In the first book If I Run we are introduced to Casey who has just made a gruesome discovery. Her best friend Brent has been murdered, and she's been set up to take the fall. Brent had been looking in to the death of Casey's father, a police officer who reportedly committed suicide. What did he discover that is worth killing for?
Dylan has been following Casey, and he's getting to know her pretty well. He finds it hard to believe she murdered his old friend Brent. But Brent's parents have hired him to find her and the cops assigned to the case are being very uncooperative.
If I Run is a great read. It's fast paced and keeps you on tenterhooks, like a good thriller should. I worried that Casey's kindness was going to get her caught. I didn't want to stop reading.
Although the sub-plot is concluded, you are left wanting more. Casey's story isn't over and the bad guys haven't been dealt justice.
Enter - If I'm Found, the second book in the series.
The second book starts more slowly, we have Casey thinking about what to do next and Dylan wondering what to do about Casey. The momentum builds slowly until you find your heart beating a little faster, and realise you are once again drawn into the tension of Casey's story.
Blackstock tackles the very difficult topic of mental health in both books. Like in life, each character presents differing views on medication and psychotherapy. Some of the characters are well educated and well informed, while others demonstrate the stigma and shame still attached to mental health.
There's an underlying religious message that Christians will enjoy. But even for non-Christians there is a lovely message of hope and the goodness of humanity. I like that Casey is a good and moral person even before she begins going to church. The message is more subtle in the first book but more frank in the second book. It's a personal choice that the writer has made to speak her own thoughts through her character's mouths. I think most writers would do that at some point. As a non-Christian I didn't feel it detracted from the story very much.
I did a little research and Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation is a real clinical trial over the past few years for treating major depression and PTSD with some success with epilepsy in some cases.
Some further research - I was a little confused about 'Lake Ron Hubbard' wondering if it was a reference to Scientology for some reason. I believe the lake in Dallas is called Lake Ray Hubbard, named after a former president of the Parks and Recreation Board. So I'm not sure if this was just to fictionalise a place because the 'Watershed Marina' is not the name of either marina at Lake Ray Hubbard.
The second book was released yesterday and it can be read as a stand alone novel, because the other story is recapped a little as you read. I would recommend both books to be read in the correct order, however, just because of the thrill they gave me as a reader. I definitely recommend If I'm Found as a suspenseful and captivating story. Blackstock started as a romance writer but I think she has found her niche as a writer of thrillers.
Terri Blackstock is a New York Times and USA Today best-seller, with over seven million books sold worldwide. She is the winner of two Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist.
I was given an e-book Advanced Reading Copy of If I'm Found through Smith Publicity. I listened to the audiobook of If I Run from my library. All opinions are my own.