Kennedy Stern has returned to campus after surviving an abduction, but old scars cut deep. Vivid flashbacks and terrifying dreams paralyze her, threatening to ruin her academic career and any chance she has at peace or happiness. This mental anguish, however, constitutes only a small fraction of her post-traumatic nightmare.
A partner in Kennedy’s kidnapping remains at large and will not stop until he has silenced her witness permanently. His violent resolve risks not only her life, but the safety of anyone who tries to help.
Kennedy must engage in a deadly battle of the mind as she struggles to stay alive. While fighting on two fronts — one psychological and one physical — the question isn’t whether she’ll come out of the war stronger in the end.
The question is whether she’ll come out of it at all.
SERIES: Kennedy Stern #2
PUBLISHER: Alana Terry
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2015
PAGES: 164 pages
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The events of Paralyzed follow closely after the first book in the series, Unplanned. While many times I assure you that a series installment can be easily read as a stand-alone, I really think that in this case you would be better off reading Unplanned first. Never fear, though! Two things work in your favor right now – 1) Unplanned is really good and 2) it’s FREE currently on Amazon. You’re welcome 🙂
Alana Terry is a very unique writing voice in Christian suspense fiction. She’s not afraid to tackle the tough stuff, and the faith element is very strong. However, don’t mistake “very strong” for “preachy” or “political”. In fact, just about the time I thought it could cross over into preachy territory, the author threw in a curve ball that kept the character and the story from becoming a caricature.
The attack on the crisis pregnancy center in Unplanned for instance – Sandy recounts how a protester crossed the picket line to safely escort her inside because women, no matter their politics, need to stick together. Thus, we were able to see humanity and heart on both sides of the fence. Also in Unplanned, Kennedy struggles with helping the center after she sees the trauma Rose has endured – an honest and very believable reaction especially for a college student in the process of making her faith her own.
Likewise, in Paralyzed, Alana Terry deals with the subject of PTSD and counseling. Kennedy has endured much trauma over the past few weeks… and the hits keep coming in the current story. While people closest to her continue to recommend counseling, she insists if she just reads the Bible more and prays more – maybe goes to church more regularly – she will be okay. And yet, we see very plainly that she isn’t. As a depression/anxiety survivor, I have been in Kennedy’s shoes. In my case, my pastor at the time taught that Jesus alone should be the solution to depression and anxiety. And He is…. but sometimes you need some meds so that the chemicals in your brain can work properly & feel the peace that He offers. And sometimes you need a counselor to hold your hand, lift you up out of that pit, tell you that you aren’t alone and teach you what to do with what you already know to be true. While this thread isn’t resolved yet by the end of Paralyzed, I am interested to see where the author will take it in future books.
Another thing I like about this series is that you have to stay on your toes and pay attention! One little innocuous thing or person may play an important role later on in the next book. While I was reading Paralyzed, the description of the current goon out to get her rang a bell with me and even though Kennedy didn’t remember seeing him before I just knew I recognized the feature that the detective emphasized. Turns out I had to go back to Unplanned to find him but there he was! Blink and you’ll miss him 🙂 And then there’s this reporter that pops up in the first scene of Unplanned and a couple times after that … and then he’s mentioned again in Paralyzed. I have a feeling that he has something important to do with something important… but as yet we aren’t given any hints really as to what either of those somethings might be. Oh – and the slight hints of a romance angle whispering through both books but not really developed yet. All of these mysterious and unresolved elements very much keep me interested in the rest of the series!
The only real flaw I would mention is that, in Paralyzed, the plot is a bit farfetched … unless there’s something we’re not being told yet. If that proves to be true in the next book, I will happily eat those words 🙂 I did wonder about some of the police procedures – how they were able to hear things going on in the house (or car) one time and then not another time. WHY does Kennedy’s phone battery keep dying … and why for the love can she not remember to keep it charged? Little things like this poked at my more rational side, but again – given the tendency of this series to throw in seemingly-trivial information that plays a part later – I might be nitpicking prematurely.
Bottom Line: Fast-paced action, well-written narrative, and intriguing characters make this a nice way to spend an evening. The realistic look at what it means to live – and struggle – as a follower of Jesus will appeal to both Christians and non-Christians, in my opinion. The clues dropped from one book to the next ensure that this whole series is an ideal read for puzzle and mystery lovers. Bring on the next book!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / Liked it!
About the Author:
Alana Terry is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.