Sunday, June 28

Taken by Dee Henderson

Shannon Bliss was abducted when she was sixteen and forced into living with and helping the Jacoby crime family. After many long years she was finally able to escape. But returning to a normal life won’t be easy, and she knows it. She contacts Matthew Dane, a private investigator, to assist her in reentering society. If this is done right, she’ll be free.

The meeting between Matthew and Shannon occurs extremely early, leading to a strong and quick hook. From there, the story moves forward at a mostly constant pace. Author Dee Henderson uses Matthew as the primary protagonist, and we learn everything about Shannon at the same time he does, all the while getting insight into his response and understanding of her past.

This is a unique story, in that the main narrative does not follow Shannon’s kidnapping nor her escape attempt (though she does reveal bits of those moments), instead picking up after she has already escaped. The struggle of reentering society after being in captivity for so long isn’t something I considered before.

While I applaud Henderson for deciding to tell this end of the story, I also felt like it took some of the suspense and urgency out of the story as the most dangerous part was already done. Another part of this problem is because the story was told entirely from Matthew’s point of view. We learn pretty much everything we need to about him in the first part of the book. He’s a likeable character, but there wasn’t much depth to him. He had already been the ‘hero’ of his story and he ends up being a fairly boring character here. Shannon is a far more interesting person, and I would’ve loved to have gotten more insight into what she went through. Sure, we get a couple of journal entries that Matthew reads, but it’s still presented through his viewpoint and analysis.

Then, [and this might be considered a small spoiler by some, so be warned], there’s a short segment where we learn that Shannon wants to sell photographs. An artsy person looks at some photos she took and instantly declares that they could be worth millions. I’m sorry, but I felt like selling photographs was presented in a way that makes it seem far too easy. While I can accept that she might’ve been a very good photographer (or even a great photographer), I have a hard time believing that she would be able to make millions starting out (especially since they make it a point to only sell the photos under Shannon’s initials and not her full name).

Finally [again, another potential spoiler, so be warned], there was a bizarre romantic thread woven into the story. I won’t say much about it, other than it felt 100% out of place and a little bit creepy. It came out of nowhere and then decided to stick around. It could’ve been removed from the story with absolutely no ill effect.

While the writing itself was solid and the story moved at a decent pace, I felt like the most interesting parts of the story had already happened. Fans of Dee Henderson’s books will likely enjoy this [from what I’ve read, some characters from her other novels pop in], and those looking for a different twist on a private investigator story may find it a fast read. Unfortunately, I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone else.

2/5 Stars

I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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