“Redemption: A Father’s Fatal Decision” by Gwen Plano Book Tour

Today, I’m delighted to host Gwen Plano as she continues her blog tour for her new mystery-thriller, Redemption: A Father’s Fatal Decision. Gwen is one of my Story Empire colleagues and one of the kindest bloggy types around. If you’ve visited her site, you already know she not only writes riveting books, but she’s a poet, often sharing her reflections on life and the breathtaking beauty of the Arizona desert where she lives.

I’ve read and reviewed all of Gwen’s thrillers including this new one, which I scooped up as soon as it came out. My review is below, but before we go there: Here’s Gwen:


Thank you, Diana, for inviting me to your lovely site today. It’s a pleasure to visit you and your followers to share a bit about my new release. I look forward to doing the same for you.

Redemption, A Father’s Fatal Decision is a mystery thriller that takes place in the southeast corner of New York state, in the towns of New Rochelle and Cortlandt. Having spent about twenty years in and around that area, it was exciting to visit as a writer.

The book tackles themes of forgiveness and redemption through the medium of suspense. We accompany the son and daughter of the deceased as they try to uncover the reason for their father’s murder. What they discover prompts them to ask if they even knew him.

Sometimes complicated situations help us see our own challenges in a different light. That is my hope for this book. Most of us won’t experience threats like those of my characters, but pain is universal, as is joy. Seeing either in the extreme helps us recognize our own—and severe or elated, those emotions are impactful.  

In the excerpt below, the protagonist, Trace Holmes, is at the hospital, visiting with his mother. He has a letter from his deceased father. It is a confession.

The Blurb

Family secrets can be deadly. When Lisa Holmes visits her parents one fateful Saturday morning, she hugs her father and walks to her childhood bedroom. The doorbell rings. Her father opens the door, and one minute later, he lies dead on the floor—three bullets to the chest.

The Holmes family lives on a quiet street, but no one really knows Eric Holmes. He travels for business and comes home a few days each month. Unbeknown to all, Eric has multiple lives.

In this fast-paced psychological thriller, Lisa and her brother, Trace, embark on a quest to solve the mystery involving the murder of their father. The journey takes them into a secret world where nothing is as it seems. As the puzzle pieces begin to coalesce, they discover the meaning of Redemption. 

An Excerpt

A child and his mother ride the elevator with Trace to the second floor. “I’m visiting my daddy,” the child says as he fiddles with the toy superhero in his hands.

Trace smiles. “I hope he gets better soon.”

“My daddy fell off a ladder, but when he’s strong again, we’re going fishing.”

“You’re a lucky young man.”

Trace pauses outside the door to his mother’s room and thinks about the little boy and the child’s mother. Tenderness wells in his heart. Mom did what she could to protect my innocence. There were moments, he recalls. Moments. He calls out, “Hi, Mom.”

Katherine sits in a wheelchair, unaided, and looks out the window. In a faint voice she says, “Trace.” She reaches for his hand. He bends, kisses her, and moves a chair to sit beside her.

“I can see you’re feeling better. I’m so relieved. You look beautiful. I like your new bandana. A Lisa special?”

Her happy expression communicates yes, and she adds, falteringly, “I’ll b-be able to go h-home s-soon. Please, don’t w-worry.”

Trace takes her hand and fights the tears that want to flee his conflicted heart. “I have something important to show you.”

Katherine studies her son. “W-whatever it i-is, we’ll f-face it together.”

Trace explains about the letter. His mom watches while he fingers it nervously. “R-read it o-out to me, son.” It seems as though she knows its contents. When he reads the words, she grimaces and closes her eyes. At times, she tightens her hold on Trace’s hand, but she doesn’t cry. A single sheet of paper holds the confession for which she had prayed.

She looks at Trace but doesn’t comment on the letter itself. Instead, she says, “N-now we b-begin a new l-life. One p-person’s actions d-don’t determine ours.

Diana’s Review

Lisa and Trace’s father was an abusive murderer and an international criminal, but when he’s killed, they begin a hunt for answers about his secret life and the reasons for his death. While their mother recovers from gunshot wounds in the hospital, she feeds them clues, and together with their childhood friend Ryan, they begin unraveling the mystery, finding secret messages and puzzle pieces everywhere they look.

The trio has one ally, but otherwise, they don’t know whom to trust, including law enforcement. Their mother’s home is ransacked, their hotel room is bugged, and they’re constantly tailed. They make a good team: personable, supportive of each other, and easy to root for. They’re also smart, their efforts highly successful and conclusions rarely mistaken. At one point they’re referred to as “The Sherlocks,” which I thought was perfect since, for me, the read leaned more toward a “cozy” thriller than an all-out nail-biter. There’s plenty of tension, but modest danger and minimal violence.

This present-tense story is told from the third-person perspectives of the three main characters. The pace is speedy throughout the book with short intermissions for Lisa and Trace to reflect on their childhood and how it impacted their lives. Themes of family dysfunction, redemption, atonement, and forgiveness unfold in these moments, setting the stage for further revelations and a heartwarming conclusion. The book has a Christian slant during these scenes, but it’s not preachy. Recommended to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries, sleuthing, and thrills, and like a solid message about letting go and healing from the past.

Author Bio and Links

Gwen Plano began writing after retiring from a long career in higher education. Her first book was an award-winning memoir. A thriller series soon followed. When she’s not writing, Gwen travels with her husband to both coasts to visit their adult children and grandkids. Nothing warms her heart more than being with family.



BookBub: bit.ly/3Y26EI5 

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3XIe6Yu

Story Empire: https://storyempire.com/gwen-m-plano

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Blog: www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections


Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3RebK0W

Amazon Purchase Page: https://amzn.to/3XKiLJn

Barnes and Noble: bit.ly/3JGgdbl

162 thoughts on ““Redemption: A Father’s Fatal Decision” by Gwen Plano Book Tour

  1. judeitakali says:

    Redemption is definitely on my ‘Want to read’ list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teri Polen says:

    Congrats on another wonderful review, Gwen – you’re racking them up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You write fantastic reviews, Diana! Your review of Gwen’s book is wonderful. You got me curious about this cozy mystery and crime thriller. Congratulations to you, Gwen for this great review. I already downloaded this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan Sikes says:

    Another wonderful stop on Gwen’s tour! I loved this scene with Trace and his mother. The love they share is obvious. Many congratulations to Gwen on a great story! I enjoyed your review, Diana. I can add my recommendation to the book as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great post and review for a story I throughly enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review, Diana! Thanks for sharing Gwen’s story!

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful review, Diana! This sounds like a story I’d enjoy. Congratulations to Gwen!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ann Coleman says:

    That sound intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. acflory says:

    Grats Gwen! I love psychological thrillers whether they be contemporary, scifi or fantasy! Just downloaded Redemption and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Diana, Thanks for the review. I just recently started this story. Many congrats and well wishes to Gwen.
    Happy Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joan Hall says:

    Fantastic review, Diana for a great book. I highly recommend this one. Congrats to Gwen.


  12. dgkaye says:

    Great mini interview, and the book looks a gripping read. On my TBR! Congrats to Gwen. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Layla Todd says:

    Fabulous post! I love the cover of this book and the summary; murders and thrillers are my favorite books to cozy up with in the evening. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan Antion says:

    This is a wonderful review, Diana. I loved Redemption! Thanks for supporting Gwen.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is an excellent review of a wonderful book by one of my favorite authors. I’m almost done reading it. Congratulations, Gwen. Thank you, Diana, for hosting today.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Prior... says:

    sounds like a great book and I really like when faith is shared without being preachy (or overdone)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Avigail (Hineini…I’m here) says:

    This books starts off with a bang! Looking forward to reading it. It rather timely that I’m reading your review of Redemption, since it’s Passover, the time to retell the story of the redemption of the Israelites from oppression. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You’ve convinced me and I’ve downloaded my copy. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A fascinating post Diana and Gwen. I’ve not read Redemption, but I have to say on the basis of what you’ve both said I am getting a copy, because there’s much in what you say I agree with.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Your review is well done, Diana. I have finished Redemption and can agree with your observations. Congratulations to Gwen and thanks for hosting her today.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. petespringerauthor says:

    I recently read Redemption and found it engaging throughout. I thought the title was very apropos. It was understandable why both children and the mother held ill will toward Eric. I thought the family dynamics were especially well done. Congratulations to Gwen!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a great review Diana and the suspense is truly gripping. Congratulations Gwen and all the best to you! I love the story! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jan Sikes says:

    I enjoyed reading your review, Diana, and wholeheartedly agree that this is a really good story. It’s complex and multi-layered, and I was able to put myself into the story with the characters. A big congratulations to Gwen! Thank you for hosting, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. balroop2013 says:

    Fabulous review Diana. What I admire most about Redemption is the way Gwen has added warmth to a thriller. Relationships stand out to touch your heart. Wishing her great success.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Diana, a wonderful review, Gwen must be thrilled. Thanks for hosting her 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Toni Pike says:

    Fantastic review, Diana – congratulations to Gwen

    Liked by 1 person

  27. The blurbs and your review certainly caught my attention. I might have to reluctantly add to my TBR pile, and will certainly visit Gwen’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Congratulations to Gwen on the stellar review–which reminds me–I need to check to make sure I’ve posted mine. It’s been wonderful to see how well-received the book has been.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thank you, Diana, for featuring my new book, Redemption. Your review and spotlight are humbling to behold. I’m deeply grateful for your support. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure, Gwen. I’m always delighted to share a good book. As you can see, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and comment’s will likely continue for a few days, at least, and I hope we add a little weight to everyone’s readers. 🙂 Have a beautiful Easter weekend. ❤


  30. Excellent review, Diana! It’s good to see Gwen’s writing getting the recognition it deserves. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. henhouselady says:

    I enjoyed reading the review. That makes one more i need to add to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. noelleg44 says:

    Sounds like a real winner, Diana. Congrats to Gwen and lots of sales!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Marcia says:

    Lovely review for a lovely book written by a lovely lady! That’s a lot of love, right? Thanks for sharing, Diana, and huge congratulations on this one, Gwen!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I always get so much from your reviews, Diana. I love the idea of the “Sherlocks”, the “Christian slant but not preachy”, and the cozy thriller. That does it for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I just grabbed this book, Diana and Gwen. I meant to do it sooner, but there was no better time than now to grab the book! This sounds like a stunning read! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Steven Baird says:

    Excellent review, Diana. Congratulations and much success to Gwen!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thanks for hosting Gwen today, Diana. Redemption is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Sounds good! I am always drawn to the themes of redemption and forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. V.M.Sang says:

    Lovely review. I must read this. (Oh, dear! Another one added. My tablet is getting really heavy with all the books on it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I read Redemption. All three main characters are likable and fun to follow. Lisa and Trace’s dad was a mysterious and difficult man, and I enjoyed learning about him as the story unfolded. Great book! And you’re right: it’s Christian without being preachy.

    Liked by 3 people

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