Be Careful What You Wish For
Parents need to be more vigilant when taking children to public places such as parks, beaches and playgrounds. Leaving children alone even for one second can result in what happens to the two parents in this book. Deciding that her family would not be complete without a little girl Bea Miller plans to kidnap a perfect little girl that fits her you might say specifications giving her the perfect family unit. Four sons or boys although wonderful to some not great to Bea who felt that she needed more as one innocent young child falls prey to this sick woman. Justifying to herself and her four sons her reasons, one of the boys stating his dissent and concern, she forges ahead and manages to kidnap little Maggie Taylor in what should have been right in front of her parent’s and sister’s eyes but was not. With their attention drawn in a different direction and her sister building a sand castle, Maggie is easily convinced that this lady was going to take her for ice cream and a pony ride. Parents need to warn their children about strangers. When she finally does have her, why does she try and suffocate her? Using her private journals to explain her life, her past and her reasoning the reader is privy to Bea’s innermost thoughts, feelings and much more.
When the Taylors realize that Maggie is missing the search is on with the help of the police and one dog named Max trained to find missing people. As Officer Butler questions people on the beach, gets a warrant to search their vehicles Bea realizes that she has to take a different tactic in order to get Maggie safely away from her parents and living with her. But, one young girl remembers something and this clue could be the answer to finding Maggie before its too late. Living in a town where it should be safe, Bunting Valley, North Dakota, Bea Miller is determined to cast her own destiny, not really concerned about anyone else and justifies in her mind the right to” take matters into her own hands, and as her estranged father stated: If you want something take it.” The crimes that are uncovered will make you bones chill and send fear within your heart as this sick woman living in this quiet town puts the Bunting Valley Police force to the ultimate test.
While taking that different route or paddle boat ride, Bea is angered by her son who only rented the boat for a half an hour, strikes back at him, and then the unthinkable happens: a voice over a loudspeaker describes Maggie and tells everyone to be on the look out for this young child. So, why does she try to suffocate the poor child and what is her plan to get away? Afraid of what Bea might do to her Maggie goes along with her sick scheme hoping that her mother will find her as the officer questions the man who rents the boats and there are more red flags. This town seems lax in their security measures as we hear the officer’s questions and concerns.
Evidence that might help them find Maggie as Bea loses the one link to her children that could identify her and the police start looking for her son David who appears to have made an impression on those questioned. Speaking with her neighbor Officer Butler gets to know more about Bea, her late husband and her children and the truth behind their births. As the investigation heats up and they learn more they find out about something Bea did when someone tried to break into her home. A routine trip to a supermarket and a two year old child was found missing. Could the adopted child she has be the one that was kidnapped? Just who are these children and why did she take them? What did Bea tell everyone about her children? Why was David arrested and would they find Maggie in time?
As one part of the mystery is solved another is revealed, as the reader is privy to Bea’s journal, her reasons for doing what she did and why she did what she did. Included in the journal she lists people that she loved, was close to and more. Hearing her words, her thoughts and how her father felt about her is tragic. The fact that he blamed her for her mother’s death more than just sad, cruel as Bea just wanted to live her life and be loved. With her Aunt Nita as her only protection she managed to forge ahead but not entirely shielded from the wrath of her father. Reading her thoughts and her journal the reader does not understand why she kidnapped so many children but begins to realize she supposedly wanted someone to love and accept her for who and what she was. Is she insane, does she need help or should they just lock her away?
Born in 1965 the journals take us through her school years, the private celebrations she had with her aunt on her birthday without her father finding out but when he did the explosion would change Bea’s life forever. When her aunt was gone she knew she would have to deal with her father and what the author reveals about what she is asked to do is more than just child abuse. Raped, having an abortion, arrested for shoplifting did she even have a chance at life? Blaming her for the death of her mother and mistreating her from birth because she was not a boy, Bea had so many strikes against her how was this lawyer going to fight for her and can you really feel any empathy for this woman? Teaching her how to panhandle, pretend they were poor and then learning how to take what she wanted even from him, Bea learned to fend for herself at an early age and made no excuses for her actions. As Officer Butler has been given the opportunity to become involved in the case with Detective Stevens the reader begins to learn more about the process of how they will try the case, hopefully get her convicted and what life holds in store for the other children. But, it gets worse as we learn what he did to her at age 13, what he expected of her and the end result. The diary continues and what we learn is quite compelling as she is forced to do things with men and the end result is more than just tragic.
When the truth comes out, the victims facing her, the parents of the children that they lost telling their stories one young man faces some harsh realities about the woman he called mother for so many years. Just what will happen to David in the end? What about Mickey, John and Joshua?
Author R.K. Avery shares her the fact that she was kidnapped from a beach as a small child and used this as the starting point for this novel. Telling the reader how Bea came to kidnap Joshua, Mickey and Ben as the diary takes us to 1997. Working in a hospital just imagines what Bea could do and having access to small children in the nursery frightening. As you hear her voice during the trial, her justifications, David’s feelings for her and the rationalizations she comes up with you wonder why she became so twisted. The one thing that this plot does not have many surprises as the evidence is revealed in the journals and you learn what she did in her own words. One young boy wearing a black tee shirt causing suspicion. One woman who rationalized her right to take children she felt were better off with her and the truth is told behind her husband’s death.
With the trial about to take place Officer Butler continues sharing the diary with readers. The ending you will have to learn for yourself. The decision you will have to decide on your own if you agree with the final outcome. The ending will surprise you the verdict stated and the fate of one woman might not surprise you but the fate of on young man rests in the words of his mother. Just what happens you will have to learn for yourself as something tells me we have not heard the last of Bea? A novel that I read in one day and a journal whose words were bone chilling. Let’s see what author R.K. Avery has in store next for readers. Told in diary form from 1965 to 2010 this novel should remind parents, caregivers, grandparents and sitters never to take their eyes off of a young child, never leave them alone in a public place, watch them in a supermarket and make sure you always know where they are. Be Careful What You Wish For you may not always bet what you want.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer