By Serita Jakes
Published by Waterbrook Press
Imprisoned by memories, Claudia Campbell lives each day in the shadow of a ten-year-old murder. Who can set her free?
On the way home from a football game, a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fi re on a Texas school bus. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed, but her murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher, constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her husband, the assistant district attorney, becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.
Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world—until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.’s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves.
As the Campbell’s and Casio teeter on the brink of losing everything, will they be able to discover that what begins at the crossing ends at the cross?
Serita Jakes pens an intense, page turning and emotionally stirring novel. It’s full of action, adventure, mystery and surprise. I felt it haunting when the author had B.J. Remington share from her POV, as she reflected on life and the choices she’d made while wavering between life and death inside a school bus as people panicked around her.
Life can get messy when you find yourself tripping over the pain of the past. It can get crazy when you are reacting to life instead of living it. Claudia, daughter to a well known Pastor in town and wife of an assistant DA, was traumatized and suffered with PSTD from the tragedy that happened on the school bus. Flash backs are interwoven in the story as the author had the reader experience parts of that fateful night. Claudia finds herself imprisoned by vivid, unforgettable memories of how her world changed forever when she lost her best friend B.J. What made things worse was that Claudia feared for her life because no one found the person responsible for the disaster.
This author writes in the POV of a few characters which made the story emotionally charged and kept me guessing how things would end up, especially when Claudia’s husband Victor, starts to dig up clues that had been over looked in the original investigation. People get angry when he confronts then and talk about the crime scene in order to track down the person responsible and hopefully stop the pain in his wife’s life and their marriage.
It’s an ending that does not tie everything up in a neat bow. It’s one we’ve seen in today’s headlines. This story deals with loss, suffering, forgiveness, adultery, miscarriages, abuse, PTSD, murder, drinking and mental health struggle. The issues are not sugar coated but brought about in a very real way. Eventually the author shows unconditional love is the only way to move on into the future. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, it won’t be the last. It’s a book you won’t soon forget.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
’t expect to be sucked in by this novel. For starters it is written by the wife of a celebrity. Secondly, I thought it wouldn’t grab my interest as much as it did. Though not a perfect read, it’s well written. And for content junkies, it contains quite a bit. Each chapter opens with a first person narrative told from the perspective of a dying woman. Points of view of several characters who have a stake in the unfolding story move throughout the book. The main characters, Claudia and Cascio are crippled by life and the event ten years before that shaped them and derailed them from carefree high school seniors, to victims of a horrific crime.
I found myself reading longer than what I wanted to each time I opened the book. Curiosity over the mystery that unfolded in the pages kept me turning them. I also found a huge plot twist surprise that I didn’t expect. Jakes did a good job with characterization considering the number of them that she was required to juggle.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer