Book Review: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

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After reading a few articles written by E. Denise Billups in Conscious Talk Magazine, I found myself intrigued with her writing style and voice. After some research, I noticed she’d written a few books, so I selected the one that appealed to me the most, Kalorama Road. If you’re a fan of mysterious character connections, someone with memory loss trying to unearth what happened during a missing 24-hour period, or a subtle tense feeling of “uh oh” while reading, you will definitely enjoy this one!

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The story takes place in modern day NYC (blocks from where I live) and the Washington DC / Virginia area. Allie, an editor at a big publishing company, can’t remember what happened one night at a party during her college years. She remembers being invited by a strange girl, showing up and seeing some peculiar behavior, but then all she knows is that her roommate saw a handsome guy drop her off the next morning. What happened overnight? Well… Allie’s been getting monthly text messages and emails asking her what happened at Kalorama Road that night. They scare her but also intrigue her. Is it someone else who doesn’t recall? Is it someone who wants her to remember? Is it the person who took her there who has since disappeared? It all begins coming back together when she’s let go from her publishing job and begins writing a blog. Someone submits a book for her review but it seems like a real life mystery, then it begins to resemble her own experience at Emsworth University. Allie never told anyone but she’s compelled to reveal all the details to her former colleague and the former roommate. At the same time, Allie’s sister has a secret she wants to keep hidden and a new man enters Allie’s life that seems very familiar. How does everything come together?

The book jumps back and forth between a few main characters, sharing their stories and actions over the course of a few weeks. We see a few memories from the past and learn who is really connected to who. As each chapter unfolds, a piece of the puzzle gets more clear but also opens up more confusion to leaf through. Throw in a powerful senator and his family, a suicide, a newspaper reporter trying to find out what happened in the past, a murder, and a family with a large endowment given to the university yet some secrets worth protecting, there’s bound to be a few explosive moments. What a wild ride, both in terms of how all the connections are revealed and in the build-up of tension between all the new people suddenly just appearing in Allie’s life as she’s trying to solve the puzzle of her missing memories.

Billups drew me in from the first few chapters. I’m a sucker for a lost memory story, but when it straddles that line of “oh, this seems obvious” but then throws you a curve where you’re like “wait, WHAT?” it’s even more appealing. It takes a lot to plan a story where you reveal things bit by bit. It’s also difficult to cover a story from multiple points of view without confusing readers. Billups handles both with great aplomb and talent, as it came together solidly without any concern.

Her character sketches of different women and men in their 20s, living in NY, were on point and realistic — there were moments were they annoyed me because of typical behavior, but that’s a good thing as it means Billups has evoked intense emotion and a strong connection to the story. I enjoyed the slow-build romance and potential eerie connections with her new friends, but I also could tell she had some blinders on when it came to all the ‘coincidences’ going on in her life. And there’s an explanation for it… as the tidbits of history we learn about Allie and her sister’s lives growing up clearly show why they act the way they do now. A great way to make things seem quite reasonable in a story that has you guessing who to trust.

I’m quite intrigued by what else might come from the author’s clever mind. I’ll be taking another look at her previous books and seeing if I can find out what’s coming up next… as I’ll definitely be reading another one this year. And I don’t want to wait a year for another book! 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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23 thoughts on “Book Review: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

    thebookwormdrinketh said:
    June 18, 2018 at 9:13 AM

    Oooo! Sounds mysterious! I love a good memory loss story, as long as it doesn’t have a super whiny, unlikeable protagonist!
    It’s always neat if it takes place near you too! 💖🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    Martie said:
    June 18, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Are you speed reading? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 18, 2018 at 10:39 AM

      Ha! Nope… I can usually get about 90 minutes per day to read, so each book is 2 to 3 days depending on page length!

      Liked by 1 person

        Martie said:
        June 18, 2018 at 12:52 PM

        my goal is one a week put that is a stretch for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        June 18, 2018 at 2:01 PM

        Reading styles can range so much. I need absolute silence, so I can’t really read on a noisy train, or in 10 minute increments. I’ve met people who read on their phone in between meetings or waiting a few minutes on line. I’d rather block 90 minutes a day and get as much in as I can. I’m lucky I have more free time than most, but it won’t always be that way.

        Liked by 1 person

    E. Denise Billups said:
    June 18, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    James, thank you for the wonderful review!!!! If I could hug you through the screen I would! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    […] via Book Review: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Colline said:
    June 18, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    I always love stories that throw the reader a curve ball.

    Liked by 1 person

    Thanks for sharing this Jay. I hadn’t heard of this author but this book definitely sounds like my kind of read.

    Liked by 1 person

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    June 18, 2018 at 12:52 PM

    Another good review, Jay. I’m reading this now so I’m glad you (as usual) left no spoilers. BTW, hope you enjoyed your trip! 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 18, 2018 at 2:02 PM

      Hi. I am glad to help. I sometimes I worry I don’t say enough by leaving out juicy details!

      The trip was amazing. I can’t believe it’s been 2 1/2 weeks since I’ve been back.

      Hope all is going well by you.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jina Bazzar said:
    June 18, 2018 at 3:05 PM

    it was a great read. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

    Liked by 2 people

    The Cozy Pages said:
    June 18, 2018 at 3:09 PM

    Sounds juicy. I do like the premise and your review is quite compelling.

    Liked by 2 people

    Rae Longest said:
    June 18, 2018 at 9:09 PM

    Sounds like a fascinating read!

    Liked by 2 people

    […] by E. Denise Billups. I read the book last month and thought it was a phenomenal story. You must check out my 5-STAR review after reading through today’s post. We’ve got all the links below to get to know the […]

    Liked by 1 person

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