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Birdsongs

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Birdsongs is a fast-paced mystery centered on former FBI agent, Benny James. Fired from the FBI for inadvertently sleeping with the perp in a murder case, he tries to disappear to a houseboat and retirement. Not having what it takes to relax, Benny starts a service offering discreet investigations. That is until a body is found crucified near his marina. The local police Birdsongs is a fast-paced mystery centered on former FBI agent, Benny James. Fired from the FBI for inadvertently sleeping with the perp in a murder case, he tries to disappear to a houseboat and retirement. Not having what it takes to relax, Benny starts a service offering discreet investigations. That is until a body is found crucified near his marina. The local police department requests Benny’s help and he knows if he can catch the killer, redemption is his. The Chief gives Benny and the department ten days to solve the crimes before he promises to request the help of the FBI. As the case grows, grabbing national attention, and the murders continue, the media soon fills the normally quiet town. Media goddess, Rachael Martin arrives and adds spice to an already flavorful mix. A few newcomers straggle in as well. An ex-convict fresh out of prison from a thirty year murder rap slinks in unnoticed with revenge on his mind. Days later, a Greyhound bus delivers a strange young man raised by deaf-mute parents from deep within the Ozark Mountains. An old newspaper clipping and a dark secret pulls him to town. Whatever is going on has something strange to do with birds. At each murder site, dead birds are displayed in disturbing ways—the killer arranging them as an artist might. All the strange occurrences and unexplained visitors to this quiet town press Benny James to his max as he vehemently struggles to solve the most important case of his life.


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Birdsongs is a fast-paced mystery centered on former FBI agent, Benny James. Fired from the FBI for inadvertently sleeping with the perp in a murder case, he tries to disappear to a houseboat and retirement. Not having what it takes to relax, Benny starts a service offering discreet investigations. That is until a body is found crucified near his marina. The local police Birdsongs is a fast-paced mystery centered on former FBI agent, Benny James. Fired from the FBI for inadvertently sleeping with the perp in a murder case, he tries to disappear to a houseboat and retirement. Not having what it takes to relax, Benny starts a service offering discreet investigations. That is until a body is found crucified near his marina. The local police department requests Benny’s help and he knows if he can catch the killer, redemption is his. The Chief gives Benny and the department ten days to solve the crimes before he promises to request the help of the FBI. As the case grows, grabbing national attention, and the murders continue, the media soon fills the normally quiet town. Media goddess, Rachael Martin arrives and adds spice to an already flavorful mix. A few newcomers straggle in as well. An ex-convict fresh out of prison from a thirty year murder rap slinks in unnoticed with revenge on his mind. Days later, a Greyhound bus delivers a strange young man raised by deaf-mute parents from deep within the Ozark Mountains. An old newspaper clipping and a dark secret pulls him to town. Whatever is going on has something strange to do with birds. At each murder site, dead birds are displayed in disturbing ways—the killer arranging them as an artist might. All the strange occurrences and unexplained visitors to this quiet town press Benny James to his max as he vehemently struggles to solve the most important case of his life.

30 review for Birdsongs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Yes: unfortunately, I'm giving this two stars. Why? For the very simple reason that, for me, it felt like a first or second draft. This story has potential. I think it could have been really good. The author kept introducing subplots and dropping information well past the point where the wrap-up should have been occurring. With some beta reading and editing, this could have easily been resolved (i.e., quite a bit could have been outright cut or worked into earlier chapters, making the story cohes Yes: unfortunately, I'm giving this two stars. Why? For the very simple reason that, for me, it felt like a first or second draft. This story has potential. I think it could have been really good. The author kept introducing subplots and dropping information well past the point where the wrap-up should have been occurring. With some beta reading and editing, this could have easily been resolved (i.e., quite a bit could have been outright cut or worked into earlier chapters, making the story cohesively flow). This is potentially a SPOILER, but I'm not really giving any specifics and I wouldn't consider it one: One o my pet peeves are superfluous romances or relationships that seem to come out of nowhere. I know that very many enjoy having their stories peppered with relationship angst. I could be a pain and say, "If I wanted a romance I would have bought a romance novel." But when written into the story well, I really don't mind, and just barely pay attention to it (unless it has direct bearing on the storyline). This one seemed out of the blue and forced onto two characters that I really didn't read as having any chemistry. It completely didn't help that afterward the male lead got to completely lay out the rules of the relationship, despite the female partner's hesitation and his disregard of how she felt about such things. The one encounter went something like this: heeeey - let's go back to my place for dinner; what?! that's a bed?! we better use it!; then, sorry ma'am, it's my way or the highway, regardless of how you feel or what your personality or gut is telling you, as far as any planning or future in this relationship - now hand me my pants. (No, these words were used and/or written, but this is what I took away from it, on top of being absolutely pissed off at what I had just read. I was VERY close to putting the book down.) To sum it up: I liked the premise of the story - I think it could have been really great. I had problems with the flow and unfolding of the story because it needed some editing or beta reading. I think his characterizations weren't terrible, just on the naive side. If you're looking for a quick read about a murder mystery (I can't say about a serial killer - it just wasn't what it was) and what bothered me doesn't tend to bother you - I say go for it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenifer

    Great mystery with many twists and turns. Loved the characters. Could not put this book down until knowing the ending.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Everyone has an opinion. I didn't like it. I found it contrived, somewhat convoluted, especially the romance side of the story. I found it unbelievable and forced. The sexual activity between Benny and Rachael was extremely premature. There was no emotional buildup whatsoever. I also struggled with the characters, especially the main character, Benny. Too perfect, too tough, too smart, just too everything. I read a lot and am typically able to suspend disbelief quite easily. Not this time. I have Everyone has an opinion. I didn't like it. I found it contrived, somewhat convoluted, especially the romance side of the story. I found it unbelievable and forced. The sexual activity between Benny and Rachael was extremely premature. There was no emotional buildup whatsoever. I also struggled with the characters, especially the main character, Benny. Too perfect, too tough, too smart, just too everything. I read a lot and am typically able to suspend disbelief quite easily. Not this time. I have the second book in this series, "Pushed" and while I didn't care for this particular book, I am going to read the second. I won't completely write off this author or this series, because I do believe Mr. Deas has potential, and quite obviously, many other readers liked Birdsongs. As always, I will include the following heads up for readers who might find certain situations offensive - this work did have coarse language, sexual situations, and violence. If these things bother you, you might want to skip this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Uma

    A brilliant, intrepid and exhilarating thriller! Benny James is an exceptional former cop and FBI agent who is now a consultant to the local police force because of his excellent detecting skills and the ability to catch the perpetrators. When a gruesome murder is discovered, Benny is roped in to investigate the case by Officer Vernon Kearns much to the dislike of the Sheriff and police chief who has a history with Benny. The twists and turns the book takes are thoroughly enjoyable as a media dar A brilliant, intrepid and exhilarating thriller! Benny James is an exceptional former cop and FBI agent who is now a consultant to the local police force because of his excellent detecting skills and the ability to catch the perpetrators. When a gruesome murder is discovered, Benny is roped in to investigate the case by Officer Vernon Kearns much to the dislike of the Sheriff and police chief who has a history with Benny. The twists and turns the book takes are thoroughly enjoyable as a media darling Rachael, a strange young man named Red who was kidnapped and raised by a deaf-mute couple, a newcomer to the town called RC, and to a small extent Benny's ex are thrown into the mix. The bond and relationship that develops between Red and Benny is both endearing and heartwarming. When Benny takes upon himself to get in touch with the rich biological family of Red to help Red the reader is all the way behind Benny. They are not disappointed when Red contributes in a big way to the resolution of this series of murders. This book was a delightful introduction to the Benny James thriller and to the author. The narrative is easy flowing and the characters are highly likeable. Though I am highly disappointed that this series has only three books ( I hope you change your mind, Mr. Deas) , I acquired the rest and will be reading them soon!! Reading this book was a marvelous and outstanding book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tom Park

    There was not much to really like about this book. The author piled on the characters and jumped all over the place. He even revealed the killer before the detective could figure it out for all of us. Then he came up with a convoluted plot ending to make it all work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    I liked the book. Interesting plot. Plenty of faulty characters. The ending seemed a little rushed to me and somewhat "corny."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Kleimeyer

    Not sure if this is the author's first book, but it seems like it might be. I enjoyed the plot, or rather the idea of the plot. The execution was very rough, with too many grammatical errors and oddly constructed sentences to make it even a 4-star effort. And I found the finale to be rushed and disappointing. I hope the author eventually hires a professional editor instead of trying to do it all himself. But the imaginative story line makes me think that this author has several good books ahead.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Excellent read There were several people who were the “good guys” several who were possibly not good guys. The storyline gave enough information without making it too easy. Excellent read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thom Swennes

    Tilley, Georgia is a quiet hamlet where all the inhabitants know everyone and everything that goes on, not only in Tilley but the all of Gladdis County; not that much ever happens. That is until a murder victim, Ryan Mableton is found crucified in a house under construction. The location isn’t really surprising as Ryan worked as a construction worker. Shortly after the discovery, another body, that of Danny Hill is found. He is also posed, although not in the same position. With this second disc Tilley, Georgia is a quiet hamlet where all the inhabitants know everyone and everything that goes on, not only in Tilley but the all of Gladdis County; not that much ever happens. That is until a murder victim, Ryan Mableton is found crucified in a house under construction. The location isn’t really surprising as Ryan worked as a construction worker. Shortly after the discovery, another body, that of Danny Hill is found. He is also posed, although not in the same position. With this second discovery, it looks like a serial killer was working in Tilley. One homicide is a rarity, two have never previously happened. Needless to say, Tilley was soon in utter consternation and a paranoiac frenzy. Forty-eight-year-old Benny James is an ex-FBI agent and currently the only employee of James Investigations. Being the only one in Tilley or Gladdis County with enough experience in this situation, he is soon attached to the case. Originally I thought this story was going to be a crime story like were very popular in the 40’s and 50’s as it is packed full with colorful metaphors and similes. This impression is changed when cell phones and computers are introduced, making it sixty or seventy years later. The reader is introduced to a cacophony of colorful characters that are bound to either bring a smile to their lips or a chill down their spine. The short chapters move the stories (as it is, in fact, many stories gyrating around the murders) read easily and keep the reader interested. It is like Mayberry revisited with serious killers on the loose.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    The first time I read this ebook I thought it was okay but needed some work. Then I got a notice from Amazon that there was an updated copy that I could download I thought perhaps the author had put things in a better order or found someone to help him smooth out the ruff spots so I got the new copy and read it again. There was no improvement to the storyline. The only change was that some of the details were taken out of the first sex scene making it read less like a fan fiction and more like a The first time I read this ebook I thought it was okay but needed some work. Then I got a notice from Amazon that there was an updated copy that I could download I thought perhaps the author had put things in a better order or found someone to help him smooth out the ruff spots so I got the new copy and read it again. There was no improvement to the storyline. The only change was that some of the details were taken out of the first sex scene making it read less like a fan fiction and more like a Harlequin.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee

    I bought a copy of this book from the author's sweet mom when it was first published and completely forgot about it! I saw it reviewed on Goodreads and dug out my copy. I thought knowing the author's family would make me less critical and I was concerned about actually posting a review BUT I really liked the book! :-) It read like a crime drama. The characters were interesting and the the mystery took me a little longer to solve than most episodes of Law and Order ;-) I am looking forward to see I bought a copy of this book from the author's sweet mom when it was first published and completely forgot about it! I saw it reviewed on Goodreads and dug out my copy. I thought knowing the author's family would make me less critical and I was concerned about actually posting a review BUT I really liked the book! :-) It read like a crime drama. The characters were interesting and the the mystery took me a little longer to solve than most episodes of Law and Order ;-) I am looking forward to seeing what Jason writes next!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Hooked in read I was into this story from the first chapter. Very well written . Not messed up with a lot of filler . Like the charters. Liked the mix of mini story's into the main story. Think you would enjoy giving it a try. It's one that you want to stay with until finish. Enjoy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rose Bell

    This one kept me guessing nearly to the end. I love suspense and mysteries and it helps to have a really smart detective. I was truly appreciative of the positive message about rather marginal types of characters. The nearly non-verbal young man had great skills and discernment. The ex-con was full of revengeful feelings, but also wished he could return to a better life. Good story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Interesting plot and characters but it felt like two different people wrote the book; or, only the second half was edited. I was interested enough that I did not want to put it down, that’s saying a lot for me. But, the editing was so bad I spent most of my time thinking about how I was going to slam the book in my review instead of the story. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that it felt more like a first or second draft than a finished story. I did enjoy all of the sub plots though and Interesting plot and characters but it felt like two different people wrote the book; or, only the second half was edited. I was interested enough that I did not want to put it down, that’s saying a lot for me. But, the editing was so bad I spent most of my time thinking about how I was going to slam the book in my review instead of the story. I agree with another reviewer who wrote that it felt more like a first or second draft than a finished story. I did enjoy all of the sub plots though and how they tied together. Made me want to revisit this podunk town and it’s cast of characters in the subsequent books. I thought the writing style suffered from multiple personality syndrome. Sometimes the narration reminded me of a sexist gumshoe and it was corny beyond belief. The writing was immature, meaning: someone should have spent a little time with him talking about style, as in using just one. The character development, initially, was terrible and everyone had a supersized ego and frequently talked about it but things normalized during the last half of the book I guess when the author realized he didn’t need to tell us anymore how the protagonist was the most amazing FBI agent that ever walked the earth without even providing a credible basis for that conclusion. My conclusion: this author has great ideas and I think that is the hardest part about writing. Everything else I was critical about can be fixed and improvements will come with experience. If this is the author’s first novel I think he did a bang up job but should find better beta readers and hire a good editor. He’s got talent for story telling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Kay Vaughan

    Cute This book had its moments that had me turning the page yet parts were immaturely written. It was like 2 different people wrote it. The characters were interesting yet the reporter could have been left out and the cheesy love affair. I found a female character who thought she could get men to do what she wanted by using her Mississippi accent was, well, dumb. The lead up to the end was exciting but the end was not believable and uneventful. The story, though, was cute at best and I did enjoy Cute This book had its moments that had me turning the page yet parts were immaturely written. It was like 2 different people wrote it. The characters were interesting yet the reporter could have been left out and the cheesy love affair. I found a female character who thought she could get men to do what she wanted by using her Mississippi accent was, well, dumb. The lead up to the end was exciting but the end was not believable and uneventful. The story, though, was cute at best and I did enjoy reading it despite the immaturity of the writing. I think this would be a book better suited to teens but I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it. I've been reading some really bad books lately that I can't even finish so this was actually one of the better books I've read recently.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat Jones

    It was ok, but there were a few errors a good editor could have fixed that drove me nuts like "Benny was commandeering the canoe back to the marina" where he was commandeering it to the little island from when he first stole it. Commandeering, driving, and returning are not all the same word! Also, it felt like one of the really old Disney movies in that Benny and Rachel are admittedly "in love" within one very short meeting. We pretty much know who's who from the word go, but that twist towards It was ok, but there were a few errors a good editor could have fixed that drove me nuts like "Benny was commandeering the canoe back to the marina" where he was commandeering it to the little island from when he first stole it. Commandeering, driving, and returning are not all the same word! Also, it felt like one of the really old Disney movies in that Benny and Rachel are admittedly "in love" within one very short meeting. We pretty much know who's who from the word go, but that twist towards the end was still good and somewhat surprising. Basically, we know who the killer is, but the why and how he's gonna get caught are intriguing. Plus, some of the banter was amusing, like the inventive swaps one born again guy used in place of cussing. Overall, it was an ok book, but a few things just bugged me way too much to give it more than 3 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Martha Brown

    Quite a read! Jason Deas has kept the drama, comedy, care, concern and respect for each character at a great level. His morbid interest in exotic and deplorable death scenes are interesting because you don’t find the intense descriptive forces at work. The death scenes are described in detail but not drug out to a sickening level. Red is a great character and am very interested to see, in future works, just how his character plays out. Does he give in and find his real parents or does he just wan Quite a read! Jason Deas has kept the drama, comedy, care, concern and respect for each character at a great level. His morbid interest in exotic and deplorable death scenes are interesting because you don’t find the intense descriptive forces at work. The death scenes are described in detail but not drug out to a sickening level. Red is a great character and am very interested to see, in future works, just how his character plays out. Does he give in and find his real parents or does he just want to carry on as is? And Rachel? Does she stayed involved as a central figure? I like to think so. You won’t find anything boring or lacking in this novel so I suggest you read it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lia Jones

    A who done it, with heart Even the criminals in this story have a heart. It’s a small town with a big problem. A serial killer with an affinity for birds is on the lose, dead birds, that is. Every character has a flaw which makes them all the more real. Luckily, Benny James, our hero, has chosen this small town to settle down in as he recovers from an humiliating dismissal from the FBI. Under pressure from an incompetent and competitive local sherif, Birdsong keeps us guessing until the very end.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Traci Arnds

    I thought it was a good read, interesting story line, but It seemed raw, like a draft of something that could have been better, more refined. It was choppy at times but then at other times it felt like it was written in a rush and not edited. That is why I give it 3 stars. It had the potential to be a 4 or higher. Maybe the rest of the series is more put together, not sure if it’s high on my to read list though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    This is the first in a mystery series about former FBI agent Benny James. The book is amateurish, the story outlandish, unbelievable and clumsily written. “Both Benny and Rachael held back the laughter wanting to explode from within each of their bellies.” “ Lola strutted in and accidentally slammed the door behind her with a confidence that stemmed from an undisclosed well of aspirations hiding behind her shirt.” Skip this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Procter

    Unexpectedly good This book surprised me. It started off being one thing, took a turn into something else, then surprised me all over again. Its an easy read, with an interesting set of plot lines that merge together towards the end. I'm expecting at least one to reappear in the next book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Good book! Get comfortable because once this book gets rolling you won't want to put it down! I didn't want to stop but had to. Benny's a likeable guy and made a mistake that cost him his job but it didn't make him lose his sense of right and wrong. Good book. Want to read another!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    George E

    Bird songs Very good book! Author did a great job keeping me interested in the story as he twisted the key players in this murder mystery. The Chapters are short so your mind goes from one scene to the next quickly. The characters are easy to follow but you don’t figure out who the murderer is until the end of the book. Great flow!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robin Clemons

    Unbelievable, shocking from the outset Benny James, former FBI agent, is beyond belief as a private investigator hired as a consultant for an extremely small Georgia police department. The twists and turns in this story keep you in suspense from the beginning chapter to the last sentence in the final chapter. A series well worth the cost of the additional books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I really enjoyed the complexity of this book and how it all came together at the end. The characters are well developed and believable, the story line plausible and the main character's demeanor was one of investigator, father figure, protector, and overall tough but fair good guy. Great book. Reading #2 now.

  26. 4 out of 5

    N.W. Moors

    Benny James is an ex-FBI agent now living in Georgia and working as a PI. He helps the local police, and when there's a murder, they call Benny in to assist. The story is pretty good with a nice assortment of characters, most of whom - I assume - will appear in later books. The writing style is a bit choppy and takes some getting used to. But all in all, this was a pretty good mystery.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Burge

    Most previous comments seem to take this book too seriously. Yes, it seemed amateurish and perhaps needing some editing - but I didn't expect very much after the first couple of chapters. It was an easy read for me - lulled me to sleep for a couple of nights - and I fell in love with the character Red. If you don't delve too deep or expect top shelf - then give it a try.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Don Paske

    I rounded up to four stars; if I could I would give it 3 1/2 stars. This was an entertaining read. Completely unbelievable, but I liked the way the author wove the two stories together. The character development was good; the dialogue so-so.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin Plouzek

    Didn't see that coming I thought it was a well written detective mystery with a few turns i didn't see coming. The characters were well developed and it was easy to picture them in my head. Looking forward to reading more Benny James novels.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol Butler

    Good read A good read and a bit different from the usual police procedures and for me this was an unknown author and will certainly read another I hope he is just as good if not better for future reads, he will have my vote.

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