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Nina Blakeman
The Blow-Up Man
It has been said that you really never know someone, but what happens when you don’t know yourself? Thirty-year-old Faye Brady has had a sheltered life. With a deceased father, and an emotionally detached mother, Faye exists in a world derived from the imagination of the many authors she’s read …and falling in love means living happily ever after. Life without a father has left Faye with many unresolved issues. These are major contributors to her falling long and hard for her older mentor, Dr. Todd Davis. Dr. Todd Davis is a well-respected researcher in the area of pharmaceutical sciences, and it’s under his direction that Faye earns her PhD. He’s handsome and his intellect, experience, and confidence are powerful enticements that draw Faye into his world. Faye’s mother, Madeline Brady, is concerned about her daughter’s relationship with Todd. Faye interprets her concerns as intrusive, but its Todd’s age and baggage that cause Madeline to worry. Fourteen years ago, Todd had a relationship with a woman named Annette Dolce. Annette has father issues of her own. But unlike Faye, she’s impulsive, manipulative, and dangerous. She’s also the mother of Todd’s twin girls. When Todd informs Annette of his decision to marry Faye, the psychologically disturbed Annette is pushed to the edge. Faye is frightened of Annette … and she should be. The world of books has left Faye totally unprepared to deal with Annette. Does Faye have what it takes to overcome the toxic mistakes of Todd’s past before it’s too late?
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10


Annette Dolce dominates Blakeman's disturbing tale of romance gone awry and unbalanced hatred. The straightforward narrative leaves her villainy unambiguous, but her abuse of her children and of kidnapped Faye Davis is genuinely unsettling. While Annette drives the action, her romantic partner, Angel Maya, is portrayed effectively as partially a weak victim of circumstances. Faye's final revelation is melodramatic, but the mounting emotional intensity of Annette's scenes overshadows this flaw.

Date Submitted: August 11, 2016

Guatemala Paula Lives!


The Blow-Up Man by Nina Blakeman

Annette Dolce feels betrayed by life and by the father of her two illegitimate children. She is the mother of twin girls, Ella and Emma – who couldn’t be more different from each other in personality. Emma takes after her mother; Ella, her father. The girls’ father, Dr. Todd Davis, Ph.D., is a professor at the local university. He has recently found success in his pharmacological research on a new drug for treating prostate cancer, and his love life when he falls in love with his student, and much younger woman, Dr. Faye Brady.

Annette and daughter, Emma, don’t accept Todd’s new liaison nor his subsequent marriage and make no secret of their displeasure. Ella is accepting but is the scapegoat for the unhappiness and frustration of her mother and sister. When the local lifestyle magazine publishes a big spread on the new super-couple, Dr. & Dr. Davis, and “their” daughters, Annette goes off the deep end and plans to get revenge for all her past perceived insults, injuries, and betrayals.

The Blow-Up Man by Nina Blakeman was a suspense-filled story of a madwoman scorned. Fast-paced with interesting characters in a rural West Texas location (which I loved!) The author’s descriptions of the various settings were vivid and creepy, yet familiar. (Like the author, I, too, am a Texan.) The plot incorporates intense scenes of torture and child abuse.

Good, strong secondary characters in Faye’s mother, Madeline; Annette’s live-in boyfriend, Angel; an obnoxious and privileged med student, Matthew Nolan; and the new priest in town, Father Sweeney all add depth and help to advance the story. Cool medical terminology lent a feeling of authenticity and genuineness but some of the details of the research were a little much for me on occasion.

I highly recommend this tense and highly readable novel for those that like their suspense “gritty.” I was pleased to see mentioned somewhere online that there is a sequel in the works. Yay!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Laura Frye for AGN Media

In “The Blow-Up Man,” the first novel from Tulia author Nina Blakeman, researcher Dr. Todd Davis has two women in his life.

The first is his fiancee, Faye Brady, whom he loves and adores. The second is Annette Dolce, the mother of his twin daughters, who tries her best to make his life difficult.

When Todd and Faye marry, things are pushed to the brink and bad things begin to happen. Who will end up on top in this twisted tale of power?

“The Blow-Up Man” is a story that has been told many times, but not with the characters that Blakeman has drawn. The author has added insight into the characters that at times seem over the top, but add to the telling of this story.

There are parts of the story that were a bit hard to read. Annette’s abuse of her daughter is heartwrenching, and while it adds to the storyline, it did make for very tough reading.

Some of the descriptions of locations and buildings were overdone at times, and bogged down the reading. They painted good pictures, but took away from the action — what the characters were up to next, and how they were going to interact with each other, which is the part of this story that keeps the readers turning the page.

There were a few turns along the way that keep the action fresh and demands the reader’s attention.

Blakeman has written a character-driven story that delves into the lives of people dealing with abuse and bad choices. Readers will want to stick with it to see what happens in the end.



Jo | June 29, 2016 | Reviews | No Comments

In the opening chapters of ‘The Blow-Up Man’ by Nina Blakeman, we meet Annette Dolce, the apparently wronged ex-lover of Todd, and her current man discussing the list of complaints she had against Todd, the father of her twin girls Ella and Emma. The reader hears from Annette of the things that have been done to her, sympathises with her, empathises with her hurt feelings – and then throughout the rest of the story learns how wrong they were!
Annette is a user; a manipulative, impulsive and psychologically disturbed woman who uses whatever it takes to have her own way – people, family, items – apparently at times not even sure she actually knows what she really wants. She is an abusive wife and partner, and a neglectful and abusive mother, particularly of one of the twins, Ella. Dr Todd Davis, a gentleman, respectful and respected is in a new relationship with a gentle, sheltered and consequently a naïve woman called Faye. When Todd announces to Annette that he is to marry Faye her jealousy knows no bounds, and fuelled by rage she sets out to exact her revenge on the people who have wronged her!
A compelling and deeply psychological read, demonstrating that women can be abusive too, and men are just as likely to be the abused. Cleverly, Nina Blakeman has caught us up at the beginning with Annette as the victim; however, as the story unravels we realise how deceptive people can be as the truth about the complicated relationships between the characters is revealed.


Sarah Davies

I was given this book for a fair and unbiased review.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, with so many different characters, you really do not know where this story is going to go.

Annette's character is brilliant, she is the very dysfunctional mother of two girls, but the book is well written you end up hating her from the start.

There are so many twists and turns to this story, it was hard to put down. And just when you think the story is over there is an even bigger twist!!!

Would highly recommend this book without trying to give away the story.

Genres covered are thriller, romance and intrigue.