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Title : The Earth Bleeds Red
Author : Jackson Paul Baer
Genres : Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Source : Kindle Unlimited
Scott Miller has everything he’s ever hoped for. He has a successful marriage to Jessie, a stunningly beautiful, creative woman. His seventeen-year-old daughter, Ashley, is both gorgeous and intelligent, and has just been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, where Scott received his PhD. He has a comforting home in the woods, and a fulfilling career as a college professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He’s blissful, and at peace, until it all comes shattering down.
Ashley is kidnapped. The scene of the abduction is horrific and bloody, and the police are convinced she couldn’t have survived. They accuse her boyfriend, Brandon, of Ashley’s murder. He declares his innocence, and claims that a masked man who entered his house and overwhelmed them both took Ashley. No one believes Brandon.
Then the bodies of three other missing girls are discovered, all bearing the mark of a known serial killer the FBI has been hunting for years. Evidence mounts. As Special Agent James Duncan tracks the Hail Mary Killer, Scott and Jessie try to move on with their lives. But they can’t shake the feeling that Ashley may still be alive, and that the time for saving their only daughter is quickly running out.
In the best tradition of literature and suspense, Jackson Paul Baer has weaved a heartfelt tale of one family’s struggle to survive after a despicable evil wrenches them apart.
My Musings :
I borrowed the book on Kindle Unlimited and read it from May 1 to May 2, 2018
This book was brought to my attention by the author from his review request. As soon as I saw the book cover, I thought it was maybe a fantasy read and I was hesitant to accept the request since I was looking for different genres from romance and fantasy at that time. But when I read the blurb and realised it was a thriller, I was hooked on the plot with the words "missing girls". There are few words which make me decide if I want to read a book or not. And any missing persons mentioned in the summary is enough to get me interested because I love mysteries!
The starting of the book is slow. I was expecting Ashley's kidnapping to be the starting point of the book. But I was mistaken. The first quarter of the book is spent on laying out the premise of the story. The family dynamics between Ashley and her parents are established right at the beginning. They get along very well unlike most other families. Ashley seems to treat her parents like her friends and her life is an open book for them. Ashley doesn't show the typical teenage behaviour which I found a bit odd. No one was that perfect or agreeable according to me.
When Ashley goes missing, Scottie and Jessie are shattered. They can't understand what was happening since their daughter didn't have any secrets. And from this part onwards, the pace of the story changed from sluggish to a turn the pages in a hurry quickness. I was so invested in the personal lives of Ashley and her family that I was glued to the book at all times and finished the book in a few hours.
The author has this way of getting me entangled in the emotions of the characters, be it Ashley or her parents. I seriously felt so bad for Jessie and Scottie during the hard times they face with Ashley's disappearance. They don't get any closure since her body isn't found and they go through the motions of life instead of living. The writing evoked strong feelings in me and had me breathing through the same scenes as the characters.
The Christian faith is highlighted all through the book especially with the parents' suffering and how they find themselves in prayer. I understood Scottie's struggle with his faith. Any person would find it difficult in his place. This brought freshness to the book.
There are few other points which felt unique to the book. The book is in the father's POV and so I was pleasantly surprised since I was expecting it to be the usual thriller type with the focus on the solving of the crime and getting the killer. But the story diverted from the norm and focused on the parents' lives through the kidnapping. Another point was how the killer's identity was introduced without any fanfare and didn't have me guessing it. What I did wonder while reading was how he got Ashley in his snare and what he did with her, which was explained towards the end.
This shows that there are always secrets in people's lives inspite of knowing them really well. And Ashley's naivety is what caused all the trouble. Speaking of the killer,though I empathise with his past, he absolutely deserves my anger with his actions. And no I am not going to talk more about him or the situation because I don't want to out the story. There are a few surprising turns at the end for you. So read the story to know more!
Speaking of the end, I was slightly dazed with the way the author's mind worked with the fate of the characters. It was unexpected but kept well with the genre of the read. And there were few parts where I felt the author had glossed over the details which didn't go with the story for me.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and I hope if you want to read a thriller with a different POV, this book's for you.
My one line review : A gripping thriller from the victim's parents' POV with surprising twists at the end.
My rating : 4/5
My reread factor : 3/5