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.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested and received a free e-book copy of this novel and chose to tell you my thoughts without any other compensation.
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.
Jane Doe is on tour with Celebrate Lit
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.
About the Author
Lillian Duncan… turning faith into fiction.
Lillian lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband. She writes the types of books she loves to read. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that demonstrate God’s love—and lots of action. OK, that’s two things.
She was a school speech pathologist for over 30 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease.
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillian–duncan.com.
More from Lillian
JANE DOE is my latest novel and it’s a doozy!
What’s the genre you ask? It’s suspense with lots of drama and action…but it also a political thriller…but it also has a lot of mystery components…but there’s the romance element as well… and let’s not forget the spiritual message! No matter what genre you classify it as, it’s one I think you’ll enjoy!
So how did JANE DOE come about?
I’d finished all my edits on a current book and was feeling very uninspired. I had no idea for my next story, so I went on FB and asked people to send me an idea for my next suspense novel. An old high school friend sent me the suggestion to write a story where the main character struggled with memory loss.
Mmmm… but the old amnesia plot has been done and it’s a big no-no that writing experts warn against. I took the challenge and wrote JANE DOE. It’s definitely not your typical amnesia plot, but the main character is haunted by her memories.
First, because she doesn’t have them and then because she does!
Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. Even though she can’t remember the details of her kidnapping, she’s haunted by the thought that someone else is being victimized by the kidnapper she can’t remember.
Her journey to discover the truth leads her to the highest politicians in the state and then the country. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth—and to even more danger.
I’m not going to give away the plot, but there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading late into the night!
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 1
Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 1
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 2
Just the Write Escape, July 3
By The Book, July 4 (Author Interview)
Blogging With Carol, July 4
Inklings and notions, July 5
Betti Mace, July 6
Andrea Christenson, July 7 (Author Interview)
Hebrews 12 Endurance, July 7
For Him and My Family, July 8
Texas Book-aholic, July 9
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 10
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 11
For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)
Bigreadersite, July 12
Artistic Nobody, July 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
deb’s Book Review, July 14
To celebrate her tour, Lillian is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.