4 stars out of 5
This certainly isn't the most pleasant book I've ever read, and I caution that those who are disturbed by the subject of sex trafficking of children may want to steer clear of it. I'll also point out that as the description points out, this is the first in a trilogy; and for better or worse, it ends with a mother of all cliffhangers. If you want to find out how the story continues, you'll have to read the next one (which, for the record, is titled Outrage, set for release Sept. 20, 2016).
This one begins as schoolteacher Faith McMann comes home to find that her husband and two young children have been taken captive by a couple of very nasty guys. When the men don't get the answer to the question they pose, they slit both her and her husband's throats. He doesn't make it, but in his haste to get away one of the killers botches her murder and she survives. What happened to the children, though, is a mystery; Faith knows only that they are missing. She's understandably devastated, but when the police don't seem to be taking the kidnapping as seriously as she thinks they should, she gets, well, furious, and decides to take matters into her own hands.
Along the way, she gets help from her parents, her brother, her very pregnant sister and her sister's husband. And when she's forced to attend an anger management class in lieu of jail time after she bashed a detective over the head with a computer keyboard in frustration when he failed to pay sufficient attention to her children's disappearance, Faith meets a couple of oddball folks who share her fervor and jump into what quickly turns into a dangerous fray.
Chapters shift between Faith's relentless efforts to find her kids and what's going on in the lives of the baddies and captured children. Slowly, the two scenes converge as more pieces of the puzzle are revealed. Interspersed are Faith's recollections of scenes from their once idyllic family life (they're printed in italics). Honestly, I never quite got the point of those, except perhaps to suspect they're intended to show a more "normal" side of an otherwise totally overwrought woman who has become incapable of thinking, speaking or doing anything that doesn't involve the search for her kids.
In the end, I agree that sex trafficking is a serious issue that needs more attention. And I've personally witnessed what happens when parents become obsessed over something awful that's happened to their children; watching what they went through wasn't pretty, nor is it here. My concern, though, is that in several places the author ventures into preachy territory. Mind you, that's not a fatal flaw - the likes of John Grisham and Brad Thor have done the same on more than one occasion and they both remain on my list of favorite authors. But no matter who's guilty of over-politicizing, it is to me a detriment to any book as a whole (prompting my rating in this case of 4 stars rather than 5). Still, it's a solid effort, and I thank the author and publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.
Furious by T.R. Ragan (Thomas & Mercer, March 2016); 318 pp.