“She couldn’t tell anyone her name, she couldn’t let him find her”
- Book: Save Her Child
- Location: Cambria County
- Author: C J Lyons
Oh My Goodness! I so want to go back to the beginning of this series, just so that I can flesh out a few of the details surrounding the past lives of Luka and Leah. However, I think that in all reality, author C.J. Lyons has done such an expert job of including most of the salient details, in just enough depth and detail, and at exactly the right time, that I might just need to consider this to be the start of my journey, but one which I shall be sure to continue with, as I have so many high hopes and expectations for this partnership and what their personal and professional lives have in store for them.
The opening lines from both the prologue and first chapter set the scene and had me hitting the ground running, as the action kicked in with those very first words. From then on the pace was relentless and just when I thought it was okay to stop and take a breath, something else happened which had me glued to the edge of my seat and urging the team on again. The ending was conclusive enough for case closure, making this an excellent stand alone story, although for our main protagonists there were probably more personal questions than answers, which is the hook that is set for me to keep wanting, no needing, to come back for more!
This multi-layered, intense and textured storyline of murder, deception, double cross and retribution, is written with consummate ease and total authority, by an author who knows exactly where she ultimately wants to lead both her characters and readers, and by what devious and twisted path she wants to take them. The red herrings are spread liberally and often, and it would only be the very astute who didn’t trip over at least one or two of them along the way, I know I did! It was so easy to become immersed in this complicated and devious plot, which is rich in atmosphere, where the air is constantly crackling with tension, the narrative is visually descriptive, and the dialogue astute and observational. The chapters are at just the right length to be engaging, yet fluid enough to keep the pace fast-moving and the action seamless and affording a real sense of time and place.
When the investigations begin to mount up at an alarming rate and threaten to overwhelm this small team’s resources, it comes as something of a relief when they work out that at least two of them are connected, although like myself, Luka had a suspect and motive list far too long to be feasible. A timely combination of good luck, assured tenacity and changing dynamics, all helps reduce the information overload to manageable proportions, leading to an end-game which is fraught with danger, replete with several unexpected and desperate interventions, and an inevitability which leaves no-one physically unscathed or emotionally traumatised.
Meanwhile, the third investigation has been left to the newest member of the team, Naomi Harper, to ‘cut her teeth’ on, although Luka still manages to make sure that she is coping okay, offer her strategic advice when she starts to make things too personal, and not let her get in too far out of her depth. Little do either of them know, that whilst the links are rather tenuous, this case will overlap with the central investigation, by dint of Naomi’s familial relationships with some of Luka’s suspects, forcing Naomi into the unenviable position of having to choose sides so early on in her career. Having spent much of her young life trying to fit into this established family unit and failing miserably on all counts, there are some rewarding and heart-warming outcomes for her, from the most unexpected of places and although the seeds of acceptance and belonging may still be fragile there are definite green shoots for her to embrace and encourage.
I became completely invested in the cast of complex, yet well drawn and defined characters, who make up this rural community policing unit. Luka is a good strong leader for them, who whilst he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, always manages to make time to listen to the thoughts and views of others, whilst ensuring that although he plays to their strengths, he also makes certain they address their weaknesses, so that all pull their weight evenly. The author had some excellent dynamics and synergy going on between them, which made them totally relatable and honest, both to each other and to me as a reader. Leah has only recently joined the periphery of the team in an advisory capacity, but she is already proving to be an invaluable asset, in a role in which she naturally excels and which she looks set to make her own in the future.
Luka and Leah are both in the midst of not only some serious career choices, but have personal and emotional demons to expunge, excess baggage to compartmentalise and store away and decisions to make not only for themselves, but for those who ultimately depend on them. Only then can a future of hope and promise reach potential fulfilment, or at least those are my hopes and wishes for them. See, I am a romantic at heart, who would have guessed!!