Saturday 8 December 2012

Novel Publicity blog tour stop; Review: Bluff by Lenore Skomal

Publication date: 1st October, 2012
Publisher: Lenore Skomal Press
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: E-copy provided for blog tour
Rating: 4/ 5 stars
[from goodreads]

"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”

Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.

Intricate. Compelling. Powerful; three words I'd use to describe Bluff which opens with the words: I was born a weakling.

Bluff weaves together the story of Jude, named after the patron saint of the same name, who is found fallen off a bluff and will indefinitely remain in a "persistent vegetative state". She is also carrying a child whose chances of being delivered without risk are high... further complicating the situation.

How did Jude fall off the bluff? Was it foul play? Was it suicide?

Who is the father of the unborn child? Why was even her best friend, Frances, kept in the dark?

Should Jude be placed on life support indefinitely? Or would it be kinder to let her go once the baby was delivered?

Bluff takes its time to reveal the truth behind what happened in the bluff through the perspectives of Jude as well as several key players in her story: Frances, Frances' husband who never liked Jude, her sister, her family lawyer, the nurse and more. And in the process, the author does not shy away from exploring the complexities in the law, religion, life, drug use and death.

Dear Jude,

You were floating in between life and death and that was precisely the place where you were fully able to accept and understand why things were the way they were. It was painful to watch you take in things from afar... but ironically, this was the time when you connected most with the people around you.

It pained me to see you sad all the time... But with your family history and struggle with your sexuality... I fully understood your depression. It moved me to tears when you were finally on the brink of letting go of all of that sadness and anger. 

Dear Mary Shannon (the nurse),

I marveled at the shades of gray in your personality. You, like most of the key players in the story... were so difficult to hate and like at the same time. You were so... human. It was depressing.

Dear father of the unborn child,

Oh. My. God. You were the twisted revelation I could've lived without. May you... uh, I can't even curse you. It would affect all these other people in your life. Which was one of the things I loathed and admired in Bluff... the tight web of responsibility and carelessness... how one action affected several others with such ease.

Dear Sequel,

I hope there's... more retribution. And redemption. It was hinted that there would be.

The characters in Bluff... they are brilliant. They are complex and difficult and most of the time- they are torn into making difficult decisions. While the story centered around Jude coming to terms with the cause and consequences of her fall... there were also debates on the ethics of so many important issues- related to euthanasia, the Church and medicine, organ donation, and more.

All of the characters were active participants. None of them could deny responsibility. None of their skeletons stayed in their closet. Instead, they crept out eventually... choosing to catch up with them in the heart wrenching yet mind boggling climax. Of course I want to read more about them!

Dear Bluff,

I write this review hoping I can convey the weight, originality, eeriness and sheer brilliance of the premise. Every person's perspective mattered and Jude's ethereal presence was essential to tie everything together... to validate the need to ask all of those questions which the book asked.

You made me think and ponder over every last detail of the plot... to say I was impressed and completely satisfied with the book is an understatement.




Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff? 

Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.

Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.

About the author: 

Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, 18 books published, a daily blog and weekly newspaper column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. 

From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message. Connect with Lenore on her website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.


  1. This does sound amazing, hun! I hadn't heard of it until now, so thanks to you I will keep an eye out for it!

  2. Oh wow this book sounds incredible Pooja, I adore books which leave you reeling afterwards and this looks like it had the same effect on you! Great review Pooja and thanks for putting this book on my radar! :)

  3. Thanks for enjoying the book and your review! Rest assured the sequel will tie up loose ends.

  4. Such a creative review! It makes me want to read BLUFF... thanks for your thoughts :)

  5. Great review. Seems to be an intriguing novel.

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  7. Great review. It was an amazing book, and I love how you structure your reviews. Great work!

  8. Awesome review, Pooja. I love how much thought and creativity you pack into each one. Thanks for joining us on this tour :-D


  9. Way cool. Loved this post. this sounds like a fascinating book with a lot of difficult issues to explore. It is new to me but I would certainly like to know more! Miss you! Hope you are about done with exams and ready for a break!

  10. I'm angry at myself for forgetting about this book because I was really interested in it. Your review just makes me want to read it more, lol.


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)