Monday, July 21, 2014

Elective Procedures: Deadly Elements {+ Giveaway}

Elective Procedures coverIt’s a treat to once again be participating in one of author Merry Jones’s Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. Merry joins us today to celebrate the recent release of ELECTIVE PROCEDURES, the second installment in her Elle Harrison Thriller series.

Merry will be talking about combining fortune telling and cosmetic surgery as key elements in her story and I’ll share my thoughts on her latest release. In addition, thanks to Merry and the lovely folks at Partners in Crime, I have a print copy of ELECTIVE PROCEDURES to give away. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First here’s a brief synopsis of the new thriller:

       Elle Harrison has taken a leave of absence to mourn the death of her husband Charlie.
Her friend Becky takes her out to dinner to cheer her up and, on impulse, drags her into a fortune teller's shop. The fortune teller predicts that Elle will travel and meet a new man. She also says that Elle is surrounded by a dark aura that draws the dead to her.
        Elle dismissed the predictions as hogwash. But then her friend Jen takes her, Becky and another friend, Susan, to Mexico where she is getting lost cost cosmetic surgery. Elle is attracted to and asked out by Jen's surgeon, Alain DuBois. And Elle finds a woman hanging onto the balcony next to hers by her fingertips. Elle tries to save her and fails, almost dying in the process.
        All of the fortune teller's predictions have come true. And, as the week progresses, more of Alain DuBois' patients are gruesomely killed, Jen is attacked, Elle is nearly murdered, and the spirit of her dead husband Charlie keeps appearing to her.
        Who is trying to kill Dr. DuBois' patients--And why? Who is trying to murder Elle? Why does she keep seeing Charlie--Is she nuts? Or is his spirit really trying to protect her?
        ELECTIVE PROCEDURES makes a week in Mexico into a chilling page turner, full of twists and unexpected developments, as well as a face lift or two.

Please join me in welcoming Merry back to Thoughts in Progress.

Merry, how did you come to combine fortune telling and cosmetic surgery to play key elements in your mystery and what was it like doing research for this story?

Protagonist Elle Harrison walks the line when it comes to reality. She floats into her thoughts when stressed. Sometimes she thinks she’s talking to her dead husband. As a character, Elle deals not just with standard suspense elements (murder and other crimes), but also with the supernatural—or its possibility.

In ELECTIVE PROCEDURES, Elle continues to deal with both. She bumps up against murders and crimes. She tries (but fails) to save a woman from falling off a balcony. She finds another woman stabbed to death. She is attacked. Her friend is almost killed. 

Danger and violence, though, are not all that Elle has to contend with. There’s an added layer here: Because a fortune teller has foreshadowed peril, warning Elle of imminent danger and saying that she is surrounded by death, the murders resonate, echoing her predictions. And because Elle has dismissed the fortune teller as a scammer and a fraud, Elle’s own doubts about what is vs. isn’t “real” increase as the predictions continue to come true. 

The fortune teller creates a new layer of suspense and uncertainty. The questions Elle faces aren’t just “Who are the killers” and “How can I escape?” They’re also, “Do I really attract the dead?” and, “Is my aura actually stained with blood?” The fortune teller is a vehicle of the supernatural, allowing ELECTIVE PROCEDURES to raise more gooseflesh than a standard “whodunit.”

With each of my books, I set out to learn something new and hope others will learn something by reading them. ELECTIVE PROCEDURES presents information about cosmetic surgery and body dysmorphic disorder, a not uncommon condition in which physical self images are distorted. 

In our culture, self-esteem is often closely linked to physical appearance. And every year, in order to improve their physical appearances, hundreds if not thousands of Americans travel abroad for inexpensive cosmetic surgery, which is not covered by most insurance policies. I pictured a foreign clinic providing cosmetic surgery to people unsatisfied with their looks. It seemed to beg—no, to scream, “Let me be a setting for a suspense novel!”

I conducted online research about the cost and availability of common procedures. I also read up on the processes of face lifts, breast augmentations/reductions, nose jobs (rhinoplasties), and tummy tucks. I learned about the recovery process for each, looked at photos detailing the surgeries, realized there are good reasons I never went to medical school, and spoke to people who’d had these procedures done, asking about their experiences. I also researched surgery “addicts,” and the various reasons some patients are never satisfied with their appearances, even after “successful” plastic surgery. 

My hope is that ELECTIVE PROCEDURES will raise questions about our emphasis on physical appearance and its repercussions. Most of all, though, hope readers are grabbed by Elle’s harrowing tale of obsession, betrayal, murder and revenge.
Merry, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into your book. You’ve definitely given us something to think about when it comes to cosmetic surgery and its effect on people.

Now a little background on Merry.

Merry Jones has written the Elle Harrison suspense novels (THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE, ELECTIVE PROCEDURES), the Harper Jennings thrillers (SUMMER SESSION, BEHIND THE WALLS, WINTER BREAK, OUTSIDE EDEN, and this fall, IN THE WOODS), and the Zoe Hays mysteries (THE NANNY MURDERS, THE RIVER KILLINGS, DEADLY NEIGHBORS, THE BORROWED AND BLUE MURDERS). She has also written humor (including I LOVE HIM, BUT...) and non-fiction (including BIRTHMOTHERS: Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their stories). 

Merry taught college creative writing for fifteen years. Her work has been translated into seven languages, and appeared in many magazines, including GLAMOUR. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Authors Guild, International Thriller Writers, and The Philadelphia Liars Club. 

The mother of two grown daughters, she lives outside Philadelphia with her husband.

For more on Merry and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Now my thoughts ……….


Cosmetic surgery leads to deadly consequences in author Merry Jones’s latest thriller, ELECTIVE PROCEDURES.

Elle Harrison is still feeling a loss after the death of her cheating soon-to-be ex-husband, Charlie. Not quite sure why she’s still mourning, Elle is trying to get her life back on track.

When her friend Jen decides to have cosmetic surgery done in Mexico, she takes Elle and two of their other friends, Becky and Susan, along. Their first night in the plush hotel, Elle sees a woman in the next suite dangling from her balcony. She tries to help, but the woman falls to her death.

As Elle searches for answers, she see glimpses of her dead husband around the area. A fortune teller had told her she had an aura that dead spirits were drawn to.
As the story unfolds, Jen’s surgeon takes an interest in Elle, who discovers another surgery patient dead. Getting closer to the truth surrounding the deaths, Elle finds her own life in danger.

The author has blended humor and suspense into an intriguing read that flows quickly. The characters are well-developed and the author gives them traits/habits readers can relate to.

With an eye for detail, Jones draws readers into the story with rich descriptions of the beach setting. The twists and surprises along the way captivate the reader’s attention.

ELECTIVE PROCEDURES is the second installment in the Elle Harrison Thriller series, but can be read on its own. In this thriller mystery, with a touch of chick lit, Jones has blended all the elements together for a tantalizing story.

Elective Procedures by Merry Jones, Elle Harrison Thriller Book #2, Oceanview Publishing, @2014, ISBN: 978-1608091164, Paperback, 288 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

To read more about Merry and her latest work, drop by the following blogs participating in her tour.

6/29 ~ Interview @ Suspense Magazine Blog Talk Radio 10 am PST/1 pm EST
7/01 ~ Interview & Review @ Words by Webb
7/03 ~ Interview @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
7/07 ~ Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
7/08 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
7/09 ~ Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads
7/10 ~ Showcase @ Ryder Islingtons Blog
7/14 ~ Review @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
7/15 ~ Review @ Celtic Lady Reviews
7/16 Showcase @ The Opinionated Me
7/17 ~ Showcase @ A Blue Million Books
7/18 ~ Review @ Marys Cup of Tea
7/22 ~ Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
7/24 ~ Review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
7/25 ~ Showcase @ Books Books and More Books
7/28 ~ Showcase, Review, & Giveaway @ The Wormhole Book Blog
7/29 ~ Review @ Wall-to-Wall Books
7/30 ~ Review @ Deco My Heart


This giveaway is for one print copy of ELECTIVE PROCEDURES. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Tuesday, July 29. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Merry Jones’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for dropping by today during Merry’s visit. What are your thoughts on cosmetic surgery? Have you had any done or would you every have any done?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think if I was rich and felt it was important to look a certain way then I'd go for cosmetic surgery. As it is, I'm fine with looking like myself at whatever age so I don't think I'd bother. I certainly wouldn't want friends who based our friendship on my outward appearance.

  2. I had my eyelids done about 25 years ago - need it done again - but that was because they drooped so much my sight was limited. Otherwise, take me like I am!

  3. It looks like poor Elle has a tough time of it in this story.

  4. Wicked cover.
    Never understood cosmetic or plastic surgery. Why alter what God gave you?

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this latest mystery from Merry Jones. And it's always fascinating to learn a little more about the backstory from the author.

  6. I wouldn't mind having some "work" done but I much prefer spending my money on books!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  7. There are those who never feel prettier no matter how many surgeries they endure, which is sad.

  8. looks like a intense read, thank you for the chance :)

  9. Mason - Thanks for hosting Merry.

    Merry - It is sad that for so many people, their sense of self-worth comes from looking as much as possible like people they see on magazines. Even the people in magazines don't look like people in magazines, when you think about it. Cosmetic surgery can mean a new lease on life, so to speak, but not if people go into it for the wrong reasons. I wish you much success with your work.

  10. Although I do not care for supernatural elements in my mysteries, I like the research that went into the cosmetic surgery parts. I wish her success.

  11. oh, my, the cover made me scream a bit.....

  12. Thanks for the interview and review! What a great site you have--Merry Jones

  13. Love the cover! And the book sounds fascinating - lots of intriguing layers!! :)

  14. The book sounds captivating and memorable. Unique and very interesting. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. Striking cover! And a great premise for a thriller. The fortune teller definitely adds an interesting twist, too.

  16. A cover that you stop and look at then pick up the book to find out what it is about.

  17. My mother always wanted nose surgery. Now I wish that I agreed with her. It probably would have made her happy. I had nose surgery for medical reasons. When it healed, I grew a bump on my nose! They told me that I could come back to have it shaved off anytime but I never did. I was only 12 years old and my doctor was late for the surgery,. He was on the golf course and we were all waiting, I was on the table and all the assisting were there. The anesthesia wore off in the middle of the operation. It was the worst pain in my life. They had to give me adrenaline and more pain medicine. I decided that I would rather live with the bump than go back to a doctor who is late for surgery!

  18. First - awesome cover!

    I think like everything there is a time and need for everything, but I'd prefer to stay away from any type of surgery!

  19. I, too, love the cover—perfect for this type of a thriller. And the focus on our culture's obsession with physical appearance makes for a compelling and important theme.

    VR Barkowski

  20. I think it's so scary. Look at Bruce Jenner. He would probably have been a striking man if he'd aged gracefully. Sounds like a good book for book club discussion.

  21. Sounds like a great book. Why are we so obsessed with cosmetic surgery and looking forever 21?


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.