Two local girls from the simple town of Baxter are missing. Kidnapping is highly suspected, especially since one of the girls is the daughter of a well-to-do businessman in town whose outsourcing of his company to Costa Rica five years before cost many townspeople their jobs. The authorities suspect that someone laid off in the outsourcing is responsible for the crime at large, someone among their very lives. This causes the girls' families to pray like they never had before that they are alive. It also raises a question for newspaper reporter Ellen Jones-can bitterness drive someone to do something so desperate? But this question must be put on hold, for the killer has made it known that time is running out for the girls' very lives.
Once again, Kathy Herman has written a plot that stinks in the first half and shines in the second half. She has many original ideas, but she muddles them up with bad characters and cheesy dialogue. But still, she puts another one on the Elite List.
At first, the characters suffer from lack of personality or imperfection. The parents of the girls are highly typical and benevolent characters, and the villain is typical and cheesy. The biggest problem is Kathy Herman's definition of a "Christian" character. It dates back to the 90s idea of Christian fiction characters-benevolent people who do nothing but pray and care for others, never making a mistake or having a thought that isn't religious. I thought this notion was dropped at the turn of the century, but apparently Kathy hasn't been keeping her writing self-help books in date. This notion also applies to the villain-a cheesy mongrel who spouts typical lines about meddling. Yet in this instance, Kathy's inconsistency helps her in that the characters do not remain this way during the entire book. In the second half of the book, the characters actually become believable. This is where the book begins its redemption.
At first, the plot is sketchy, undetailed, and too fast-paced. Time goes by too fast and events occur rapidly. Yet again, in the second half of the book, the plot slows down and gains enough substance to be five stars, yet at this point it didn't matter. Kathy becomes more descriptive and starts doing odd things. Two key character deaths in quick succession turn the tide and put this book on the Elite List. The plot needed these deaths in order to make it realistic and believable. Besides this the villian becomes more believeable and nothing about the conclusion is perfect.
I continue to fail to understand Kathy Herman's haphazard writing style, yet as long as it keeps putting books on the Elite List, I really have nothing to complain about.