Tag: Kidnapping

Daylight Book Review

Another Thriller from David Baldacci

Daylight is David Baldacci’s third installment in the Atlee Pine series. And it is every bit as engaging as the first two. Furthermore, the plot is realistic and just a bit scary given some of the current happenings in D.C. and other power centers of the world.

Atlee accidently ruins a drug bust controlled by the Army CID. To make amends she gets tangled in their op. Of course, Baldacci weaves the story lines together. Daylight introduces John Puller, CID, and his brother Bobby, a government IT whiz. Both solid citizens and thus targets for the corrupt players in the novel.

Daylight Highlights Blackmail

The underlying theme revolves around blackmail. Not necessarily a means of gaining money. Instead, a way to secure power at high levels of governments. Of course, lurid photos and videos obtained with the use of alcohol and drugs provide the material for the extortion.

Daylight provides instances of blackmail fueled power. Candidates in the lead withdrawing from an election, individuals sacked for asking the wrong questions or transferred to another department or overseas. Is this merely fiction? Or a reflection of life?

Personal Quest

In addition to corruption, Daylight tells the ongoing story of Atlee’s search for her sister, Mercy. Again, Baldacci mirrors life. Evidence points to Mercy surviving the kidnapping. But at a cost. Too old to forget her family, Mercy suffered a life of imprisonment. Hidden in plain sight.

Videos of Mercy escaping as a young adult also show the toll to her psyche. Atlee is outraged and determined to continue the hunt. But there is quite the twist. Mercy may not be the only one on the run.

Recommendation for Daylight

David Baldacci is a best-selling author for a reason. His novels are thought provoking. And fast paced. I picked up Daylight in an airport bookstore and read throughout the flight. The characters are compelling. Furthermore, the plot(s) mimic the terrors of real life.

Girls and young women are kidnapped and then held against their wills for years. Often a couple is involved. Some are found, but not unscathed.

And then there is the power of blackmail.

We live in a scary world. Good and evil battle daily. Novels like Daylight throw a spotlight on corruption, and they champion those defending the good in the world. This novel is a reminder.

However, the storyline revolving around Atlee’s search for her twin now needs backstory. I suggest reading the series from the start; Long Road to Mercy followed by A Minute to Midnight. As the series continues, the stories are not quite stand alone. I will look at the library for the next in the series, simply titled Mercy.

Two Girls Down Book Review

Book on table
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna on the surface is a story about two young girls kidnapped from a strip mall parking lot. Any mother has nightmares just at the thought of this happening to their child. Luna does a good job of painting the desperation of the young single mom.

The kidnapping takes place in rural Pennsylvania with a police department quickly out of their league. Fortunately for Jamie Brandt, her employer aunt hires a hot-shot private investigator from California, Alice Vega. Vega is a bit of an enigma. The author tries at various times in the story to unravel the puzzle, but I never fully understood Vega’s back story. Perhaps a sequel is in the works.

After the local LEOS tell Vega “Thanks but no thanks” she approaches an ex-cop turned private eye to join her in the search for the two missing grade school girls. Max Caplan initially says no. But as incentive Vega brings in a child support shirking dad Caplan has been searching for. Additionally, his own daughter puts in her two cents, and Caplan agrees.

The plot and pace of the story is good. Luna begins Two Girls Down painting a picture of a distraught mother filled with guilt, desperation and a drug/alcohol cocktail to dull the pain. So from the start, the author blends fiction and reality. In today’s world of accessible pharmaceuticals the mother’s actions ring true.

The characters are interesting. Caplan and his daughter Nell were the most likable even though at the start of the book he was heavily drinking as a way to deal with his divorce. Any parent could appreciate having a daughter as mature and confident as Nell. Luna uses her as a contrast to the older of the two kidnapped girls.


The wackos involved with the kidnapping could be divided into two categories. The druggies and the sickos. Both allow Luna to comment on today’s society. The use of drugs and alcohol is a common theme throughout. The chief of police belongs to AA, Caplan drinks more beer than he should, and these are the good guys. The thugs are heavy into street drugs and Vega and Caplan must wade through the sludge in their search for the missing girls.

Two Girls Down is fiction but reflects life to a certain extent. Almost everyone under thirty in the book, including the distraught mom are misusing some kind of drugs. In some cases, excuses are made for the users, such as a dying mother and disappearance of a disabled brother. Others are clearly enabled by a parent. Luna’s writing is a commentary on the seedy side of our culture. Lest the reader think that only one segment of society is messed up, she gives us the sickos.

The masterminds behind the kidnapping are not trolling the streets for drugs. Beyond that I won’t say much. But I do like how Luna’s final twist pulls everything together. The motivation for what turns out to be multiple kidnappings should sicken you. There are many problems in our society and much can be tied to street drugs. However, true sickness of the mind does not require outside help.

I like Two Girls Down and I had not read any of Luna’s work before although I believe at least one of her Young Adult novels resides in one of the our bookcases. The interaction between the characters is believable for the most part. I liked the grittiness of private investigator Alice Vega. She is a tough lady tamping down on some emotional baggage of her own. However, I am uncertain of the chemistry between Vega and Caplan. They worked well as a team but I do not see them developing a further relationship. But, you never know.