This is a Christian suspense thriller that starts off with an adrenaline rush and keeps the momentum going until the end of the story. The first half of the book puts the reader into the middle of an intense hostage crisis involving a gun-wielding teenager holding his teacher and fellow students until a ransom is paid and his younger brother is released by the drug cartel holding him captive.
When that situation is resolved, for better or worse, it seems that the rest of the book will take the reader through the aftermath of said events as those involved try to sort out motives and culpability and deal with their emotional trauma. It is impossible not to relate to Emily's feelings as she says: "Why was everyone asking her if she was okay? She wasn't okay. She wasn't sure she would ever be okay again. Or at least she would never look at things the same." And " She shook her head wondering how long it took to shake the fear that had surrounded her the past few hours. How long would it take to forgive herself for not saving (everyone)? How long would her heart hurt because things had ended this way?"
Unfortunately, however, the crisis is not over; the nightmare continues with new victims. Everything Emily, and the reader, thought was true is turned upside down as the action goes racing off in the new direction in the second half of the book. I don't want to spoil the story with more information, but suffice to say, the roller coaster ride continues.
The reader is introduced to the Hunt family in the first book in the Southern Crimes series, DANGEROUS PASSAGE, but this second book is well able to stand alone. While the first book emphasized the story of Avery, a homicide detective, this book is gives her sister, Emily, the starring role. Emily is the teacher in the classroom, and the gunman is a student she mentored. Her niece, Avery's daughter, Tess, is one of the hostages. Mason, the undercover cop hero is the same man that Avery blames for the death of their brother, Michael. All of these characters are likeable, true-to-life people who are motivated by desire to do good in the world and a sense of intense responsibility for making bad things right. They draw strength from their faith, and their prayers for guidance and help flow naturally as integral components of their lives.
I received the book in a Goodreads giveaway, but the opinions are my own.
Emily is from a family where every member is in, or connected to Law Enforcement, and she is so not up to the challenge.
A High School Teacher, and glad to be so far from the Law Enforcement part of life and living, especially after a broken engagement and her Brother's murder, both in Law Enforcement.
But doesn't everything she's trying to cringe away from come knocking on her classroom door when she becomes involved in a Hostage Situation locked down in her classroom with an old flame, as the on site negotiator?
Wait-it gets worse, after they think the situation is resolved, her Niece is abducted, the Safe House she is sent to is compromised, the Cartel finds her_!
Does the terrible, horrible, gross day never end? Does it end well, or at least as well as it can? Who gets out of the Hospital, gets involved in the Niece Hunt, who's recovered alive, and who was behind it all anyway?
Those old boyfriends can be a problem_especially when they think you are still in love with them. Yes, it can get more traumatizing, it's the moment that you wish you could forget about, but there is a surprising end, very surprising end to the story, and a sequel!
You know, this is not my genre-but the writing style will draw you in. If you stop reading or skip parts as being really stressful, you'll still enjoy the rest of the book
Her family might be full of cops, but Emily is quite happy being a school teacher, thank you.
Then Mason, an undercover cop who might be involved in her brother's death, comes along and has the nerve to ask her to help out in his case. That's a definite no until she finds out the brother of one of her students has been kidnapped.
That's just the beginning. Emily and family members end up having their lives endangered. It's like running through a rat's maze trying to find the answers.
This is another of those books that you won't want to put down. And then there's the ending.
It is going to leave you hanging big time. There's a short teaser at the end from book three of the Southern Crimes series due out in the spring of 2015. Ms Harris, can you please write a little faster? I don't think I can wait a year.
***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***
What a roller coaster ride! Once you start reading Fatal Exchange the pace picks up and never slows. I loved that. There's nothing quite like curling up on a rainy day with an awesome mystery book and Fatal Exchange fit the bill. I was completely enthralled into the story and was lost in its pages for a couple hours, hardly able to set the book down.
I did not read the previous book in this series, nonetheless, I didn't feel like I was missing anything. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I will say, after I tore through Fatal Exchange, I'll be going back to find Dangerous Passage for certain. Harris writes in a fluid style that leaves you turning pages.
I really, really, liked Emily and Mason. I felt I could relate to certain aspects of their character. They felt so real! I was so thankful for how accurately Emily's emotions were portrayed after everything she went through. I cringe when I read about characters who breeze through life having unrealistic reactions to traumatic events. I also felt Mason's internal struggles were justifiable. I found myself thankful again that his growing relationship with Christ wasn't stilted or forced, rather the opposite. I appreciate Godly characters so much.
The "mystery" and thrill in and of itself was fantastic and different for me, personally. I will definitely be looking up more of Harris's works and digging into Dangerous Passage when I have time. Why, oh, why must we wait until Spring '15 for the next book?? I highly recommend to fellow readers of mystery/thrillers. There really wasn't much romance in the story, but if there had been more than there was, it wouldn't have flowed. I recommend to readers fifteen or older due to the nature of the story. Things to know: There are at least ten murders either mentioned or presented in the story, though not given in grotesque detail. There is a drug cartel.
I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!