Published by Outskirts Press, Inc.
Reviewed for Review the Book
Being burned is a very tragic event, especially when it is a baby who is badly burned, even through the efforts to keep this to a minimum by her father who is also burned. A tragedy which could so easily happen through a brain focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time. An overtired brain, a stressed brain, or in this case, a distracted brain.
The big game is on TV and Jim, the father, is baby-sitting his nine month old daughter, Anna, who is currently sleeping, to give his wife, Sharon, some time out with her friend Katie. When he hears Anna fussing, he does all the right things, cleaning her, changing her, and putting her bottle on to warm. What he doesn't realize is going to change all their lives in the next several minutes. A gas explosion is going to set the house on fire, not a small fire but a raging fire. Jim's efforts to get the baby out of her crib are next to impossible. The crib is burning and as he tries to bring her out avoiding the worst of the flames surrounding her, she falls through the side of the fiery crib. He does the right thing to try to protect her, stumbles outside and passes out.
When Sharon arrives at the hospital she learns both that her husband will survive, but Anna has been so badly burned it will mean a long recovery at best, but they don't know at this point if she will survive. Though the doctor does not want Sharon to see her at this time, she absolutely insists, and this action will clinch the effects that soon will engulf the whole family. Sharon will soon turn her back on her husband and they will be separated. The stage is now set for the mystery part of the book.
J.A. Nevling certainly knows how to write emotion. He also knows how to write a sequence of awful proportions in a way that the reader knows what is going on, but is not horrified to the extent that he/she will find the book so upsetting it will be impossible to read further. The reader instead will stay focused on the story as it unfolds and will have trouble putting it down. This book is meant to be read. It will be emotional by its nature, but there is so much more than the fire and its results. Once Sharon has moved away, Anna is going through her various treatments, and Jim is dealing with his feelings of guilt, remorse, and the loss of Sharon, the mystery portion of the book begins to unfold.
Sharon has found a small apartment and a good job at Prescott Industries, a new life she can not quite separate from the old. When a marriage is based on real love, it doesn't separate easily. Yet soon it becomes apparent that a transition has happened in Sharon's personality. She can't understand it, she often sleeps too much and feels strangely different. She seems to lose time, her ability to focus has changed, and she has some memory lapses. When she is run off the road as a car rams her from behind, she begins to feel someone is out to kill her. The detectives she talks to have some doubts but decide they should look into it. This is a real mystery, and there are several suspects, but the ending is shocking, and at the same time satisfying. This book is a definite adventure in reading. It speaks to the fallibility of people, love in its truest form, runs the gamut of several emotions, and is well worth the read. I enjoyed the book, which seems strange in light of the difficulties involved, but that is how well-written it is.