Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Alias - Mandi Tucker Slack

Summary:  Jacey's eyes narrowed.  What were these men trying to imply?  She felt sick with shock.  "No, I never really--John and I never discussed work.  He never felt a need to include me in his business affairs."  Jacey's heart thumped as the agents eyed one another.

Jacey Grayson is an average, young, divorced mother struggling to build a new life for her son, Blaze.  But when the FBI...discloses some disturbing information about her ex-husband, Jacey's life becomes anything but average.  At the risk of losing her identity, her future, and her heart, Jacey and Blaze flee to Utah, hoping to hide and start over once again.  But no matter how far she runs or who she pretends to be, her past is always lurking nearby, bringing old fears with it.  Thrilling action and a suspenseful plot make this novel an edge-of-your-seat read.  (Book given free for review.  Summary from back of the book and image from http://thealiasbook.com/)

My Review:  I normally avoid books that could give me nightmares -- on the run from someone you can't get away from fits that profile for me -- yet I could hardly put this book down.  LDS literature isn't typically gritty or terribly realistic in its portrayals of violence, but this one broke that mold.  Domestic abuse was captured as accurately as I can imagine it really is.  Jacey is a believable battered wife struggling to break free; the only fuel firing her struggle is her son.  The contrasts between her life with John and her life staying with the Jackman's made the horror of the domestic violence that much more disturbing. Jacey's self-doubt and timidness felt real and her son's fear of the unknown and his father did also.  My only gripe with the book was that there was a lot of inward sighing.  I could almost predict that Jacey would sigh to herself when she realized, yet again, that she was lying to good people and she didn't like doing it.

Kale was a fun and slightly confusing character.  While I do believe the relationship between Jacey and Kale was rushed, it made for a satisfying, happy ending.  And yes, I do like those.  I loved learning about the horses, the farm, the cooking, and the geology.  Those were aspects to the book that I wasn't expecting, but definitely enjoyed.

There is the aspect of the LDS religion thrown in, and definitely portrayed in a positive light, but it wasn't preachy or overdone. In fact, if I weren't LDS I would find this kind of a portrayal easier to digest than just asking a member for details. 

While Slack's writing isn't delectable--you know, the type of writing that makes you sigh with pleasure (yes, that play off her book was intended)--it was solid and engaging.  I will definitely recommend this book to my friends and those who like a good suspenseful read.

Rating: 4 stars

Sum it up:  Realistic and gripping combines with homey and comforting: a surprising mix that reveals an engaging story.

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