Fear can play havoc on someone’s mind. Sometimes it can make you weaker but in this case a 16-year-old pregnant teen proves what happens when you carefully, methodically and strategically wait, plan and create a plot so devious that the world won’t believe someone cultivated it your age. Method 15/33 is a unique novel that focuses on what happens when a young pregnant teen collects items that she is given or finds within her prison cell, obediently obeys her captors and then springs on them blindsiding them the same way they did her. A simple act or decision to walk in one direction instead of another cost this young teen her freedom. Thrown in the back of a purple van and then taken to an undisclosed place this young girl measured distances, figured out her surroundings, new those involved and bided her time before she struck. Knowing that the end result would be her life and that of her unborn son. The kidnappers were in the business of selling babies to the highest bidders and then killing their mothers in cold blood. The young teen who narrates the novel has an above superior intelligence, is extremely OCD and whose life must mirror that of what her mother and her father have orchestrated for her. No one is looking for her and although she is a straight A student when her parents learned she was a pregnant thing changed for her. Lisa, the young teen has what some might say is an autobiographical memory and she lists and remembers items that she calls assets that she will implement and use when the time is right.
Roger Liu and his partner Lola are the two FBI agents looking for Lisa. Their methods are just as unusual and unorthodox as Lisa’s method of getting her captors. But, added in they find a man who lives alone in desolate area named Boyd who provides his own brand of justice when the time comes. With few resources and having to use their own ingenuity what they do will astound and surprise readers and wonder why there aren’t more agents like these two in the world.
As we hear the voices of both Lisa and Roger Liu we realize that both are influenced by someone else in their lives as she explains her lack of ability to turn on her emotions, cry at times and show her love for her mother. A mother whose demeanor is quite austere and whose requirements for her deportment are strict. Even when she finally makes it to court just reading about her clothes, what her mother states about the prosecution and the defense lawyers and her final declaration about how she sees Lisa and why she feels she is perfect the way she is will surprise readers and make you wonder who the real victim is in this story.
Lisa is relating this story 17 years after it happened and her career in the field of forensics has taken off. We hear her voice as being strong, dark and still having that flair for revenge as she shares her present life but not before we hear the judges words, learn the fate of the others involved and about her husband and then boyfriend Lenny who keeps her till this day centered and on point. The assets that she obtained like a red blanket, old radio, television, sharpener and patience are just four of over 40 some odd assets that would allow her to take down the man who she felt deserved to die. But, wait until you learn and read how! Lisa is cold, unfeeling, yet at times shows compassion just when she needs to turn it on. Imagine using a bucket handle as an asset or a bucket when you needed to relieve yourself. Each asset’s importance was weighed, catalogued and placed in a strategic position all through her captivity. On Day 33 hence Method 15/33 she struck. Meeting the Doctor and Mr. and Mrs., Obvious the couple who wanted only a blond haired and blue eyed child or forget it shows you the callousness and unfeeling of the couple who supposedly wanted to bring up a child but only if he fit their requirements. How sick!
Dorothy Salucci was the other young girl being held in captivity and when Lisa realizes it she does all she can to find this teen. Roger Liu has hyperthymesia or an autobiographic memory, which enabled him to save his brother’s life when he too was taken away. As you read Chapter 11 you get to know more about him, his relationship with his wife who was on tour doing shows and the strange partnership between him and Lola. Told in a journal or diary way each day of captivity described in detail author Shannon Kirk takes us inside the minds, souls and thought of not only Lisa but the FBI agents too. When realities set in we hear her speaking to her mother and we learn more about why she is so cold and unable to turn on the love emotion. On page 207 you will understand more. But, would she need help, counselors and support if and when found? How will she deal with being a young parent? Will her mother take control? Will they get her young unborn son and throw her in a quarry? Taking her there would frighten most but not Lisa. Each time the captors did something it only fueled her rage.
Enter her prison, hear the voices of the Kitchen People, listens to what happens when she realizes that the captor has a twin brother named Brad. Will she escape a second time? An ending that readers will have to decide is fair, just or totally over the top. What Lisa and Roger are capable of doing you just won’t believe? 15/33 what’s next for these two? Characters that are distinct, whose voices are strong, heard and whose link to each other is solid. Just who is the victim and who is the captor? You decide what would happen if you were in Lisa’s place and had to fight for not just your life but also that of another young girl and two unborn children? When you read the final pages and learn the final outcome you the reader decide if Justice was done? Author Shannon Kirk has the start of a series if she wants to bring back these two again. But, let’s not forget Lola!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
Kidnapped, pregnant teen turns the tables. Who is the victim and who is the aggressor?
Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped…
Now forget her…
Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn child and to exact merciless revenge.
She is methodical—calculating— scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits—for the perfect moment to strike. Method 15/33 is what happens when the victim is just as cold as her abductors.
The agents searching for a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?
Shannon Kirk is a practicing attorney and a law professor. She attended West Virginia Wesleyan and St. John’s Universities, is a graduate of Suffolk Law School, and was a trial lawyer in Chicago prior to moving to Massachusetts. She has been honored three times by the Faulkner Society in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a physicist, and their son. Method 15/33 is her first novel.