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The Girl in the Blue Blazer

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Two women. One powerful man. A decades-old secret binds them together.

In 2019, Pamela Carter is determined to secure her dream internship with billionaire businessman Andrew Clifford III.

Twenty-five years ago, in 1993, Andrew is just starting out. Without any of his later fame or fortune, the party boy becomes a legitimate hero when he intervenes to save assaulted Elizabeth Westlake. Sure, she’s a waitress at a strip club, but that’s not her dream. Elizabeth is determined to write her way out of the Harlem hellhole she lives in. Maybe Andrew is the ticket? Even the best-laid plans go awry, and for Elizabeth, tragedy looms.

Pamela is impossible not to notice and she soon becomes Andrew’s prime intern. But, just as with Elizabeth, not all goes to plan. The stocks are plummeting. The company is careening. And then, Andrew himself goes missing. Will Pamela also be plunged into the tragedy that surrounds this man? Or is Pamela the one person who really knows what happened that fateful night in 1993? More than a company is at stake, as Andrew struggles for survival. But sometimes, the past is too powerful. Some secrets refuse to remain buried. Sometimes, truth kills.

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: The Girl in the Blue Blazer is an addictive page-turner with an engaging plot that moves swiftly from one dramatic scene to the next. The novel switches between the past and present, which is initially effective but loses impact and begins to drag in the final third of the book. While the reader can buy into most plot points, some reveals (such as Vanessa Burrell's immediate reveal of Tara's rape) feel somewhat too manufactured.

Prose: Thomas's narrative writing is clear and informative, but her dialogue often feels too formal and stiff. In proper mystery form, Thomas plants clues for the reader throughout the scenes but has a tendency to over-explain these references in their reveals.

Originality: While the central mystery is recognizable from the beginning, Thomas incorporates many other juicy reveals along the way to keep the reader excited and guessing.

Character/Execution: Thomas's characters are generally well-rounded and engaging. Her two protagonists are easy to root for and feel adequately unique from each other. The villainous Andrew is genuinely evil but frequently erratic in his reactions, making him the least convincing character.

Date Submitted: April 04, 2023

This shrewdly plotted thriller from Thomas (author of the Detective Rachel Storme series, among others) grips with cliffhangers, thrills, and smart suspense until the final pages, with a Secrets bind them together: In 2019, Pamela Carter is interning for the Fortune 500 company, Clifford Investments, a dream she’s had since she was a young girl moving to California—but not simply to build up her resume. A few decades earlier, in 1993, Elizabeth Westlake is working as a waitress in a Harlem strip club and believes she’s hit the jackpot when she meets Andrew Clifford III, bachelor and future founder, CEO, and billionaire, who tells her she’s “a good hugger” and promises to read her short stories and help get her a publishing deal.

Shoes will drop, of course, and Thomas paces them beautifully. The twin timelines, both written in crisp first-person perspectives, feed each other with tension, hints, and ultimately revelations. In the present, Pamela has quickly become the now older Andrew’s star intern at the company. Yet soon after she starts, stocks start to plummet, and Andrew sees his company falling apart. He runs away—from the company, his dark past, all of it. Secrets from a haunted night with Elizabeth in 1993 come to light, and Thomas ties it all together with a welcome interest in these women’s surprising connection as the time-crossed plots and characters come together in a thrilling ending.

A ticking time bomb, this novel keeps reader interest in both past and present, teasing out mysteries and schemes that jolt but are firmly rooted in character and a convincingly detailed corporate milieu. The suspense is potent, and the stakes grow more dire with each chapter, as Thomas deftly stokes conflict, both verbal and physical, and crises that will keep readers guessing—and turning the pages. This will be a hit with readers who relish twisty suspense, reckonings with the past, and strong female characters who dare to make a difference.

Takeaway: Tense, twin-timeline thriller about two women’s involvement with a CEO billionaire.

Comparable Titles: Sarah A. Denzil’s Silent Child, Willow Rose’s You Better Run.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

American Writing Awards

The Girl in the Blue Blazer is a mind-bender that will keep you guessing till the very end.
Set in multiple cities and told over multiple timelines, Alretha Thomas sets the stage while introducing the story's protagonist and antagonist in the opening scene. Friday, June 7, 2019, in big city California, Pamela, a good looking, strong and independent black woman interviews for a renowned internship at Clifford Investments, a top financial firm, with founder and CEO, Andrew Clifford III. Thomas makes it clearly known that Pamela's intentions on getting the internship that could change her life is about much more than advancing her career, and that Andrew Clifford III is more than the brash arrogant businessman offering the job. In an alternate opening scene, other characters are revealed. Thomas turns the clock back to Tuesday, June 1, 1993. The reader gets to know Elizabeth and Sandy, two best friends working at a topless bar dreaming of overcoming their present and past challenges of lives filled with trauma and poverty. They too encounter a man that would change their lives forever.
The story weaves back and forth from past to present. This style can be challenging to make work; however, Thomas deftly connects the different narrative timelines as secrets and answers to the questions dealing with the story's complex main characters are brought to light and the unsuspecting climax is reached.
If you like a book where strong women take on a narcissistic man and the outcome isn't what you expect, this one is for you.

The Girl in the Blue Blazer...A fast-paced thriller dominated by lies and manipulation, control and influence, and retribution and justice.

—American Writing Awards


The Girl in the Blue Blazer opens as two women - Pamela Carter and Veronica Johnson - wait to meet billionaire Andrew Clifford, a man with an impressive art collection and a massive ego. Knowing the spectacular track record of Andrew's past proteges, Veronica is vying for a coveted internship to follow in their footsteps. 

Pamela, however, is driven by something far more personal - her unwavering desire to destroy the legendary businessman.

Through dialogue, Author Alretha Thomas makes clear in the first chapter that Andrew learned nothing from the #metoo movement. Thomas then transports readers back to the 90s, where we meet a younger version of Andrew through the experiences of struggling strip club hostess Elizabeth. Thomas, who is also an award-winning playwright, director, producer and actress, demonstrates her expertise in character development through a series of vivid flashbacks.

Through alternating perspectives between Pamela and Elizabeth, Thomas writes in two distinct, entirely believable voices to create a harrowing shared experience spanning decades. It's a powerful technique that builds over time and pays repeatedly off thanks to multiple well-timed reveals. 

While Pamela's intentions and Andrew's character flaws are both established early on, if you're thinking Pamela's plan for vengeance will be predictable, think again. Thomas manages to deliver plenty of high-impact surprises along the way. While putting herself squarely in danger to pull it off, Pamela's ingenious scheme requires assembling an alliance of like-minded conspirators. Watching her orchestrate the plan to bring down this titan of industry - and pivot when it all seems to unravel - makes for riveting reading." 

Book Nerdection

"When two separate stories are being told concurrently, finding a common theme to bind the two together is paramount. Alretha achieves this through the use of symbolism. To the unsuspecting readers, the mention of writing as a career, a blue garment or the talks of a pregnancy and birth mean nothing to us when they crop up the first time. As we bounce back and forth between points of view, things start to get a little clearer as we find out the shared attributes of the two characters, Elizabeth and Pamela, for ourselves. In this way, the story becomes an immersive adventure. We are turned into explorers, collecting artifacts of a bigger picture that will then assemble itself at the end.

The proverbial carrot is dangled before us as Alretha Thomas leaves us hanging on to incomplete bits of information, reeling us in like a fish on the rod. I, for one, was biting. Alretha trickles details into her writing to create a sense of foreboding and suspense. These details let us know what to look out for in the future. We find ourselves chasing that "A-Ha!" moment which lies just around the corner into the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next chapter. We keep an eye out for these clues and gather them as we read on. Our engagement and attachment is boosted through the implementation of this literary tool. It builds up to the crescendo which arrives tantalizingly late in this book. The work put into earning my investment at the very start, and maintaining it throughout pays off in the latter stages. I found myself tapping the screen of my device to check which page number I was on in anticipation of the final clash between the two forces with Pam on the side of justice and Andrew, the face of evil. It was as if I was hooked up to a heart monitoring machine. Just when I'd recovered, Alretha's words would accelerate the beating of my heart before repeating the cycle. A marvelous feat achieved only through the most flawless writing.

Try as I may, I could not find a single fault in Ms.Thomas' writing. She sealed off any potential holes in her plot; it is airtight and impregnable. Her background in the film industry just makes sense. Alone, this book stands firmly on its own two feet but it would not surprise me in the slightest to see this story adapted into a movie or a dramatic mini-series. It's got all the signs of a successful literary work. I will try my best to cling on to my memory of this book for as long as I can, however, I also look forward to forgetting all about it just so I can experience reading it again as if it were my first time ."


"IR Approved - Author Alretha Thomas makes every word, character, and scene count in THE GIRL IN THE BLUE BLAZER, a very well-written suspenseful story with twists and turns from beginning to end.
Pamela Carter is on a mission to bring Andrew Clifford to his knees and justice for someone she deeply cared about, even if it means winding up in jail for doing something as heinous as what Andrew did to her loved one.
When Pamela Carter tries for the third time to snag the executive intern position at Clifford Investments, she is determined to get it. One of the two final candidates, she puts on her best game face when interviewed by the firm's CEO, Andrew Clifford. When she is offered the position, she is ecstatic because now she can put into action her well-thought-out, surreptitious plan for Andrew to get what he deserves—something that will take away everything he holds dear.
The plot in Alretha Thomas' THE GIRL IN THE BLUE BLAZER is multifaceted, with stakes that grow increasingly higher with each chapter and enough conflict, tension and crises to keep readers engaged. Laced with complications and obstacles that serve to move the story forward, each plot point induces a sense of intrigue and suspense, many with aspects of physical danger. When the pressure of time is added in, tension rises to the level of a ticking time bomb. Compelling direct and indirect characterization work together to drive the plot forward and bring the characters to life.
Pamela is depicted as a young woman with plenty of moxie and loyalty to those who she believes deserve justice. Elizabeth-who had a relationship with Andrew twenty-six years earlier-is a high school dropout who escaped an abusive home life, and is naive and vulnerable. Andrew is a greedy, manipulating man who seeks power and control, both in business and with women. All three main characters are three-dimensional and purposeful and their dialogue, internal thoughts, actions, and appearances combine to form interesting, believable people, all of whom want something and are willing to go to lengths to get it.  No one is perfect or without struggles. They make mistakes. They let their guards down. They make wrong choices. And as in any well-written novel, each one changes by the end of the story.
Thomas does an exemplary job shifting back and forth in time with Pamela's relationship with Andrew and that of Elizabeth's. In alternating chapters, the narrative slips into the past with ease and without upstaging what is going on in the current time period. New information is revealed in each chapter, and the two stories slowly connect to become one. This parallel storytelling requires considerable skill to pull off successfully, and Thomas does just that, while her clever use of foreshadowing creates a sense of curiosity that is sure to keep readers engaged."


Literary Titan

"Alretha Thomas's suspenseful novel The Girl in the Blue Blazer weaves together incidents from the past and the present to give readers a sense of what happened and how things are now. This moving tale depicts the struggles of women who have been subjected to sexual assault, verbal abuse, and gender discrimination by both strangers and close friends. It is a story of loyalty, love, friendship, and enduring ties. Each component is skillfully woven into the narrative. Readers get a sense of Pamela's fierce determination and her willingness to stop at nothing to accomplish her goals from the very first pages. The few characters present were well-developed. The main character, Pamela, was outstanding, with no weaknesses in any respect. Sandy was the one I loved the most; she is a model of what a true friend should be.
The Girl in the Blue Blazer is flawlessly written, and the plot moves along smoothly. I eagerly await to read more books by Alretha Thomas. She has writing talent. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy general fiction because it is the ideal fusion of love, friendship, adventure, and crime."

Readers Paradise

Thomas does a great job with character development and storyline flow. These characters you really will love to hate them and then just hate some. Many times I thought the book shifted from romance to suspense and vice versa. But then when I realize I’m clinching my teeth and sitting on the edge of my seat, I realize it is a story of suspense.

I definitely enjoyed the twist and turns Thomas takes the reader on a journey. This story is the business.

Self-Publishing Review

"Written with searing honesty and a compelling contemporary voice, The Girl in the Blue Blazer by Alretha Thomas is an engrossing novel that touches on urgent social and ethical issues, engulfed in an emotionally charged plot. When Pamela finally receives the offer for her long-coveted internship with Clifford Investments, she is beside herself, but she doesn't want to become Andrews Clifford's protégé for sheer ambition...Pamela seeks revenge, with unpredictable results. Balancing narratives between the past and the present, Thomas spools a story that is both unique and universal, told with clear and sincere prose that brings emotional authenticity to a thrilling work of suspense."

—Self-Publishing Review

SpurYear (Vine Voice)

This is a great read! I could not put it down and read it in one day. This is the second book I have read by this author, and she is one to keep an eye on! Get this one, you won’t be disappointed!

The Reading Cafe

"The Girl in the Blue Blazer is written with dual timelines and draws you in from the very beginning that have you turning the pages faster and faster as you navigate all of the twists and turns. One moment, you're convinced of one thing, the next, not so much. What you ARE convinced of is that Mrs. Thomas has once again written an amazing story and built a world that draws you in and doesn't let go until the very end. One thing that hit me while reading this is that it is so refreshing to read a story that has "real" dialogue between the characters. Due to the subject matter of this book, that frank and real dialogue will endear the characters to the reader even more. If you're a fan of suspenseful storylines with awesome and strong women, you will not go wrong with this book."

Tracey Burnett, Author of The Sapien Series

WOW!!! I didn't think it was possible to go into something with high expectations and still have them exceeded, but that is exactly what happened here. This story is the definition of suspense. There was pulse-pounding action from beginning to end, delivered by the right cast of characters. If you're looking for a story with strong women, this is it.