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The Gershwin Cutter
Paul Damien, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS. RESCUED FROM A VIOLENT CULT, SHE FINALLY FELT SAFE. BUT HER FRAGILE WORLD IS ABOUT TO SHATTER. Blake is a mysterious and intrepid young woman who is steadfastly devoted to a one-eyed horse named Ira. Their relationship flourishes through the popular equestrian sport of cutting. But Blake’s love for Ira is making her careless. Meanwhile, retired detective Sonny Harrell’s father is murdered. As Sonny follows breadcrumbs across the Lone Star State, he stumbles on a ruthless network who’ll resort to extreme measures to protect their secrets. And pulls an unsuspecting Blake directly into the peril that follows. They’ll have to fight back to survive, or they’ll both be erased.
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Damien's novel is expeditious and intricately detailed. The storyline is impeccably and effortlessly crafted, including the several twists and turns along the way.

Prose: Damien's adeptly composed prose speaks to his extensive research on the content of the book. The writing is a perfect concoction of mystery, romance, drama, and adventure.

Originality: Despite containing all elements of a classic murder mystery and the vivid descriptions of unimaginable crimes, the light shed upon unchartered territories and insight into the life of rural America makes the novel stand out.

Character Development/Execution: ​The characters in Damien's The Gershwin Cutter are memorable and endearing. The seamlessly inserted backstories for the characters add to the novel's intensity. The shocking atrocities on the titular character are sure to move the readers to tears and the brief yet effective background on the villainous Wright siblings provides a better understanding of their convoluted mentality.

Blurb: A suspenseful and thought-provoking thriller, Damien's The Gershwin Cutter is sure to keep readers engaged with its surprising content and admirable composition.

Date Submitted: April 22, 2022

Best Selling Author

A young, wounded woman’s redemptive journey of healing through past trauma with the help of a special horse. Haunting, moving, deeply powerful, and ultimately uplifting.

Marlene Adelstein, author of USA Today Bestseller 

Sophie Last Seen

Readers' Favorite

Reviewed By:

Viga Boland

Review Rating:

5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review! 

Reviewed By Viga Boland for Readers’ Favorite

After being freed from a cult, Blake and her non-speaking brother, Ethan, under Witness Protection and through the love and care of their wealthy foster mother, have been slowly recovering from the abuse. While Ethan finds his release through art, Blake finds her therapy through Gershwin’s music and the one-eyed horse she names Ira. But Blake’s burgeoning talent with training Ira as a cutter is fraught with danger: with increasing public exposure, she could be found by her former abuser. By the time retired detective Sonny Harrell’s investigation into his father’s sudden murder brings him inside Blake’s world, several people have been killed. Sonny suspects a link to the cult and as Paul Damien expertly leads readers to an explosive finish, The Gershwin Cutter has evolved into a thriller that might send you, as it did me, to do some further online research into cults like FLDS and the infamous Children of God.

What, you may well ask, is a Gershwin cutter? The cutter is a term used in cow herding, but is there any connection to the famous Ira Gershwin? Oh yes, but in a most unexpected and beautiful way in The Gershwin Cutter by Paul Damien. But wait! Isn’t this novel a thriller? Unless you’re a fan, what’s so thrilling about herding cattle? When the person training a partially blind horse to “cut” has been the victim of horrific mental and sexual abuse at the hands of an immoral and brutal cult leader, this incredible story with its basis in true events becomes one of the most touching and simultaneously frightening books you will ever read. Impossible to put down? You bet! It’s rare for me to want to write 500 or more words in a book review, but I almost can’t say enough about The Gershwin Cutter. From its basic plot and engaging, realistic characters to the author’s excellent use of dialogue and setting to help us visualize and feel what the characters are experiencing, this novel shines. I loved it. Add The Gershwin Cutter to your reading list now.

Readers' Favorite

Review Rating:

5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review! 

Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

The Gershwin Cutter by Paul Damien is a thriller with a twist. Blake and her brother Ethan were adopted by a loving woman, but Blake was afraid and hesitant every step of the way. Her adoptive mother was a sweet lady, but something was holding Blake back. However, her hesitance went out the window when she saw a one-eyed horse named Ira. Their relationship got better when Ira and Blake started training for cutting. Finally happy and free, Blake was slowly forgetting her terrible past and accepting her present. Things changed when retired Detective Sonny Harrell came into the picture. Sonny’s father was shot and, somehow, tracking the case brought him very near Blake. Before she knew it, Blake’s past was back to haunt her, and somehow, Sonny was after the same people who ruined Blake. It was now a battle of wits, survival, and honor. Can Sonny get revenge for his father and protect Blake before it is too late?

I love when novels open with a suspenseful scene filled with action and intrigue. Author Paul Damien opened the story with a bang and made sure to keep the suspense going until the end. The opening chapter was enough to make me believe the story was going to be amazing. Blake’s character cemented that idea and made me want to read on. Her growth was sad but exhilarating, to say the least. Her past was painful (as it is with most cult survivors), but once she broke out of her shell, she became breathtaking. Sonny’s character was the weapon she needed to heal, but Ira was her saving grace. Of course, Barbara (her adoptive mother) did her best to break down the walls around Blake’s heart, but that one-eyed horse made things easy for her. The author highlighted how survivors of cult abuse could damage a person, but even then, there is a chance of saving someone from a life of hell. Loved it, felt it, and enjoyed it!