So, I finished the second book in the duet, and oh my, I can’t get it out of my head. This was just an emotionally draining novel... Wow! I don’t want to go on and on about it because I’m afraid that it would give too much of the heart of the story away. And, I just don’t want to accidently divulge too many details and wreck someone having the experience to come away from this book overwhelmed, enthralled, and simply just satisfied with the author’s attempt to empower a dire situation as far as human trafficking goes and what it can lead to. Ms. Roberts did absolute justice to both main characters as the novel finally ended. The outcome was so surreal – couldn’t be happier of how the author chose to end their story. Definitely a book that I would recommend as long as you can handle a darkly disturbing situation that is graphic, abusive, and hard-core. It’s not a read to be taken lightly.
Livvie is no longer in Caleb’s custody, and the story is now being told from a series of flashbacks through the perspective of Livvie being held in police protection while in a mental hospital. We see her trying to explain her story to a forensic social worker for the FBI, Janice Sloan, and FBI agent, Matthew Reed, while trying to deal with the aftermath of what might have happened to Caleb and everyone that had been residing in the mansion where she had been “held captive”. She’s changed considerably from that shy hidden young girl to a more challenging and confident woman. There were a few additional supporting characters that were added to this new installment of the series. The addition of Matthew Reed just seemed like the author was trying to prove the point that some damaged souls can repair themselves without turning to a life of crime and brutality while others are incapable of digging themselves out of the inferno that has consumed their entire existence. It’s a sad lonely task to finally admit the truth about a life so despicable and barbaric that hopefully someday will lead to a life where honesty and human compassion prevails. Matthew also had suffered as a young child, but was able to somewhat reform his abuse into a rather positive direction – catching the bad guys. Unlike Caleb who was fueled with revenge, probably brainwashed by his only friend, Rafiq, Matthew tried to help seek justice for those who suffered at the hands of monsters. Rafiq, what a bastard! From the moment that the guy was introduced in Book 1, I just couldn’t trust him. He reeked of munipulation and torture...never caring for anyone but himself – treating people like animals, especially the women he came in contact with. I’d like to see him on the other side of someone else’s leash! The author definitely wrote him perfectly as the monster that he truly was. It’s hard to believe that there are really people living today in that same torturous manner. He definitely got what was coming to him as the story was wrapping up – “snaps” for Caleb, as my kids would say when somebody does something to cheer about.
I knew that something big was going to explode when the whole truth came out about Caleb’s past because I just couldn’t understand how a blue-eyed blonde-haired little boy could be wrapped up in a child sex smuggling ring way over in Tehran. Something sinister must have occurred for a child to suffer to that extreme. I think the more that I heard about Caleb’s past, the more that I fell in love with his character. At least the protective and fleetingly compassionate part. Not that his brutal treatment of Livvie was acceptable, but he was definitely torn up about what was more important to him – loyalty to a murderous bastard like Rafiq or a chance for a new beginning trying to reform his monsterous ways and love Livvie. I deeply believe that he wanted to change his abusive ways, but he didn’t know how since that’s all that he’s ever known. He actually needed someone to begin to see some good in him, as strange as that may seem. The man would be looking at some serious years of therapy if done correctly. And also for Livvie to heal emotionally, it would take a lot of time and patience.
Wow, I just can’t get over this book. Even during reading it, I was flinching with emotion when some of the horrying treatments of Livvie and the other women abused were described. The author was just captivating with her realistic descriptive behaviors and sadistic liaisons. It was totally unsettling, and I’m still shocked as to the aftereffect that it is having on me. Not too many books affect me like this. Can’t wait to read another novel by this brilliant author, C.J. Roberts!
REVIEW WRITTEN, 1/15/13