A powerful and moving breakout thriller about a couple who are plunged into unimaginable terror when their children are kidnapped, and the stop at nothing compulsion to get them back.
Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead.
It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. A man who warns the judge to do exactly as he is told in a drug case he is about to rule on. If the judge fails to follow his instructions, the consequences for the children will be dire.
For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told.
Through it all, Scott and Alison will stop at nothing to get their children back, no matter the cost to themselves…or to each other.
This is another book, that as a parent shattered my heart. Scott Sampson has a pretty awesome life, he’s a federal judge and has been married to his wife Alison for years and they have adorable six year old twins, Sam and Emma. Then one day Scott gets a text from Ali saying she’s picking up the kids from school even though it’s his day. When they meet up at home it’s immediately clear that something has gone horribly wrong. Sam and Emma have been taken, and the Sampsons have no idea why. Soon enough, he realizes that’s he just the pawn in someone’s sick game and they only need him because of the power he holds as a judge.
I’ve read several books where the plot centers around a parent having to go to extreme measures to keep their child safe , but I haven’t come across one quite like this. For Scott and Alison, they’re asked to do basically nothing. Yes, he has to pass down verdicts in his cases based on what the kidnappers tell him, but they’re not to speak about it to anyone. I can’t fathom how hard this would be, the feeling of helplessness would be overwhelming and Parks coveys their desperation perfectly, I could feel their pain leaping off of the pages.
This has a complex plot with tons of twists packed in, both big and small. The characterization is credible, especially as Scott and Alison’s marriage falters under the extreme stress. Cracks begin to appear as they try to live their lives so no one suspects anything untoward is going on and they begin to doubt one another. This is a seamless blending of genres, it’s part mystery, part domestic suspense and part legal thriller. It all culminates in a powerful, explosive ending that left me broken-hearted and showed the true depth of a parental bond and love.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to Dutton Books for my review copy.