When I’m nearing the end of one of my own books and get on a writing roll, I don’t like to have to stop for anything. Eating, sleeping, trips to the smallest room of our house for obvious reasons to all except the dogs who plop themselves right outside the door to make sure no wolves climb in through the smallest window in the house and carry me off for dinner.
So, when I looked at my planner this week, I growled. No, really, I did. But that was probably because while I was looking at said planner, I was also playing tug-of-war with Neville LongBarkem, and he likes it when I growl during tug-time. I aim to please.
Still, I was frustrated. Here I am, at the most fun part of writing this book that I’m crazy in love with, and I have to stop to read a book?
So what if it’s suspense? Who cares if the synopsis sounds amazing? I’ve got work to do, people.
Confession time? Yeah, I thought I’d end up doing a boatload of skimming because characters would beg me to get back to work. And, further confession, I did… just a little bit. At the very beginning. But I’ll get to why in a minute.
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Lillian Duncan before, but if this book is any indication of what she writes, I will be reading more. Especially since she takes a compell—wait. I’ll get to that in the review.
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How Secrets Will Do Their Best to Kill You
Okay, so maybe some secrets might keep you alive, too. I’ll admit that—WITSEC and all. Those are life-saving secrets. But other secrets… yeah. They might get you dead.
Raven learns this the hard way.
So, first… there’s the skimming thing I did. As the story kicks off, we’re treated to a horrific scene—one woman’s systematic and almost ritualistic torture and psychological reprogramming. I kept expecting it to end up being a rape thing. If it was, I either missed it in my bits of skimming or it didn’t happen. Either way, if it happened, it was so minor that I could miss it with a few dances across these words or those. I have issues with rape.
Lillian Duncan didn’t trigger those. Thank you.
Okay, as for the rest of the story… Wow. Duncan took a common suspense trope and twisted it into a new story that is sort of… sorry, but there’s no other good way to put it. Twisted. From the beginning, we know something big is going on, but we don’t know what or why. I mean, Raven was an investigative journalist. Let’s just say we know there’s more to her abduction than some random guy going, “I think I’ll take… um… her!” Bam. We’ve got ourselves a victim with no rhyme or reason? I think not.
Instead, we get several stories woven together—some as old as time. Others, new, unexpected ones. We have faith colliding with fear. Secrets shatter trust. Friendships forge in the toughest of times and when things ramp up even more… look out.
Now, was Jane Doe perfect?
Nope.While I loved the plot, the faith element, the characters, all of it… one thing didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The writing had… moments. I don’t know how else to put it. Too often I felt as if the author was informing me of the action or worse, explaining it.
And, there was one tiny line in the faith element that while solid and encouraging, sounded more self-help “empowerment” rather than the truth of Scripture. Those things took an incredible story and made it just really good.
Did you read that? The two things that I found “lacking” in this book “only” made it “really good.” I mean, come on! That’s just hardly worth mentioning.
So why did I do it?
Because avid readers of suspense will probably notice it. If those kinds of things bother you, this might not be the book for you (but I’d try it anyway. It’s really that good of a story). So good, that despite that tiny bit of a reservation, I’m calling it an “I loved it” five-star story.
Recommended for people who enjoy deep, multi-layered plots and characters, interesting settings, excellent pacing, and a desire to see justice served. Add a faith element that kept me thinking and encouraged the whole time I read, and you’ve got one solid book in Jane Doe. Can’t wait to read another by her.
Book: Jane Doe
Author: Lillian Duncan
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 26, 2020
A Broken Body. A Broken Mind. What If She Wasn’t The Last Victim?
Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. She wants to put the past behind her, but nightmarish memories won’t let her. . .At first because she doesn’t have them, and then because she does.
Even though her fractured memory can’t recall every detail, she’s haunted by one thought: What if she wasn’t the last victim? Her search for answers leads her to the highest politicians in the land. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth—and to even more danger.