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Deadly Secrets from Pond Island Makes
2023 Indie Editor's Pick!

Kirkus Reviews Magazine (click here)
Kirkus Reviews Magazine

Over the course of the novel, Raymond’s confident prose ably captures the oppressiveness of small-town life, as when Vanessa gets an unwholesome vibe from a local diner as she searches for clues: “To her, no number of celebratory pictures, memorabilia, or burning sage bundles could dispel the negative energy oozing from this place.”


An engaging slow-burn investigation of a suburban crime.

                                                                                                      - Kirkus Reviews

ART ON THE AIR spills Deadly Secrets from Pond Island
Goodreads debut author of mystery and small town crime

Deadly Secrets from Pond Island doesn’t disappoint. An intricate web of plot lines bringing to life the author’s characters in an extraordinary way. Don’t think as you read you have the story figured out. Clever plot twists!

Janet Davies, ABC7 News Chicago

From the moment you start, Olivia's expert writing skills literally put you in the picture. She brings you in to observe each scene in engaging language. I love the way she alters spellings to enhance the words spoken by some of the characters.

Personally, I'm not a fiction reader normally but this inaugural book in the Vanessa Hutchins series has given me an insatiable appetite for more of this literary feast. The wee taster at the end, whet that even more!

This is a highly recommended read.

Dr. Stuart Buchan, U. K. Amazon Verified Purchase, 5 stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 2023 

Author Olivia Raymond has penned a truly compelling page-turner that deftly explores themes of discovery, justice, and the consequences of unveiling hidden truths. The characters are well-crafted and relatable, and the small-town setting adds an intimacy to the story that amps up the tension by making everything else feel very closed in. One of the features I especially liked was the personality in the narrative, which blends traditional mystery tropes with a fresh touch of wit and a great undercurrent of genuine emotion to keep things realistic and resonant. Overall, reading Deadly Secrets from Pond Island was an engaging experience rocketing through a plot masterfully woven with suspenseful twists and turns, and I’d highly recommend it to other mystery and thriller fans to enjoy.

Author K.C. Finn, 5 Stars

Packed with action and intense drama, Deadly Secrets from Pond Island was everything I expected it to be and more. Author Olivia Raymond weaved magic into the story with her words. Everything felt fluid and gentle. The details and the descriptions blew me away. I felt like I was part of the story and experiencing everything firsthand along with Vanessa. Speaking of Vanessa, she was a firecracker and quite a handful. I loved how she was at the front and leading in every situation. The suspense surrounding the town and the secrets it held were fascinating. There were plenty of characters, and each of them had something to share with readers. I hope Olivia Raymond has more planned for Vanessa because I want more!

Author Rabia Tanveer, 5 Stars 

Olivia Raymond's prose adeptly captures the essence of Vanessa's journey as she navigates from the bustling city to the tranquil yet enigmatic Pond Island. Vanessa's inner conflict and bold resolve are skillfully portrayed, allowing readers to empathize with her as she grapples with leaving behind a promising legal career for the allure of a more meaningful life. The meticulous detailing of Vanessa's new home evokes a powerful sensory experience, from the shadows dancing on the weathered siding to the promise of a sunlit interior. This is not merely a suspenseful tale; it delves into themes of societal façades, the weight of past secrets, and the ethical dilemmas that arise when confronting uncomfortable truths. The intricate web of relationships amongst the townsfolk adds depth to the story, with Vanessa's choices impacting not only her fate but also the interconnected lives of those around her. Deadly Secrets from Pond Island captivates readers with its compelling characters, evocative prose, and meticulously woven tapestry of secrets that will keep them eagerly turning pages until the final revelation.

Avid reader Demetria Head, 5 Stars

Olivia Raymond’s debut mystery story, Deadly Secrets from Pond Island, is a thrilling tale of greed, injustice, and dark secrets that have the potential to turn deadly. This is a tightly written story with some amazing characters, well-developed slowly throughout. By the end, you’ll know them inside out, ready for what I hope will be the next story. The dialog is concise and witty, and the plot is thick with suspense and plenty of twists and turns that lead you deeper into the darkness before the light at the end of the tunnel brightens. This is a compelling story; once you start reading it, you’ll be transported into Vanessa’s life, and you won’t put the book down until you finish. Be prepared for an all-nighter because this is one book you’ll want to read in one go. A wonderful story for a debut; hopefully, there will be more from Olivia Raymond, clearly a very talented writer.

Avid reader Anne-Marie Reynolds, 5 Stars

Deadly Secrets from Pond Island was intriguing and exciting. Olivia Raymond took me on a ride with new beginnings, finding the truth, danger, and friendship. The story was action-packed and a page-turner. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat, and I could not put it down. It was easy to become part of the small town and its community. The characters were well-developed, and my favorite was Vanessa. She quickly learned that being the new girl from the city made her the main topic of discussion, and everybody knew everything about her. The story was brilliantly written, and I was hooked from the beginning. I could never predict what would happen, and the ending was a big surprise.
Avid reader Alma Boucher, 5 Stars

The premise of Deadly Secrets from Pond Island is exceptional and made for an enthralling read! Olivia Raymond is an incredible writer who captivated me from the first page thanks to the book’s sharp literature and shocking moments! The reader, thanks to the exceptional author Raymond, will be thrust into the action early on. The fast-paced narrative combined with the extraordinary story had me in a frenzy and turning the pages with haste, and when a reader does this, then they know that the book is good and worthy of a recommendation! Olivia Raymond is not only a phenomenal writer for her flawless ability to capture her reader’s attention, but she is also a great writer for her descriptive powers and characterization of characters which will hook her readers!

Deadly Secrets from Pond Island is a sensational, captivating as well as chilling story that will provoke your thoughts as well as entertain you and so I have no choice but to award this stellar read five stars. If you are a reader who loves mystery tales of a thought-provoking nature, then the incredible Deadly Secrets from Pond Island is for you!

Aimee Ann - Book Lover

5.0 out of 5 stars - Great read!

Great read, well written, grabs you from the start and won't let you put it down until you discover the secret!

Amazon Reader Review

5.0 out of 5 stars - Mind-Blowing!

One positive aspect of this book was how well written it was. The characters were properly developed, and even though there were a bit more characters, the book was easy to follow. It was also packed with enough excitement, leaving the reader constantly wanting more. I also loved that while there was chemistry between Vanessa and the agent, it didn't overshadow the main story of the book.

C. Powell, Amazon Reader Review

5.0 out of 5 stars - Enjoyable Read

Great characters, great plot, and great story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am anxious to read the next in the series.

Rie Sadler, Amazon Reader Review

5.0 out of 5 stars - Fast Pace and Enjoyable

I'm a fan of the mystery murder genre, and this book quickly drew me in, making it impossible to set aside. I was genuinely impressed with the character development, as the author skillfully allowed us to intimately understand each character without lengthy and boring descriptions. The character definition was immediate, painting vivid mental images as though I were watching an intense movie.

The writing was top-notch; the language flowed smoothly. The main character, Vanessa, is refreshingly relatable. She's not an unrealistic, super-powered hero or extensively knowledgeable; instead, she's someone you could easily know in your everyday life – a neighbor, friend, or older sister. Her journey to uncover the truth about a crime committed over 30 years ago, resulting in the wrongful imprisonment of an innocent person, felt realistic and engaging. I was captivated, turning page after page to uncover the outcome.

Vanessa's unique way of naming things added a delightful touch of humor to the story, leaving me chuckling and adopting her quirks. Now every time I see a mess in my house, I always say to myself, "look at Blob Bob" :-)

Additionally, the small town itself becomes a major character, providing insight into how the community functioned and impacted the case. The story built up to a riveting climax and a satisfying conclusion.

I can confidently say that you'll enjoy this book as much as I did. I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series and hoping for a movie adaptation. ENJOY!!!

Mark Ellins, Amazon Reader Review

4 out of 5 stars - Almost stopped reading

The story line turned out to be very compelling. The local, casual use of the English language at the beginning was somewhat unusual and that almost caused me to put the book down. Glad I did not.

Marianne Myrick, Goodreads review

5 out of 5 stars - Super five star stand-alone call me book.
This is one of those books where the main protagonist is depicted as having nothing but a big heart, but still gets the job done.

Thomas Fanie van der Ness, Goodreads review

5 out of 5 stars - Loved it!

With this first book, Olivia Raymond has definitely scored a touchdown (pun intended)! Engaging characters, a well-crafted story, and plenty of twists make for a book that is difficult to put down. And what is better than being in the middle of a great story and mumbling, "I did not see that coming." While I was a bit sad when I turned the last page, the wonderful consolation is that this is just the first in a series of stories with Vanessa Hutchins in the middle of things, and I cannot wait to see where the journey leads her.

Laura Jolly, Amazon review

5 out of 5 stars - Great first novel!

I was hooked from the beginning! The ending was a shock that took me by complete surprise. Fabulous debut novel. Looking forward to this author’s next book.

Kelly, Amazon Reader Review

5 out of 5 stars - Highly recommended

Deadly Secrets from Pond Island follows Vanessa Hutchins as she resigns her well paid job in the city and buys, sight unseen, a house in Pond Island. A rural, small town filled with the kind of quirky characters you'd expect to find in the backwoods.

When Vanessa finds a collection of boxes, containing police, court and newspaper documents relating to a murder from years ago, she decides to put her lawyer talents to work figuring out why the previous occupant of the house kept them and hid them under a huge pile of junk. Calling in a favour from a friend in the FBI, Vanessa teams up with a local Agent to get to the bottom of the case.

The early part of the book introduces us to Vanessa and several of the locals, gradually setting the scene for the investigation to come whilst also allowing the wannabe sleuth to start making valuable contacts in the town. We soon find out that not everything in Pond Island is what it seems and then it's a race against time to track down the evidence before Vanessa finds herself in a fight to survive.

Vanessa has to pit her wits against some great characters, that encompass the various small town traits without becoming hillbilly stereotypes, as she gradually uncovers the truth.

The plot is nicely interwoven to allow the reader to get to know Vanessa and her FBI helper Dudley whilst the investigation continues alongside. It rolls along in a very easy to follow narrative, but still has time to introduce the required plot twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

The book eventually introduces some dark undertones before ending with an emotional finale that reduced this grizzled old cynic to tears.

An excellent stand alone novel that hopefully is the first of a series following Vanessa's investigations.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good investigative thriller or who appreciates strong characters and an engaging plot.

Kevin Cannon, Goodreads review

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