Sara West is a private practice psychiatrist in Pensacola Florida. Her brother-in-law, Captain David Quade, committed suicide, and Sara has been pushing Jack Foster for information about his death. Not knowing why he killed himself is causing problems for her sister and niece. If she doesn’t get answers soon, her niece has threatened to run away from home.
Foster shows up at her office and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. He reveals that he is a member of the Shadow Watchers, a group of high security agents who spy on spies for the Air Force. He wants her to go undercover for him at Braxton, a mental health facility just north of Pensacola, where patients with post-traumatic stress disorder are kept under strict security. If she refuses to cooperate, he will ruin her career. If she does cooperate, but becomes a security risk to his mission, she will be “cancelled”.
Foster assigns five patients to her care. While they have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is soon apparent to Sara that the men have all been tortured. But by whom?
It also becomes apparent that serving at Braxton isn’t a short-term hitch. There’s only one way out—toes up in a body bag.
One of her patients, whom she calls Joe, has total amnesia and is locked in a padded cell. She slowly eases him out of his detachment, and his memory returns. He is one of Foster’s men, a Shadow Watcher. As he slowly remembers his last assignment, he and Sara take on a new mission to put a stop to this torture. They also fall in love.
Author Vicki Hinze does a great job of painting the story with words, strong emotions, and believable characters. The plot gets bad, then worse, then worse than that, and when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. There are several false leads that keep the reader guessing. No one is sure who the enemy is, or why they are doing it, right up to the last page.
The ending has a few circumstances that are convenient and not foreshadowed. But by the time the author got to the last scene, I wanted out of there just as badly as the characters did, so I didn’t mind it when they found an easy answer.
Vicki Hinze is the author of over 30 books. She lives in the Fort Walton area, and is a member of the Emerald Coast Writers’ Guild. I met her at a writer’s conference, where she gave very insightful, experienced talks about writing.
She said at the conference that her genre is Christian fiction, but I can’t really tell why. The love scene is short and modest, the characters say a few prayers in times of trouble, but it still uses tough language when the characters need to be tough, has quite a bit of violence in the plot, and relies mostly upon the definition of honor as the motivation for doing good. It doesn’t contain anything Biblical or any type of faith statement. It does contain a good thought, though, that forgiving the past and its hurts is a good recourse to being tortured by the memories, and an effective means of maintaining mental health.
I was given a copy of the e-book for review purposes. I recommend it to people who enjoy suspense, but if you have issues with claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to read something else.
ebook ISBN 978-1-61194-193-7
Print ISBN 978-1-61194-177-7
Bell Bridge Books