Sink or Swim

Author: Stacy Juba

Publisher: Mainly Murder Press

Release Date: January 1, 2011

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5


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After spending three months aboard a ship, isolated from society, to take part in the reality show Sink or Swim, nicknamed SOS, Cassidy Novak was more than ready for her new life of fame and fortune. The winner of the reality show would get a million dollars and now it was just her and Reggie left as contestants. Just as her hope surged, show host Gabriel pointed to the tally points and her hope faded; she had lost…by five points. Every Monday during this show a loser walked the plank and returned home. Tonight is her night to walk the plank and plunge into the freezing water before going home. With debts to be paid, she begins to consider the second place prize which will be hers and wonders at how much it would be. Will it be enough to cover her debts? But her debts are not the only reason she had tried out for the reality show. A personal trainer, she wants to finance an affordable private health club where participants can work out with personal trainers. With the endorsement money and popularity showered on those winning the leading reality shows, her pilot site could have blossomed into a franchise. But just having her debts wiped out would make this experience worthwhile. That is why she is devastated when the second place prize is announced. For all of the humiliation she has endured on the show, her prize is a luxury vacation to the Bahamas on a cruise ship (like she wants to get on another ship anytime soon) and three thousand dollars in spending money (definitely not enough to cover her debts). Even the audience jeers at this inferior prize for their most popular contestant. Having gained fame from the show, she has to make appearances on shows and give interviews. 

But when she returns to her hometown in Massachusetts, she finds that she has attracted a stalker, as she receives letters and gifts from a man named Miles. The letters and gifts began coming in while the show was on and were waiting for her when the show was over. Still hoping that her fame will help her obtain her goal, she soon discovers that her stalker has plans for his own twisted game. Not only is he her number one fan, he believes they belong together. But then her former contestants are killed off one by one. With a local newspaper planning to do a follow-up on her life since the show, she soon finds herself being shadowed by a handsome and mysterious photographer. Although she is not comfortable with this constant presence in her life, she figures the publicity will help her obtain her bigger goal.

However, as she tries to find out the identity of her stalker and keep herself safe in the process, she soon loses her job, her security, her peace of mind and is torn from her home. Will her life be next? Can she trust the photographer Zach and her attraction to him, or is she also bound for heartache?

A timely story for this day and age, SINK OR SWIM, the latest novel by talented author Stacy Jubbs, is a suspense-filled contemporary tale centered on a reality show and the instant celebrity it inspires. Forced to handle everyday life plus the pressures instilled by her instant celebrity, the last thing she needs is a stalker. There are several likely candidates for the person stalking her, but it is not until the end that it comes together. With just a name and no idea of what he looks like, she knows he could be someone she runs across every day, even the reporter who has been following her or the betrothed contestant she almost hooked up with, just to name two. In addition to everything else, Cassidy is trying to work through some childhood issues. Although you may guess, and even believe that you know who the stalker is, be prepared to be surprised. By incorporating well-developed characters, reality TV, murder, mystery, believable dialogue, complex characters, plot twists and a bit of romance all together in a compelling, fast-paced story, Ms. Juba has penned a novel that will keep readers glued to the pages, unable to put it down until they reach the satisfying conclusion. With the surfeit of reality television shows today, readers are given a timely behind-the-scenes look in this novel, which is sure to give readers a different vision of the programs that have gained so much popularity lately. I enjoyed this story and recommend it to readers looking for a great story for today’s world. Do not miss it!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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