It’s August 1994. Brooke Kinley and her brother, Jaime, were paddling their canoe in northeast Minnesota when they noticed a girl apparently running from something or someone. They manage to pick her up from the water she dived into and take her back to their cabin. Before they even talk with her, they notice how young she is and how afraid she appears. They give her dry clothes, food, and a safe place to rest. But, after hearing her story in broken English about her and her friends being abducted from Russia for trafficking purposes, they realize they’re in over their heads and take her to Sheriff Pascoe. They’re not crazy about leaving her there, but they are told that Homeland Security will be contacted and will keep her safe.
Brooke can’t get Anya out of her mind. Something doesn’t feel right. She carries the story to Jack Dawson, editor of the local paper. He’s able to make a couple of calls and quickly determine that, yes, the girl had been picked up, but no, it wasn’t by Homeland Security. As soon as they start making waves, someone tries to take their lives.
Paul Harvey used to say his now-famous tagline, “…And now you know the rest of the story.” In many ways, I feel this prequel of Brooke Kinley tells the rest of her story. In my review of Patriot, I’d said “Brooke Kinley is a go-getter who won’t be intimidated just because there’s danger.” Her strong sense of right and wrong and her unyielding determination was apparent in her character even at eighteen years of age. As a novella, the author wasted no time in getting to the point of the story and into the action. It was remarkably well-planned and well-paced. Brooke Kinley is a strong character and I anticipate a long series. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.