Reviews, thriller

My 5 Star review of What Jennifer Saw by Hal Schweig


What Jennifer Saw by Hal Schweig

Genre: Psychological Murder Mystery/Thriller
Publication Date: November 7, 2013



Jim Harris, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, and his wife, Mary Beth, along with their four beautiful children, are beloved as the “Jack and Jackie” of Monroeville, Missouri, a small town which considers itself “The Camelot of the Midwest.” The murder of Jim Harris in time reveals the moral decay festering beneath this family’s golden surface. Following the murder of her husband, Mary Beth Harris has metamorphosed suspiciously from a mousy hausfrau doting on her family to a newly energized vamp hurrying to a secret rendezvous with a mysterious lover. Her 24-year-old son later discovers a letter from her paramour, written shortly before his father’s murder, and begins to agonize over the unthinkable. Self-absorbed, Mary Beth fails to recognize the desperate plight of her 15-year-old daughter, the ethereal Jennifer, who witnessed her father’s murder, but is suffering post traumatic stress syndrome and cannot recall it. A brilliant but maverick psychiatrist, Dr. Timothy Adler, wrestling demons of his own, is brought in to treat her and discovers she is also in the grip of Multiple Personality Disorder. He gambles everything on one high-risk roll of the dice to decipher her psyche, which harbors a grotesque melange of angry “personas,” one of whom holds the key to the identity of the killer and also possesses shocking knowledge about the murder victim as well. Dr. Adler knows that his battle against the cunning and malevolent alter egos who wish to possess Jennifer’s soul must be successful, or else she may rapidly descend into madness and even death.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

A riveting tale of mystery and suspense.  From prologue to epilogue, the story kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

First off for the record: There are many mixed reviews out there.  Clearly anyone giving this novel a bad review doesn’t like the mystery/thriller genre and shouldn’t be reading it in the first place…just saying. Though I do typically stay in the paranormal/contemporary romance genre, occasionally I want to read something that will give me chills and keep me up at night.  This one did not disappoint. 

Jennifer or Jenny Harris is the fifteen year old daughter of wealthy businessman Jim Harris.  On one fateful night Jim is murdered, execution style, in his own home.  The only witness to his murder is Jennifer.  Suffering from PTSD she can not seem to remember the face of the killer.  Distraught she falls into a deep depression.

The murder of Jim Harris has the entire town of Monroeville, Missouri in an uproar.  In comes in Lt. Braun….that is one sick bastard if you ask me.  Teaspoon…is all I’m saying…wow.  He is pure evil but unfortunately beside his wife, whom he abuses regularly, there is only one other person that knows his true nature and he’s too afraid to tell anyone.

The town wants answers so they hire Psychologist Dr. Simon to help Jennifer remember the killer.   It doesn’t take Dr. Simon long to determine that Jennifer is suffering from not only PTSD but multi-personality disorder as well. I wish I could tell you more about her different personalities but it would really ruin the story for you.  Let’s just say that after some things come to surface you find out what drove her to have the mental disorder.

Dr. Simon knows that he is in way over his head, so in order to save his patients mentality he asks for assistance from former renowned Psychiatrist Dr. Adler.  He used to be a brilliant therapist with experience in dealing with patients with MPD before his daughter committed suicide.  Now he is just a washed up recluse hiding from reality and living with guilt.

After sometime Dr. Adler finally travels to Monroeville to help save Jennifer from herself.

Reporter Kay Cutler is waiting for her big break.  She knows she is better than just writing women’s features in the Clarion. When Jim’s murder occurred she knows this could be her ticket to the front page.  But her boss is a real jackass and will not listen to any thing she says. So she takes a chance and tries to discover the killer herself.  She gets a tip from a very reliable source that Lt. Braun and Jim Harris knew one another and had a shady history together.

When the source comes up murdered is when the book really kicks it up a notch.  Every chapter leaves you thinking a different person did it lol. There are several people with motives.  Secrets are revealed, lives are forever changed and poor Jennifer is stuck in the middle of all of it. The ending WHEW was a real rollercoaster ride.  If someone were to try to touch my book then I would have bitten their arm off Smile

Favorite Scene: The last chapter.

Favorite Quote:

“I keep a diary which I write in everyday, but no one at home knows that because I keep it locked in my desk and I wear the key around my neck, but sometimes I’ve read things in the diary I don’t remember writing, about things that never happened to me.  And it’s not in my handwriting!


Hal Schweig

Hal Schweig is happy to report that his debut novel, What Jennifer Saw, a psychological murder mystery, was published by Black Rose Writing on November 7, 2013.
In August,2014 The Huffington Post ran an article entitled: “5 Twisted Thrillers for ‘Gone Girl’ Fans.” My book was one of the five! Considering that Gone Girl is a runaway bestseller with 6.5 million books sold so far, this is an awesome endorsement of What Jennifer Saw.
Earlier in 2014, Kirkus Reviews, the most highly respected and sought after of all reviews, called What Jennifer Saw, “A gripping tale of suspense.”
The narrative is driven by the shocking penomenon of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) a psychic condition in which the central character has unconsciously created one or more alter egos, which exist in order to deal with very unpleasant experiences that the main character has repressed. The 15-year old title character — the ethereal Jennifer — is afflicted with MPD and cannot recall who murdered her father, a horrible scene she witnessed. The publisher believes the MPD storyline is unique to the mystery genre.
Hal Schweig formerly served as a crime reporter,rewrite man and editor at the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago, where he covered crime stories which occurred on the mean streets of Chicago. This experience gave him the background to write this mystery, and create the main character of a newspoaper woman who tries to not only cover the murder, but solve it.
A recent review of What Jennifer Saw said in part:
“This book has it all–intrigue, adultery, apparitions, murder, sociopaths, misogynists, mental illness, ethical misconduct, abuse, terror and evil…It has surprising twists which keep the reader engaged throughout the entire book.”
— US Review of Books, January, 2014

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