The Tolling of Mercedes Bell: A Novel

4.07 avg rating
( 58 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781631520860: The Tolling of Mercedes Bell: A Novel

"Full of surprises with impressive twists...”
Suspense Magazine

"The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is an unforgettable page-turner―a must read by all!”
San Francisco Book Review


Recently widowed and adapting to the challenges of single motherhood, Mercedes Bell is a paralegal at Crenshaw, Slayne & McDonough when she meets Jack Soutane, a dashing San Francisco lawyer who has recently begun leasing office space from the firm. It’s the 1980s. The crack epidemic, homelessness, and AIDS explode on the scene, Jack’s law practice booms―and the Crenshaw firm eagerly shares his bounty. Meanwhile, despite all the warning signs, Mercedes falls under Jack’s spell.

When calamity strikes and Jack succumbs to his own dark surprise, Mercedes finds herself in a race to survive and to protect her daughter. In order to do so, she must make sense of wildly inconsistent information―and face the truths that emerge. Compelling and full of suspense, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is a story about honesty in the face of deception, courage in the pursuit of happiness, and the unexpected places that quest can lead.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Dwight worked as a litigation paralegal, trainer, and writer for 34 years in the San Francisco area while rearing her children as a single mother. During that time she wrote and published numerous articles, a sixty-segment fiction serial, short stories, and three nonfiction books, and presented seminars, speeches, and training programs in the legal community. She now concentrates on writing fiction and lives with her family in Northern California.

Review:

2017 International Book Awards Finalist in Literary Fiction
2017 International Book Awards Finalist in Best New Fiction
2017 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Winner in Suspense
2016-2017 Reader Views Literary Awards 2nd Place Winner in Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
2016-2017 Reader Views Literary Awards 2nd Place Winner in General Fiction
2016 Beverly Hills International Book Awards Winner of the Genius Media President’s Choice Award
2016 Beverly Hills International Book Awards: Suspense Category, Winner
2016 Beverly Hills International Book Awards: Legal Thriller Category, Finalist
2016 Beverly Hills International Book Awards: Women's Fiction Category, Finalist
2016 USA Best Book Awards: Literary Fiction Category, Finalist
2016 Indie Next Generation Awards Finalist in Thriller
2016 Indie Next Generation Awards Finalist in Suspense

“Spanning the decade of the 1980s, this story of a relationship’s rise and later complications is interwoven with the big news events of that time, including the emergence of yuppies and the AIDS epidemic. Dwight takes her time setting up the romance, focusing on deeply developing Mercedes as an introspective character with a bent toward the philosophical....A lucid...tale of a troubled marriage from a promising author.”
Kirkus Reviews
"This dramatic and intoxicating novel about how far a mother will go to protect her child will completely seize heartbeats until the last page is read.”
Working Mother magazine
"Jennifer Dwight’s first novel, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell, will captivate readers from the first page and hold them until the very last. Her ability to capture and portray vivid characters and deliver intense action will result in readers not being able to put the book down."
―Reader Views Book Awards
"If you’re a How to Get Away with Murder fan, you’re going to want some serious thrillers to get your heart racing this summer.”
Bustle, "11 Books to Hold You Over While You Wait for the Return of ShondaLand’s TGIT"
"Debut novelist and real-life paralegal Jennifer Dwight tells an intricate and haunting tale that is sure to give you Sleeping with the Enemy vibes. In 1980s San Francisco, widowed paralegal Mercedes Bell finds herself charmed by the ever dashing lawyer, Jack Soutane. Taken by his spell, Mercedes realizes not everything is as it seems and soon finds herself fighting to protect her daughter and herself from the truth beneath Jack’s lies.”
―Buzzfeed
"Author Jennifer Dwight takes us on a journey exploring honesty, lies, courage and the power of secrets when they cause complete and utter destruction of someone’s life. Full of surprises with impressive twists, having an insider’s knowledge of the world of law makes it even better. Much like the 80’s, this is a plot showing the world’s subtle indifferences to some of the largest problems, at the time, that the globe had ever seen."
Suspense magazine
"Jennifer Dwight crafts a hauntingly realistic story in her debut novel.... [She] does an excellent job of slowly mixing deception and ambiguity within her well-developed characters through the use of dialogue....Although Dwight's third person narrative incorporates a balanced combination of history and various themes within romantic environs, it is truly first and foremost a story of survival and courage. Dwight keeps her plot constantly flowing by building tension within evasive and unanticipated scenes....The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is an unforgettable page-turner―a must read by all!"
San Francisco Book Review
“This scandalous and adrenaline-inducing book from a SF based author is impossible to resist.”
Sunset Magazine
“This suspenseful novel is about truth and courage and the quest for happiness with all the surprising places that quest might lead.”
Coastal Living
“This tale that spans 10 years is crafted to fit the locale, the San Francisco Bay Area, the era, the 1980s to the 90s, and the human foibles of a rich array of characters carefully structured and revealed by author Jennifer Dwight . . . The biggest shift from the minor key of the musical score, yes this is movie material, comes when Mercedes has realized her goal of steady employment at a law firm; however, what follows is eye opening to say the least!"
Portland Book Review, 4.5 star review
“If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller to get your heart pumping this summer, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell will give you complete life.”
―Brit + Co
“Romance takes a compellingly dark turn.”
―The Reading Room
"The Tolling of Mercedes Bell, set in San Francisco amid the excess of the eighties, is the suspenseful story of a single mother caught up in a love-turned-lethal. Jennifer Dwight’s skillfully crafted characters and descriptions linger long after the last page, but the novel’s revelation is that our greatest flaw may not be how we deceive others, but how we deceive ourselves―and risk paying the ultimate price."
―Kristen Harnisch, award-winning author of The Vintner’s Daughter and The California Wife
“In the style and spirit of P.D. James, author Jennifer Dwight captures the tough terrain of a psychological thriller... This award-winning novel lays the groundwork for its shocking, blood-curdling climax with a careful, meticulously crafted build-up of subtle clues.... This is a wonderful page-turner, with a number of unpredictable subplots. Highly recommended.”
―Diana Y. Paul, Joseph’s Reviews Blog
"Dwight tells a compelling tale that probably was true for many during the 1980s . . . Jack's solution to his problem is cold-hearted and abhorrent and Dwight expertly portrays his deceit . . . This is a book that will be talked about and is one that will haunt you. Read it and recommend it to your friends, you will have a lot to discuss when done.”
―Kathleen Nester, Penny For My Thoughts
"In her stunning novel, Jennifer Dwight serves a Bay Area banquet of fashion, food, fraud, and fear deliciously combined and relentlessly plated, page-on-page, with cultured sensitivity and appreciation for the tenuousness of truth and of life. Throughout, her heroine Mercedes Bell cleaves to love and truth, to probity and law as antidotes to the violence, shock, and deception of married life. This work never falters. Its trajectory, entirely direct, trills with both charm and surprise. The reader, as I did, will applaud from page one to the very last chapter the tolling of Mercedes's bell."
―Tim Jollymore, author of Observation Hill and the award-winning Listener in the Snow
The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is Jennifer Dwight’s masterful suspense novel about gripping intrigues spawned in a fictional California law firm in the 1980s. The true-to-life details of this finely wrought tale arise from Dwight’s inside knowledge of law firms, and draw the reader into paralegal Mercedes Bell’s struggle for survival at the hands of a gifted con-artist and attorney, Jack Soutane. This compelling work is a must-read for anyone who has worked in the law or who wants an unforgettable taste of the San Francisco Bay Area during a troubled time. The characters and message of the book will remain long after the last page is read.”
―Chere Estrin, author of Paralegal Career Guide, The Successful Paralegal Job Search Guide, Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Your Paralegal Program, and Hot Jobs & Amazing Careers: Smart Moves for Paralegals; President and Co-founder of The Organization of Legal Professionals
“Jennifer Dwight delivers a powerful novel about love, courage and the power of secrets to wreak havoc on people’s lives. The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is full of surprises, with dramatic twists and turns, seasoned with a bit of magic realism and an insider’s knowledge of the legal world. It is a snapshot of the 80s, filled with a nuanced picture of a complicated decade. An exploration of childhood trauma, redemption and forgiveness, this well-crafted book is both entertaining and suspenseful.”
―Teresa Dovalpage, Ph. D., Professor of English and Spanish, University of New Mexico, and author of eight novels, including A Girl Like Che Guevara and Haunted Ladies of Havana
“...Mercedes Bell, a recently widowed mother... is down to her last out when fortune steps in... But, as is often the case, if things seem too good to be true, they often are. ...The reader eagerly sticks with Dwight, knowing something is going to go wrong and trying to find out just what that something will be....Bell is set in the San Francisco Bay Area where Dwight spent a great deal of her life. It is her fourth book but first novel. Here’s hoping she can keep it up. Highly recommended.”
―Dave Moyer, for Joseph’s Reviews, author of Life and Life Only: A Novel
“The flow of the story, from page to page, chapter to chapter, is superb . . . The title, itself, is a clever play on words . . . The book will satisfy anyone who enjoys mystery and intrigue, with light romance thrown in for color . . . Flashbacks are used well . . . I would jump tall buildings in a single bound to find another book by this author! . . . It will be an understatement to say I like the book. This one has ‘winner’ all over it!”
―29th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Judge, 2017

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Book Description She Writes Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Full of surprises with impressive twists. --Suspense Magazine The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is an unforgettable page-turner--a must read by all! --San Francisco Book Review Recently widowed and adapting to the challenges of single motherhood, Mercedes Bell is a paralegal at Crenshaw, Slayne McDonough when she meets Jack Soutane, a dashing San Francisco lawyer who has recently begun leasing office space from the firm. It s the 1980s. The crack epidemic, homelessness, and AIDS explode on the scene, Jack s law practice booms--and the Crenshaw firm eagerly shares his bounty. Meanwhile, despite all the warning signs, Mercedes falls under Jack s spell. When calamity strikes and Jack succumbs to his own dark surprise, Mercedes finds herself in a race to survive and to protect her daughter. In order to do so, she must make sense of wildly inconsistent information--and face the truths that emerge. Compelling and full of suspense, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is a story about honesty in the face of deception, courage in the pursuit of happiness, and the unexpected places that quest can lead. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781631520860

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Book Description She Writes Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Full of surprises with impressive twists. --Suspense Magazine The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is an unforgettable page-turner--a must read by all! --San Francisco Book Review Recently widowed and adapting to the challenges of single motherhood, Mercedes Bell is a paralegal at Crenshaw, Slayne McDonough when she meets Jack Soutane, a dashing San Francisco lawyer who has recently begun leasing office space from the firm. It s the 1980s. The crack epidemic, homelessness, and AIDS explode on the scene, Jack s law practice booms--and the Crenshaw firm eagerly shares his bounty. Meanwhile, despite all the warning signs, Mercedes falls under Jack s spell. When calamity strikes and Jack succumbs to his own dark surprise, Mercedes finds herself in a race to survive and to protect her daughter. In order to do so, she must make sense of wildly inconsistent information--and face the truths that emerge. Compelling and full of suspense, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell is a story about honesty in the face of deception, courage in the pursuit of happiness, and the unexpected places that quest can lead. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781631520860

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