Also by this author: The Fraud
Published by Penguin on March 7th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Legal, Psychological, Suspense, Thrillers
Source: personal copy
Judge Scott Sampson has the ideal job. As a federal judge, he can set his own schedule, allowing him to devote precious time to his six-year-old twins. Just as he's about to set out on his Wednesday swim date with the kids, his wife texts him to say they have a doctor's appointment and she'll be picking them up instead.
Yet when she arrives home a few hours later, she doesn't have the twins and she denies sending the text. Within minutes of her arrival they receive a call that will haunt them forever: their children have been kidnapped. In order to guarantee their safe return, Scott must promise to rule as they request on an upcoming trial he is to preside over. If he opts not to do exactly as they request, his children's lives are in imminent danger.
Thus begins a downward spiral of events. Scott's marriage is threatened, every alliance and friendship is questioned. He must put his own career, his reputation, life and marriage at risk in order to bring his children home.
I’ve been a fan of Brad Parks’ writing for some time now. I devoured his Carter Ross series and was quite intrigued to start reading this one. Parks himself said it is quite different, a departure from his previous series. I obtained a pre-publication electronic review copy and, just as I started to read, it expired and was wiped from my iPad.
Now, one might get angry should something like this transpire. Ok, fine, I was pretty furious. I wanted to read this book before Brad’s visit to my favorite independent bookstore, One More Page Books in Arlington, VA.
Instead, I took it as a sign. For those of you new to this author, or perhaps you haven’t had the chance to attend one of his book events, Brad is one of those authors who is completely open to his readers. He doesn’t go on and on about how easy it was to get his book published. He shares the dark and gritty sign of publishing to his fans.
Therefore, I knew Brad would go into detail about his experience in writing this most recent release. Given that it was so new, so different, I decided I wanted to hear the background story, Brad’s experience in writing it, before I read it myself.
Now, typically I want to go into reading a book without any preconceived notion of what may transpire, without any spoilers regarding the storyline. Yet, in this case I gave it a completely unique insight into the creation and evolution of this book, and the several (yes, several) books Brad threw away before arriving at this end result. I was prepared, yet not spoiled, as to what I was about to embark upon.
The end result? I was completely taken away by the sheer level of emotion, deeply personal and vulnerable, that Parks put into this novel. His passion for this story and what transpired cannot be ignored. He stated he wrote the story he was afraid to write, one that involved the loss of his children.
This isn’t a short read; at nearly 450 pages it’s truly an investment of your time. Without sounding cliche, I lost all track of time and space and completely devoured this in a matter of a few sittings.
The ordeal Scott and his family are forced to face is heartbreaking. On many occasions, it left my core shattered, wounded, seemingly unable to recover. That this author put so much effort into a book to cause such a reaction is pure evidence of his extreme talent.
I’m still reeling after finishing. Though I was a bit wary after Brad announced he was stepping away from the Carter Ross series, any inclination of doubt or concern were completely wiped away after reading this truly awe-inspiring read.
Now, this wouldn’t be a Brad Parks post unless I shared a sampling of his visit to One More Page. In addition to be a truly talented writer, Brad Parks can sing. A song from Hamilton, nonetheless!