The writing is superb, the story is engrossing, the characters are believable, the themes are important, and the climax … well, not so much.
The mixture of cold cases and modern drama made the story interesting to this reader. Two kidnappings, seemingly unconnected, but solving one, would solve the other. Then there is the murder and a third kidnapping combined with fraud half a world away - it makes for an intriuging mystery that will hold the reader's attention till the very end.
Three couples must work together to bring an end to the evil that has been pressed upon Charlotte's life. Charlotte never did seem to have it easy, and when Bryce showed up, her life just became more complicated. Bryce, a Christian businessman, who owned and ran a high end coin store first became Charlotte's business partner, then a friend, finance, and husband. Paul, a FBI agent, and his wife Ann, a former detective with the Chicago PD, are seeking to solve a 20 year old kidnapping - but they will soon discover that there is more. John and his dear friend (and almost fiancee) Ellie are the bodyguards contracted to protect Charlotte and her family. Together these three couples will work to bring a monster, that only one of them knew existed, to justice. In the 440+ pages that make up Unspoken we see God at work in the lives of these six people in very different ways. The reader will want them to succeed; one can only hope that the author does as well.
The book takes up themes important to the casual reader as well as to the believer. Charlotte might be seen as a modern day Job. She understands that God is forgiving. She does not understand how a loving God can offer true forgiveness to those who commit evil in the world in which she finds herself. The two concepts of a forgiving God and a holy God cannot be reconciled in her mind. She may never find the absolute answer that she wants, but she is willing to take the baby steps needed to move forward, very slowly forward.
The other theme that caught my eye was that the author takes a long look at the nature of love. Whether it be in the commitments made by Charlotte and Bryce or the lack of commitment between John and Ellie - love is an elusive concept. As we normally think of love, Charlotte and Bryce seem further apart, more distant and less in love than John and Ellie. Yet they are willing to commit to each other. John and Ellie have been together longer, would seem to have more in common, and closer to each other - and, yet, they cannot get to "Yes".
Though this book has much going for it, as I reached the climax, I felt let down. I felt like the author had built a beautiful pile of dust, but rather than cleaning it thoroughly, she merely dusted over the top as she brought the story to a close. Closure was achieved, but one felt that it did not match the buildup found in the first 360 pages. The questions raised by the story were answered, but more with the simple answer that might be expected of a teen writer, than from the hand of an experienced author. I will try another book by the author and will hope to have an improved experience.
In spite of the comments in the previous paragraph, the book was a good read for the past week. I enjoyed the trips through Chicago and Wisconsin, and the people we met along the way. I would encourage others to read Dee Henderson’s latest thriller and to post their comments to be read as part of the discussion.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.