Thursday, June 9, 2016

Taken by Dee Henderson

About the Book:

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long...

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.
When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her.
If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her--even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

My Thoughts:

Prepare yourself for a muddled review!  I might even come across a bit double-minded...but that's how "Taken" has left me.  I'm caught in a love/hate relationship with this one...let me tell you why.

Dee Henderson has been one of my Top Five All Time Favorite authors since I picked up my first mystery penned by herself.  And I'll be the first to admit how unfair it is to judge every sequential novel by the outstanding fiction that preceded said book.

There's no way Dee can ever recreate the magic that was the O'Malley series, and we shouldn't want her to.  That was a series Dee Henderson was born to craft, and it will stand the test of time and forever be a best selling series.

So when I opened to the first page of "Taken", I was going in fresh.  No expectation.  And I was surprised by what I'd found.  First and foremost, "Taken" was much longer than Dee's earlier novels...a trend I've noticed since her return to publication.  This one clocked in at 424 pages, and every page was necessary.

Second, Dee has started writing books that are more character driven rather than crime driven.  While I truly do enjoy a great criminal procedural, it is nice to come across a novel that is less flash and bang and more introspective and thoughtful.  By the time you've reached the last page, you really know Shannon and Matthew very well.

The crime takes a back seat, but the details are always present.  The book evolves as the characters deal with the fallout from Shannon's kidnapping and subsequent escape.  And Dee has created a network of characters that span from the O'Malleys to her more recent books (Full Disclosure, Unspoken, and Undetected), which allows for a stand alone novel while encouraging readers to find and read the entire catalog of Henderson romantic suspense.

My issue is simply this: while the characters are at the forefront of the story, they still feel stiff and formal.  I know them, but I don't KNOW them.  With Dee's earlier writings, her imaginary people ended up as friends that lived in my imagination for years to come.  Shannon, Matthew, Becky, Ann, Paul and company may linger, but they are merely visiting and not taking up residence.

And I miss that.  I miss it a lot.

But it won't keep me from reading every novel that Dee Henderson creates, because she's still on my all time list, and I'm so very glad she's writing again.  I purchased my copy of Taken, and you can find yours at any bookstore or online retailer.  I'm recommending "Taken", and I'm eager to dive into Dee's most recent release.

So be watching for my review of "Traces of Guilt" to be coming soon!

Happy Reading!



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