Review: Taken by Dee Henderson

April 29, 2015 Christian, contemporary, Dee Henderson, mystery/suspense, romance 2

Taken

Book Description: 

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand,
and his new client, missing far too long…

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets. 

My Review: This book had me on the edge of my seat right from the beginning and kept me trying to unravel all the mysteries behind Shannon’s disappearance right along with Matthew.  Ms. Henderson, with the help of Shannon, fed us just enough information to keep us intrigued (though at times on the edge of frustrated lol) and engaged, anxiously waiting for the next stash-point, the next diary, the next piece of information she revealed in conversation. Yet, she graciously left some parts of Shannon’s history blank – known only to Shannon, her captors, and Matthew (after he read the diaries) – so we the readers aren’t haunted by her nightmares too.

I absolutely LOVED seeing Rachel and Cole from the O’Malley series!!! I may or may not have bounced happily on my couch when I first saw them mentioned and realized with joy who they were.  Except I totally did. You know that stupid grin you get on your face when you’re watching a TV show starring an actor or actress who used to be in another TV show and a costar from that first series makes a cameo appearance in the new series? Yeah, it felt like that and I’m grinning again. I just love little nods like that from the author to her longtime fans.

The romances in Dee’s books are never flashy, never heart-stopping, never breathless.  Instead they are always sweet and always gentle and always steady.  It’s a pleasure to watch the characters develop a true friendship that slowly blooms into an enduring love over the course of the book.  Shannon and Matthew were no exception, and my heart lifted at all the hope on the horizon for them after what they’ve both experienced in life.

The only thing that dimmed my enthusiasm for the book somewhat was the length of the “God parts”. Don’t misunderstand me – I love my Savior, and I love reading books that affirm my relationship with Him. BUT I don’t need to read in 6 paragraphs what I could understand in 1 paragraph.  Shannon’s faith in spite of what happened to her was so precious and affirming. I just felt that some of her explanations about how her faith survived her abduction and her years in captivity dragged a little long.  They bordered on sermons, in my opinion, and you know how I feel about that  – if I want to read a sermon, I will read non-fiction.  When I read fiction, I want a story. I certainly want the “God parts” to be in there – that’s why I read Christian fiction – but maybe in the future we could condense them into something more conversational and less sermonal. (I know – ‘sermonal’ isn’t a word. Relax, I’m an English teacher. I can make up words. It’s allowed.) And actually, this can apply to some of the other characters’ explanations too – about the investigation process, about how artists sell their work, etc. Many of those got rather lengthy too, and I had to control my twitchy “advance” finger to keep it from skipping past those pages on my Kindle app.

(On a side note while we’re sorta on the subject – Matthew’s prayer of grace before one of the meals toward the end of the story has to be one of my favorite “book prayers” ever!! I chuckled, I grinned like an idiot, I melted a little, and I thanked God that He loves to have conversations like that with His children.)

Overall I really enjoyed Taken! It had just the right blend of mystery, tension, romance, faith, friendship, and surprises to keep me engaged from the first page to the last. I give Taken 4 out 5 stars!

(I was graciously provided with a free copy of Taken by Netgalley in cooperation with Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.)

Taken was released yesterday, April 28th, 2015!! Happy book birthday, Taken and Dee Henderson!!

Carrie

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