Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Right Call Sophie Trace Trilogy—Book 3 by Kathy Herman

With information that could solve a series of murders but endangers the girl he loves, a college boy grapples with what to do—and whom to trust.

Ethan Langley is home for the summer, eager to renew his friendship with Vanessa Jessup and her infant son, Carter. And her parents, Police Chief Brill Jessup and her husband, Kurt, approve: Ethan is thoughtful, kind, hard-working, and ambitious. Before Ethan is even settled, a series of random shootings leaves someone he loves dead.

While police are scrambling for suspects, Ethan learns shocking details that could break the case—but it imperils the lives of those he’s come to love. Going to the police with what he knows endangers Vanessa and Carter . . . yet not telling them is just as dangerous. He’s been dealt a risky hand in a game for which he doesn’t know the rules. Will he make the right call?

My Review:
Thank you to The B & B Media Group, Inc. for my copy of this Christian fiction novel. This is the third installment of the Sophie Trace Trilogy series. However, it can be read without having read the others as the author nicely fills in all gaps.

The characters are well written. There's Brill, the first female police chief in the town's history. Working in a high pressure position, while being wife to Kurt, mother of three, and grandmother to Carter, gives her depth. The family grows in love and support.

People begin to be shot down in the streets, for no apparent reason, and it's Brill's responsibility to solve the cases. There are some surprise twists and turns, which I love.

However, there is too much repetition. This character tells that character about a circumstance, and later, the reader reads yet another conversation about the same topic being discussed between two others.

Nonetheless, the book is a worthy read, with quite a bit of romance and tracking a slippery killer(s). Discussion questions are included.

And now, the first chapter:

Drew Langley jumped at the loud thud upstairs and resisted the temptation to bang on the wall and dispel the roaring laughter that followed. Was he the only student in the apartment building still studying for finals?

A warm breeze rattled the blinds, and he closed his eyes, inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of magnolia blossoms wafting from the south campus of Stanton College. It took every ounce of discipline he could muster not to close his books and give in to the lure of spring.

He heard rubber soles on the hardwood floor and lifted his gaze as his roommate came to a quick stop in front of the mirror over the worn living-room sofa.

Tal Davison wet his fingers and smoothed his hair. “I see you’re still studying. I guess that means you’re not coming.”

“To what? I thought you had a date.”

“Why do you make me tell you everything twice? You’re worse than my grandmother.”

Drew put down his pencil. “Sorry, I’ve been focused on other things. Tell me again. I’m listening.”

Tal came and stood in the doorway of Drew’s bedroom, his arms folded across his chest. “I’m going over to Henry’s for a junk-food buffet and beer. You’re invited.”

“Thanks. But I really need to study for my English lit final. It’s next week, and I’ve got chapters of catching up to do.”

“Suit yourself. I’m brain-dead. I couldn’t learn another thing if you paid me.” Tal started to go and then stopped. “Listen, thanks again for letting me move in here for the last few weeks. It’s nice sharing an apartment that doesn’t reek of marijuana. I hope I haven’t been as big a pain as your other roommate.” He shot Drew a half smile.

Drew leaned back and folded his arms. “Hey, not at all, man. I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s just that I have to keep up the grades. No four-oh, no scholarship. There’s no way I can afford to attend Stanton without it.” I don’t have a rich father footing the bill.

“Doesn’t it cramp your style to go to college in Sophie Trace? Your parents are pretty close by, aren’t they?”

“Thanks to the scholarship I can live off campus. That’s all the independence I need. It’s nice going home whenever I want. My parents really help me stay on track.” Drew studied Tal’s expression.

“I take it you wish your dad wasn’t so close?”

Tal got quiet for a moment and seemed to be somewhere else. “He’s much too busy to breathe down my neck. And he doesn’t care about my grades as long as I pass and he can tell his cronies that his namesake’s attending his alma mater and is going to work for him after graduation.”

“Is that so bad?”

“I just wish he cared more about me and less about his image. I’m not sure I can ever measure up to his expectations.”

“Come on, man. You’ve got it made in the shade. All you have to do is get through one more year, and he’ll hand you the job of a lifetime. I thought you were pumped about it.”

Tal flashed a crooked smile. “I’m trying to be. It’s my big chance to make Dad proud of me. It’s all he’s talked about for years. But there’s a lot of pressure, learning to run a big corporation. The closer I get, the more intimidated I feel.”

“He must think you can do it, Tal. There’s a lot at stake for him, too.” Even if he is handing it to you on a silver platter.

“Maybe I’ll buy a little time after I graduate—tell Dad I’m burned-out and need to backpack across Europe for a while before I jump into the corporate world.”

A grin tugged at Drew’s cheeks. “Then you’d need someone to babysit your Hummer. Can I apply for the job? Man, I wish I’d been there when your dad had it delivered to your birthday party.”

“It was an awesome way to turn twenty-one, all right. But I’d trade it in a heartbeat for a relationship with my dad like you have with yours.”

“I guess I take it for granted.”

“Well, don’t,” Tal said. “I can’t remember the last time I sat down and had a real conversation with mine. He’s either working himself to death or hiding out at the lake house with wife number four—the fashion model who’s got silicone for brains.”

“I didn’t realize she was his fourth wife.”

“And she’s pregnant with daughter number seven. Maybe he’s going for the record.”

“Yeah, but you’re still his only son. And you and your mother are close.”

“Not in proximity. She’s spending a lot of time in New York with her boyfriend. He deals in fine art, and she likes to go to the auctions with him. I doubt I’ll see her anytime soon.”

Drew shifted his weight. Why hadn’t Tal mentioned before that his mother was seeing someone?

“Actually, I’m happy for her,” Tal said. “And I don’t mind sharing her Nashville house with the maid, the cook, and the butler. I’ll lie around the pool and read sci-fi novels and give my brain a rest. I’m so burned-out I can’t stand to think about another year of studying.”

“You’ll be ready to hit it again in the fall. Just think how good you’ll feel when you get your degree.”

Tal smiled wryly. “Would you believe my dad’s executive bonus last year was ten million? I must be nuts not to be more excited about the job.”

No kidding. “So why aren’t you?”

“I don’t know … my dad’s ruthless. And the company takes precedence over everyone and everything. I want more out of life than that.”

“I hear you. But if it were me, I’d at least try it long enough to earn a couple million and then go do whatever I wanted.“

“I’ve thought of that.” Tal stood up straight, the result of his beer drinking and bingeing hanging over his belt. “But I have a feeling that once Dad has me under his thumb, I’ll never get out from under. What I really want to do is go to the police academy.”

“Have you told him how you feel?”

“I tried. But Dad doesn’t really care how I feel. It’s my duty as his only son to keep the family business going. If I turn my back on that, he’ll basically disown me. Not that we’re close now, but it’s hard to think of having no dad. Hey, enough serious talk. It’s party time. Sure you don’t want to come?”

“Yeah, I’ve got to hit the books. Who’s your designated driver?”

“Don’t need one. I’m walking.”

“You think that’s smart? Henry’s neighborhood isn’t exactly the safest part of town.”

“I’ll be fine. But I’ll tell you what”—Tal laughed and tossed his keys to Drew—“if I don’t make it back alive, the Hummer’s all yours.”

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Right Call by Kathy Herman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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