Blessed are Those Who Weep

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Book three in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series (April 7, 2015 ), nominated for a 2016 Barry Award for Best Paperback Original.

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves …

Read the first chapter here.

 

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REVIEWS

“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP is a crackling, emotional, and rocket-paced mystery.  Kristi Belcamino brings her reporter chops to Gabriella Giovanni, the very best kind of heroine — smart, plucky, and true. Keep your eye on this writer.”
Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of CRAZY LOVE YOU.

 

BOLO Books:

Blessed Are Those Who Weep –
The BOLO Books Review
Posted on April 7, 2015
With the first two books in the Gabriella Giovanni series (Blessed are the Dead and Blessed are the Meek), Kristi Belcamino built a firm foundation on which to solidify her crime fiction career, but in book three – Blessed Are Those Who Weep – readers will realize that as strong as those early novels are, she has only just begun her ascent.

Moments after starting the new novel, readers will be fully at Kristi Belcamino’s mercy. The opening chapter of Blessed Are Those Who Weep is one of the best I have read. I defy any crime fiction fan to stop reading this book after finishing that very short, but impeccably written chapter. Mixing a truly terrifying crime with an unparalleled level of compassion is most certainly a recipe for a very, very long night of reading.

Blessed Are Those Who Weep finds Gabriella Giovanni attempting to determine who killed an entire family and left a baby girl orphaned. It is a story that will have Gabriella staking out a sex club one minute and talking with a martial arts expert the next. This unique situation will have her running afoul of not only the San Francisco PD, but also the United States Military before it all comes to an emotional conclusion.

If this complex criminal case were the most compelling aspect of the novel, Belcamino would still have a very successful novel. What makes Blessed Are Those Who Weep an excellent read is the deep immersion into Gabriella’s mental state. Having recently suffered a miscarriage, Gabriella is in a very vulnerable state and this particular case only serves to add new levels of poignancy to her already fragile mind. Needless to say, this places a further strain on her growing relationship with Detective Sean Donovan.

Kristi Belcamino has the ability to make it impossible for readers to choose sides. While they will no doubt feel empathy for Gabriella and easily understand where her various actions are rooted, Belcamino skillfully manages to make Donovan’s rational thoughts and feelings almost equally sympathetic. This makes the relationship on the page all the more realistic and tenuous. How this dynamic will play out could easily overshadow the solution of the crime at the novel’s heart, but Belcamino manages to keep the balance at the optimum level.

Kristi Belcamino is an author who is not afraid to take risks. Blessed Are Those Who Weep doesn’t follow any type of formula and some of the topics may be controversial for certain readers. But it is impossible not to feel how much Belcamino cares about her characters. For me, I think her caring extends to her readers as well – and because of that, we are truly the blessed ones.

Literati Literature Lovers

At first I think she is a doll.  Sitting there so still on the floor in her pink dress, chubby legs sticking out from her diaper, big black eyes unblinking, staring at something I can’t see.  A ribbon hangs loose in her hair.  Something that looks like chocolate is smeared around her mouth and one cheek.
. . .
“Are you in there, Mrs. Martin? It’s Gabriella Giovanni from the Bay Herald. We spoke yesterday.” Silence. As if my voice has flicked a switch, the child moves and talks, babbling. “Mamamama. Maaamamama.” She picks something up. Something floppy and pale and long. Something with short red fingernails. An arm.

With those jump-out-of-your-skin opening paragraphs, author Kristi Belcamino invites us into the world of investigative reporter Gabriella Giovanni.  Gabriella is a beautiful woman whose world is not a pretty one. She is a complex character with a past that not only haunts her, but defines much of her present life. I think if I had to choose a single word to describe her character, it would be obsessed. She’s obsessed with finding her sister’s killer, obsessed with becoming pregnant, obsessed with preventing the baby she finds at a murder scene from being returned to her only living parent.  Despite the fact that Gabriella has a job she loves and a fiancée who loves her, she seems unable to overcome the obsessive behavior threatening her career, her health and her relationship with Detective Sean Donovan, a man so attractive his image graces the cover of the Sexiest Bay Area Cops calendar.

The first two books in the series are Blessed Are the Dead and Blessed Are the Meek. This third book, Blessed Are Those Who Weep, is a flawlessly written, fast paced book with a plot that is a perfect vehicle for Gabriella’s personality.  Readers will find themselves needing to put the book down and  walk away occasionally just to catch a break from her intensity.  This book will definitely be a treat for those who love detailed murder investigations and intricate plot twists.  Even though Gabriella thinks she has the killer nailed from the beginning, I was never sure she had it figured out and kept expecting a surprise perpetrator to pop out of the shadows, but . . . no spoilers! Secrets are revealed . . . even ones with international implications, bodies keep turning up everywhere, and Gabriella proves again and again that she will go to any lengths in pursuit of her obsessions.  Blessed Are Those Who Weep is one of those books in which more questions are asked than you, the reader, think the author can ever answer, but with her keen attention to detail, Ms. Belcomino ties up every loose end in a very satisfying manner. The ending will be quite a revelation because you reach a point where you think there can be no good outcome for the characters in this book. Believe me, it will make the fact that you clung to edge of your seat from the opening paragraphs to the very last words worthwhile!

Dick Barbuto from Mystery Book Reviews and Discussion

I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Gabriella Giovanni series where she makes a living as a reporter on the crime beat in San Francisco. Both told a good and entertaining story, the writing was excellent and developed the characters well. I made a connection with Gabriella and cared about what happened in her life. I realized that she was deeply flawed and that made her character all the more appealing.

In the author’s third book, Blessed Are Those Who Weep, Ms. Belcamino reaches new heights. When I began the book I did not like the story one bit. Gabriella was depressed and in crisis. I did not want to read about her when she was so distressed. I was not even sure I wanted to continue with the book. I was convinced the author had only two books in her and the third was a return to literary mediocrity. Fortunately, I finished the book.

Ms. Belcamino has written a stunning book. Her descriptions of Gabtiella’s state, both mental and physical are nothing short of brilliant. I wanted to dive into this book and do whatever I could to help this woman cope with her situations. She had suffered a recent miscarriage, her sister had been abducted and murdered some twenty years ago and after walking into the scene of a slaughter with multiple victims, she rescued a baby who had somehow survived the carnage. Yes, Gabriella was a mess and it was very negatively affecting her life and her relationships with others, including her love relationship. This was not what I wanted to read.

The genius of Ms. Belcamino’s book is that you read it, not like what is going on with the protagonist yet still realize that it is her skill as a writer that keeps drawing you in. With the first two books I would come to the end of a chapter and fight with myself as to whether I would read another chapter or get some much needed sleep. In Weep there was no fight. I just kept reading. And make no mistake here. In addition to great writing, Ms. Belcamino tells a very good story. Replete with military cover ups, police corruption and some murders where the killer uses martial arts weapons, the reader is never bored with Giovanni’s investigation.

At the end of the book when Gabriella is writing the newspaper story that ties things up, the reader should be thinking Pulitzer for her investigative reporting. Giovanni has hit the big time with a national story. The same is true of Ms. Belcamino. She is on the cusp of being included in the same breath of America’s best mystery writers. For my money, she has hit the big time.

Dru’s Book Musing

Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino is the third book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, April 2015

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni stumbles onto a horrific crime scene with only one survivor—a baby girl found crawling between the dead bodies of her family members. Reeling from the slaughter, Gabriella clings to the infant. When Social Services pries the little girl from her arms, the enormity of the tragedy hits home. Diving deep into a case that brings her buried past to the forefront, Gabriella is determined to hunt down the killer who left this helpless baby an orphan.

But one by one the clues all lead to a dead end, and Gabriella’s obsession with finding justice pulls her into a dark, tortuous spiral that is set to destroy everything she loves. . .

This fast-paced drama was so explosive that I could not put this book down. The author’s writing style was so grippingly devious that I was immediately pulled in and landed right in the middle of all the action which didn’t stop until the last chess piece was played. The complexity of the situations immersed me in this emotional roller coaster ride that I wasn’t sure if Gabby would survive all that she faced. This was a nail-biting, adrenaline-fueled drama filled with intrigue, suspense and the need for answers at all cost. Kristi is a force to be reckoned with in the crime fiction arena and I look forward to the next book in this terrific series.

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP by Kristi Belcamino reviewed

Literati Literature Lovers

“Blessed Are Those Who Weep is a story dealing with betrayal, manipulation, cover-up, and obsession. It has a gripping plot and believable characters. Although many social issues are discussed it is done through a riveting action packed story. The intensity begins with the very first page and does not let up.” – Working Mother

Girl Detective

Gabriella is a crime reporter for a San Francisco newspaper, and has a hot Irish cop boyfriend named Sean Donovan. The two of them are having a rough patch, though, after some recent trouble I won’t divulge. We don’t get into that, though, until after the riveting opening scene, which I could describe but will quote instead because I think it’s terrific. When I heard Kristi read this aloud recently, the noisy bar became pin-drop quiet, and throughout there were gasps of horror.

At first I think she is a doll. Sitting there so still on the floor in her pink dress, chubby legs sticking out from her diaper, big black eyes unblinking, staring at something I can’t see. A ribbon hangs loose in her hair. Something that looks like chocolate is smeared around her mouth and one cheek.

The front door is only open wide enough to frame her small body in the dim light. I can’t see the rest of the room.

“Mrs. Martin?” The words echo in the silent apartment. At my voice, the baby turns her head toward me in what seems like slow motion. Even though the apartment door was ajar when I arrived, something stops me from pushing it open more. My hand hangs in the air, frozen. The rhythmic drip of a faucet is eerily loud. And something smells funny. Off. A smell I recognize but cannot place. A smell that increases my unease.

“Are you in there Mrs. Martin? It’s Gabriella Giovanni from the Bay Herald. We spoke yesterday.”

Silence.

As if my voice has flicked a switch, the child moves and talks, babbling. “Mamamama, Maaamamama.” She picks something up. Something floppy and pale and long. Something with short red fingernails. An arm.

A wave of panic rises in me as I figure out what I smell. (p. 1-2)

That baby, crawling among the dead bodies of her family, becomes a lifeline for Gabriella, who was already having a tough time emotionally before she stumbled on that crime scene. The baby’s father is in the army and deployed abroad. As Gabriella works to piece together what happened, she begins to suspect the father isn’t as far away as he seems. Those around her think she’s crazy, and given what she’s gone and going through, she might be. It’s an uphill fight for her to keep searching for answers to keep that baby safe, and one that builds until the very end. She goes up the chain of command in the military, into a sex club, a dojo, and by the end of the book has figured out how these all intersect.

One of the pleasures of this book and the ones that precede it, is that Gabriella is both endearingly and sometimes frustratingly real. This is no picture-perfect top model cruising around in her convertible, solving mysteries without breaking a nail. Gabriella, or Ella to her loved ones, stumbles in her heels, wears the wrong outfit to a crime scene, and (usually) eats baguettes and pastries with gusto. She has a day job and has to work for a living. Here, she’s also depressed and making bad personal decisions, the kind that make me want to give her a shake and yell, “Snap out of it!” She’s being passive-aggressive with her boyfriend, ducking calls from her mom, and cancelling her therapy appointments. Gabriella is realistically flawed and human, and I truly enjoy spending time with her, even when she’s in a sorry state, as she is for much of the book. As with all the books, we get to see Gabriella’s Catholic faith and symbols throughout, and spend time and eat vicariously at the bountiful table of her Italian grandmother.

I enjoyed the story as well as the characters, and tore through this book in under 24 hours. It has a tremendous need-to-know-what-happens factor, both for the baby and for Gabriella. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series, and to seeing what Gabriella is up to in the future.

Authors on the Air

Kristi Belcamino delivers a gripping story as she brings Gabriella Giovanni to life on the pages of BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP. She gives her main character the instincts of a seasoned newspaper reporter and also shows personal feelings regarding work, love and family.

The drama of Belcamino’s story unfolds when Gabriella arrives for an interview and finds 5 dead bodies and a small child. Belcamino shares Gabriella’s history and explains how her past affects. The author delves into her main character life as a reporter and her personal life. Gabriella’s obsession to find the murderer is interfering with her role as a reporter. All of her actions are upsetting her boss, police, her family, and her lover.

On top of horrible murders, the author’s BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP is a story dealing with betrayal, manipulation, political cover-up, and depression. As each support character enter the storyline, the author shares their history and how each will affect the story. She also helps her readers understand some of the personal issues Gabriella is dealing with and how her actions are affecting those she loves.

The action in Belcamino’s BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP never slows down. The author places her readers at Gabriella’s side as she follows clues that uncover corrupt cops, connection to drugs, and secret journals. She also helps readers understand the importance of the surviving child and why Gabriella is sure she has the answers.

BLESSED AT THOSE WHO WEEP demonstrates the importance of family and how the willingness to forgive others and oneself is important. Belcamino’s story provides thought provoking lessons to readers. How the case is solved and how Gabriella deals with personal issues will require readers to read the entire story. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP is a must read and earns a 5 star ranking. – John Kurtze

Q&A on WORD NERDS

What other writers are saying:

“In this third installment of her Gabriella Giovanni mystery series, Belcamino continues to up the ante, creating even more tension and more page-turning suspense than ever. While perfectly suitable to stand on its own for the uninitiated reader, Blessed Are Those Who Weep rewards readers of the first two books with Gabriella’s continued development as someone whose painful past serves as motivation for her pursuit of justice. It starts out with a bang of a gruesome scene, which pulls at the heartstrings even while we flinch in disgust. Though there’s plenty of blood and crime, some of the most tension-ridden scenes are those between Giovanni and the man she loves, Donovan.

Even after the main plot plays out to its suspenseful climax, even as things are winding down, the reader is left wanting more, because the author has skillfully woven a subplot that runs through all three books and—we just know it—will continue into the fourth.” David Pennington, author of PEER THROUGH TIME

What readers are saying:

In the third Gabriella Giovanni mystery, Kristi Belcamino takes the reader on an intense hunt for both a vicious killer and the innocent child that may fall victim to his cruelty. As the danger grows for Gabriella and those who are trying to identify and apprehend the murderer, she courageously risks her life, as well as her relationship with the man she loves, in order to stop the carnage. The story is gripping and the characters are genuine. The interplay works well between Gabriella’s personal hopes and dreams and her desire to find justice on a much larger scale in the world. I can’t wait for the next book! – Liz on Goodreads

Buy this Book!
Why?
The third novel in the Gabriella Giovanna lives up to the great promise of the first two novels in the series. All three are can’t put down, page turners.
In this third installment, Gabriella is haunted by the past, to the point of jeopardizing her relationship with her fiancé, and her health.
Through it all, Gabriella perseveres, to an exciting conclusion.
I can’t wait for the next novel in the series. – Douglas Cronk on Goodreads

“Once again the author takes a riveting plot and places the reader in the middle of the action. The story is adrenaline-fueled, fast pace, hold you on the edge of your seat action from beginning to end.” – Mason Canyon, reviewer

“Blessed Are Those Who Weep was a great story in a thriving series. Ms. Belcamino arms Gabriella with great instinct. Details are gritty and intense and she never shies from the emotional and complicated issues. I look forward to the next installment and development of this character!” – THE READING CAFE

“This story grabs you by the throat from the beginning and never lets go. The heroine, Gabriella Giovanni, leads you through a maze of compelling characters and twisting events until you arrive at an ending that will leave you breathless. But it’s not the heart-pounding ending you’ll read for. It’s Gabriella herself. A heroine who’s brilliant yet vulnerable, brave yet all too human. Pick it up today, then kick back with a glass of red wine, a hanky, and a do not disturb sign.” — KISS AND THRILL

“Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino is the third Gabriella Giovanni mystery. It is a story dealing with betrayal, manipulation, cover-up, and obsession. It has a gripping plot and believable characters. Although many social issues are discussed it is done through a riveting action packed story. Gabriella finds a horrific crime scene with only one survivor, a baby girl covered in the blood of her family members. The intensity begins with the very first page and does not let up.” — CRIMESPREE

Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino is an excellent crime novel. From the very first page readers are grabbed with the storyline. The theme is very relevant to real-life since it concentrates on when to let go. – Blackfive

“This book is seriously in another level of thriller…
If you want me to give stars, it will 5/5 stars, mainly because it is a mystery worth solving and there are demons worth slaying (this is not a supernatural book ok). Definitely worth reading” — Penny For My Thoughts

“There was a lot of mystery and it was a page turner but I will warn you. When it first starts in the beginning I wasn’t sure I would be able to read the whole book. The description of the crime scene was so detailed and then there was a baby involved. The baby is the only survivor when an entire family is murdered. Ella and the baby connect in a way that was very emotional for me. I had to put the book down and gather courage to read the rest of the book. It really was a very well written book and it had me guessing all the time. I liked the book and would recommend this to anybody that likes crime mysteries and suspense. Believe me there is a lot of that in this book.” – Book Fanatic