Book Review: Split Sense by Barbara Ellen Brink

Split Sense – Suspense & Intrigue

If you love mystery and intrigue, Split Sense by Barbara Ellen Brink is a perfect choice. Not only does it offer a story you won’t want to put down, but it will take you on a journey that pits those of faith against the faithless who endeavor to control the world. This book was the winner of the 2011 Grace Award, and I couldn’t agree more with the honor bestowed.

I chose this book because I was seeking an escape from the world problems that currently seem suffocating and it was a perfect choice. The book immediately jerked me into the love/hate relationship I’ve always had with the pharmaceutical industry and the greed and corruption that can sometimes surround it.

Split Sense will keep you engaged for hours.
Split Sense by Barbara Ellen Brink forces you to take a new look at Pharmaceutical Companies.

The Story

We follow the life of Alexander Howard, known to his family as “Zander.” Zander begins to discover that his entire life has been a lie. What reaction would a teen have after learning he has been part of a highly secretive science project by Howard Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the Twin Cities?

The suspense and intrigue of the family secrets surrounding Zander and his father, who will one day inherit Howard Pharmaceuticals, is shaded by an unethical Minnesota politician and a scientist who holds nothing sacred…especially the lives of the innocent children he has been injecting since birth.

Having lived in the Twin Cities, the book seemed all-too-real as I found myself becoming more involved with each new page. I have a real love-hate relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and this book awakened all the secret fears I’ve had about human and animal experimentation over the years.

You will share Zander’s joy when he discovers a twin the scientists believed had died shortly after birth. But, will he be able to save them both in the end? Or, will the crazy scientist and his robot-like evil twins destroy everything?

The book’s pacing is perfect and the characters are well-rounded. After reading this book, I have no doubts as to why it won the award. 5 Stars!

About the Author

Barbara Ellen Brink is the author of the romantic mystery series, The Fredrickson Winery Novels. Her young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, was mentioned in Newsweek Magazine as “a welcome departure from the typical Amish fare,” and is now optioned for screenplay! Barbara Ellen Brink’s thriller, Split Sense, won the Grace Award for speculative fiction in 2012; her young adult novel, Chosen, was a finalist the following year; and Much Ado About Murder won the Grace Award for mystery/suspense in 2017.

She loves riding her motorcycle, hiking in the woods with her dog, and spending time with her husband, adult children, and friends. Faith, family, and friendships are what keep her going… along with a habitual shot of chocolate at least once a day.

Barbara is currently working on the Double Barrel Mysteries series. The first three books, Roadkill, Much Ado About Murder, and MidSummer Madness are available now!

More from Barbara Ellen Brink

Those who love mystery will love Barbara Ellen Brink's books.
Barbara Ellen Brink has written more books beyond “Split Sense.”

Running Home

Ivy’s husband has always been a cheat and a liar, but when he gets caught up in a game of espionage he flees the country with his latest bimbo, and Ivy has finally had enough. She packs up the kids and moves back to her hometown to escape the fallout. Trouble is – her problems don’t stay behind in California, but follow her all the way to Omaha, Nebraska.

The FBI is tracking her every move, hoping she’ll lead them to her fugitive husband, while evil men threaten her family’s safety if she doesn’t give them what they want.

Agent Samson Sinclair is assigned to keep an eye on Ivy. He is her only ally against threats and suspicions that come from every side. But can he keep their relationship professional when he finds himself falling for the woman he’s supposed to be protecting?

Ivy’s attempt to assemble the broken pieces of her life may prove harder than she anticipated. Especially on her own. When the past intrudes on the present Ivy is forced to deal with why she ran from God in the first place and whether faith, once lost, can ever really be found again.

Alias Raven Black

Brenna has lived most of her life just left of the right side of the law. While on vacation at a secluded ski resort, her past finally catches up with her. Her father, who she hasn’t seen since she ran away at sixteen, suddenly wants to reconcile.

Before she can make sense of that overture, the FBI whisk her off to Minneapolis. In exchange for a clean slate, she is recruited to work as a mole in the home of known mobster and suspected drug lord, Anthony Giordano. Under the alias, Raven Black, she becomes the nanny to Giordano’s children.

Brenna’s hands are full just learning to mother two spoiled kids, while her main objective, finding information that would put their father away for life, remains elusively out of reach.

Will the secrets she discovers bring absolution from the past she’s tried so hard to leave behind or simply tear her heart in two?


Savor the moment, cause it just might be your last…

Newly married, Billie and Handel find themselves knee-deep in another mystery. Defending a wealthy San Francisco businessman against capital murder charges, Handel soon discovers that media attention brings more than fame and fortune. When Billie’s life is threatened, he believes it’s connected to the case, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Across the vineyard, Margaret has problems of her own. Davy’s Italian grandfather is in town and starts right in where his son left off. Throwing the weight of his money around, he intends to prove that Davy would be better off living with him in Italy. To complicate things further, Billie and Adam’s mom flies in from Minnesota and starts dating the man who is making Margaret’s life miserable.

Romance is in the air at the Fredrickson Winery this summer. Sip a glass of Sangria and fall in love with the characters all over again.
SAVOR, the 3rd Fredrickson Winery Novel continues the saga of the Fredricksons and Parkers as they run a small California winery and find love and mystery in the Napa Valley. Savor celebrates the joy of romance, laughter, and family. Cheers!

Much Ado About Murder

Blake and Shelby Gunner’s plans to renovate the old boathouse go awry when murder comes calling…

Autumn in Port Scuttlebutt usually means a stormy Lake Superior, crisp temperatures, vibrant fall colors, and an invasion of deer hunters. This year, there’s also a shallow grave.

Someone killed Pete Dugan’s ex-wife and planted her under his woodpile. The police consider him the obvious suspect, but the Gunner’s have other ideas. What does the death of a pet squirrel, the sighting of a mysterious car, a break-in at the bed & breakfast, and the reappearance of three ex-cons into the community have to do with the murder of a middle-aged legal assistant?

No detective worth a grain of salt believes in coincidence. So when things start piling up that seem too quirky to be happenstance, Blake and Shelby have to decipher the clues and come up with the truth before a killer gets away with murder.


Blake and Shelby Gunner think they’re living the perfect life. He’s a hotshot homicide detective and she is doing what she loves best, small theatre acting. But after an arrest goes badly and Blake is shot and injured, they decide to leave the crime-ridden city for the quiet, quirky little hamlet where he grew up. Nestled along Lake Superior in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Port Scuttlebutt isn’t as calm and serene as they anticipated. Below an innocent Mayberry surface are secrets as dangerous as the great lake’s rip currents.

Staying at The Drunken Sailor Bed and Breakfast, they learn that the proprietor’s wife was killed in an unsolved hit-and-run and there’s more to this mystery than meets the eye. The mayor, the librarian, a homeless man, and a rich old woman all have legitimate motives for murder. Can the Gunners figure it out before the killer’s next victim is lying dead in the road?

Midsummer Madness

They say Lake Superior never gives up her dead. They also say you can’t keep a good man down. Sometimes spur-of-the-moment murders don’t go as planned.

When Blake and Shelby Gunner are hired to find a stolen fishing boat, they never expect it will turn into a murder investigation. But after Jack’s dog, Arthur, discovers a stranger’s body in the water not far from the bed & breakfast, the Gunners are pulled in to solve the case. Discovering the man’s identity and why he was in town leads to a murky past with connections to a number of upstanding Port Scuttlebutt citizens. Can Blake and Shelby stop a killer before someone else is pulled beneath the waves of madness?


Creating the perfect wine can sometimes be murder…

When Adam Fredrickson shows up at his sister’s California winery, footloose and carefree, looking for a temporary job and a chance to play his music, he doesn’t expect to find the winery struggling financially, or that the girl next door might just be the girl of his dreams.

Margaret Parker, a single mom, newly hired as Chief winemaker at Fredrickson’s, finds her simple world put to the test when her father is unexpectedly released from prison, and the man who got her pregnant at fifteen, shows up from Italy wanting to play daddy nine years too late.

It’s crush time at Fredrickson Winery and everyone is working feverishly to get the grapes in and ensure a great vintage. No one expects murder to be part of the joyous harvest season.


A Minneapolis attorney inherits a small California winery, reawakening memories that have lain dormant for twenty years. One summer of her childhood is a mystery she intends to solve. But digging up her past also lays bare the skeletons of others, including her mother’s. Entangled between what she once believed and a new reality, will she be able to live with the consequences of full disclosure?

The Complete Fredrickson Winery Series

This includes all three of the Fredrickson Winery Novels: ENTANGLED, CRUSHED, and SAVOR. If you’re looking for mystery, romance, and great wine, you’ve come to the right place. Head to the warm Napa Valley. The folks at the Fredrickson Winery are waiting for you…


(Book 1) — The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy by Barbara Ellen Brink

With tongue firmly in cheek and genuine Amish-made stakes at hand, The Amish Bloodsucker Trilogy sets off like a bat in the belfry. Jael the vampire slayer is ready to kick some serious bloodsucker butt. Seriously.

Move over Buffy – there’s a new slayer in town! Raised in the desert of Nevada, and destined for the Minnesota Loon Lake Amish Community, Jael Shetler is the Chosen One. Trained by her uncle and father in twenty-one different forms of hand-to-hand combat – she also throws a knife with the speed of a bullet and is accurate to within two centimeters of a cold, dead heart with her crossbow – she is a bloodsucker’s worst nightmare.

Her parents, forced to leave their plain and simple upbringing to escape the clutches of the new Bishop – an ancient and powerful vampire with plans to use the Amish Community as his own personal Jamba Juice – raise and train their daughter to continue the fight begun thousands of years earlier by another Jael, and to fulfill the prophecy in the Book of the Shunned. Soon Jael is turning sweet sixteen and then … all heck will break loose.


(Book 2) — The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy by Barbara Ellen Brink

Jael leaves Nevada and her close friends, Brianna and Shadow, behind. She travels to the Loon Lake Amish community in Minnesota where she moves in with grandparents she’s never met and learns to live the plain and simple life… at least as plain and simple as she can handle. She may learn to milk a goat, but she is definitely NOT giving up her cell phone or crossbow!

While finishing out the school year at Loon Lake Public High School, she meets the guy of her dreams…someone to keep her company when she’s out staking vampires at night.

Her true purpose is to destroy the Bishop, the oldest and most powerful vampire of all. But first, she must find out just what his diabolical plans are for the teenagers of the community and put a stop to him and his undead followers before it’s too late.


(Book 3) – The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy by Barbara Ellen Brink

The Bishop is growing his vampire followers by leaps and bounds, feeding on the naturally rebellious teenage population. Jael tries to keep one step ahead of the undead and their schemes while maintaining a semi-normal life. But living Amish while still being considered an outsider is beginning to wear on her.

With old friends in town for the summer and a boyfriend as loyal as Captain America, Jael is never short of help. Slaying vamps and having people around that you love can be a dangerous combination. Jael has some hard decisions to make and she’s afraid not everyone will be on board.

Will she fulfill her destiny or fall into the Bishop’s trap?

The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy Kindle Edition

Purchase all three as a Kindle download.

You can learn more about Author Barbara Ellen Brink here:


Amazon Author Page







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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Split Sense by Barbara Ellen Brink

  1. Thank you so much for showcasing my books, Peggy. It was a very pleasant surprise on this rainy day when I saw your tweet and followed it to your site. Blessings to you!

    • You are most welcome, Barbara! Having worked in Minneapolis for the last 24 years of my career, I truly enjoyed both the book and the setting!!

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