Book Review: Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

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The book starts with Mila, a young seventeen year old young woman who is travelling across the Mexico borders to enter the land of dreams, America.  As they near the border, they are asked to get out of the car and undress to a group of men who eventually rape a few of them. One of them is her dear friend who tries to escape after the rape only to be shot dead.  The next main character is an overdue pregnant, very efficient police officer Jane Rizzoli whose water breaks in the court while giving her testimony.  As she is rushed to the hospital to give birth, her journey for unraveling the vanished girls begins there.  The last subject is Dr. Maura Isles and her story unfolds as she discovers one of the corpses in her morgue is very much alive.  Dr. Isles rushes this corpse to the hospital to save her and she helps unfold the mystery along with a reporter, Peter Lucas.  As the book alternates between the main characters, the book slowly unfolds the loathsome practice of importing vulnerable young girls into the United States from countries such as Mexico and the former Soviet Union. These girls are beaten, drugged, imprisoned, and sold into prostitution.

A very intense subject and very unpredictable end!! Tess has a story to tell.  The story is so intense that I finished the book in 2 days as there was a yearn to understand what would happen next.  Tess has a way to build the story with multiple clues along the way and you guess work all the way to the end.  She makes the story very believable and a subject that is not just fictional but that is happening very much in the United States.

Remembering my days as a new mom myself, Jane was the character I was drawn to.  She could be you! She is struggling through motherhood and at the same time trying to not lose her identity as an officer for which she has worked so hard all her life. As she struggles through her new identity, the book slowly unravels her journey as she puzzles through the events that happened just before she gave birth.

A must read for suspense loving fans.

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Audio Book Review: Help by Kathryn Stockett

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When you read some books, it takes you beyond the continuum of space and time to a land where the characters live.  You live with them, you feel their pain, you have tears of joy at their success and the fear like the one you will face.  Such a book, according to me, is a classic.  And I think this book is!

The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963 just before the Civil Rights movement.  The Help takes place when segregation between whites and blacks was an important issue. Not everyone agreed with the laws of segregation, such as twenty-two year old Miss Skeeter. Skeeter had always dreamed of being a writer, so she uses her skills and beliefs to find maids to help her write a book. This book was The Help, which expresses the maid’s feelings and tells stories from their perspective.  It is a good description of the relationship of the women who raised the children of their white employers, who cleaned their homes, cooked their meals and took care of the family for years. They were not paid much for their talents and skills and usually stayed with their employers for years.

As I listened to the audiobook, the complexity of the characters were reflected in the voices of the 3 main individuals that spoke for the role of Skeeter and the maids – Aibileen and Mini.  The characters are so textured and complex, and they evoked a real emotional reaction from me as a reader/listener. I loved that I could love (or hate) these women so passionately, and these emotional connections I had with the characters made this book a rich and rewarding read.

Beautiful book – A book that will stay with you forever!  A must read.