Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.
Filmmaker Sidney Ryan feels she has found the perfect subject for her new documentary. Grace Sebold has been in prison in St. Lucia for the past 10 years. Found guilty of killing her boyfriend while on Spring Break. A crime she says she didn’t commit. She had reached out to Grace to tell her story and hopefully prove she didn’t kill anyone.
Sidney starts investigating and quickly sees many inconsistencies in the previous investigation. She sells the story to television, pitching a 10 episode series that she will do almost in real time as she digs into the case.
The series premiers with good ratings and grows with each episode. A public outcry gets the attention of the U.S. government and they realize one of its citizens may be in prison in a foreign country for a crime she didn’t commit. At the same time, Sidney receives a letter telling her that her docudrama is wrong and that Grace has to be guilty. Before she can put together the final episodes she takes her investigation in a different direction and by doing that she risks everything.
This story could be ripped from the headlines. True Crime dramas are hot right now. They are all over television, even have channels dedicated to this type of program. This one also delves into the police procedures and the courts in St. Lucia, an island where tourists are their bed and butter.
Most of the story is told from Sidney Ryan’s point of view and she plans and investigates. Interspersed between are interviews Sidney has with people connected to the case. The fact that she was creating the episodes almost in real time, sometimes just a day or two before it aired, including all the behind the scenes drama was so interesting. It kept the pace of the story at a high level.
The author does an excellent job of giving us readers an intense story. I was sucked in right from the start. The story has twists that changed my thinking several times. Was Grace really innocent? If she was, who killed Julian? I had a clear thought of another suspect and then another and then back to Grace. I don’t want to say too much to ruin the story but the ending took a turn I never imagined.
After reading The Girl Who Was Taken last summer, I did not even read the synopsis for this book before reading it. I just knew it was written by Charlie Donlea and I had to read it. I am glad I did that. This is a book you just need to jump into and let it take you away. This story is well written, very detailed, and much more than it originally seems. A totally entertaining story that I had a hard time putting down.
Check out my review of The Girl Who Was Taken here.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Readers can find him online at http://charliedonlea.com
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Also by Charlie Donlea
Praise for Don’t Believe It
by Charlie Donlea
Donlea’s use of the documentary format helped build and maintain suspense. He tapped into the American passion for true crime to write the story and it worked well.
~Bea’s Book Nook
Charlie Donlea is definitely an author to watch out for. Five stars is not enough praise for this story.
~Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”