It Takes One: Kate Kessler
Audrey Harte has been branded as an outcast, killer and pariah in her hometown. Before getting out of her car and coming home to celebrate her mother’s birthday she is put on the spot having to attend to her drunken father and bring him home. Not everything goes that smoothly and entering the bar and the stares are quite evident Audrey faces another foe; her used to be best friend Maggie, who is also drunk like her father. Maggie as the story goes went after Jake who Audrey really wanted but married someone else and the altercation in the bar results in more than just pushing, shoving and words. This is a story about redemption, hope, forgiveness and a town that preys on the failings of others and whose gossip runs far and wide in order to ruin the reputation and lives of others as Audrey comes face to face with hostility, hate and the one man who has her heart: Jake.
Even though she is a criminal psychologist it does not make her immune to the hostility that greets her when she enters the bar, sees the older women in Church and deals with the ridicule of even the police. As an expert on the show When Kids Kill, on TV she is a celebrity of some degree but at 12 years old her best friend Maggie Jones McGann with Audrey’s help murdered her father who was abusing her sexually and in other ways. Rather than be sent to a psychiatric hospital Audrey was sent to a juvenile home and then went to school earning her doctorate. Returning to Edgeport for her mother’s birthday after seven years took a lot out of her and dealing with her sister, Jessica, who resents the air she breathes and other members of the community Audrey at times finds it hard to keep silent and her sarcasm and sarcastic remarks are well deserved. Although her mother blames her for the murder and meeting Maggie and having a verbal and physical fight in public, there are some that stand by her like Jake. But, when Maggie is found dead on the beach the next day Audrey is suspect number one. Jake Tripp is the one that got away and although she pretends to not care about him he’s hard to resist at times. Added in we meet Rusty her father during sober times and times when he is completely skunked as the town is reeling from the murder and Audrey is hoping to clear her name. Hoping to clear her name she wonders just how far someone would go to frame her? How far anyone would go to protect a friend? Would you so the same for a friend?
Within the family structure of Maggie is her brother Matt who has his on vendetta he wants to enact on Audrey claiming it is her fault that he wound up in foster care as well as his sister’s for not stopping what their father did to him. Angry and violent it took another brother to stop him from raping Audrey as Lincoln comes to her aid as well as Chase. But, the electricity and chemistry between Paige and Jax cannot be denied and the hate that Belinda the nanny has for her equal to that of Matthew’s. As Neve Graham searches for answers as the case was handed to her someone broke into Jax’s house forcing him to move Audrey and the plot becomes more complex as there is more than one person that would like her eliminated but who killed Maggie. When questions are asked of Gideon her husband the fact that he wanted a divorce comes to light is he guilty? While Neve shows Audrey a cache of drugs that belonged to Maggie more questions are asked as she hopes Audrey can match the drugs to a specific mental issue taking the spotlight off of her but on to who has yet to be revealed.
In the center is a family torn apart as Audrey tries to connect with her two nieces, still estranged from her sister that won’t give her a chance or allow her entry into her heart or family, the resentments hold but will they remain when the truth comes out. Family loyalties trust, the life of a five-year-old child named Matthew and a family torn apart by the actions of two young children in the past.
Jake and Audrey make the bar scene to learn more about Maggie’s friendship with several women at a bar called Lipstick things start to come into place as another part of her character is revealed yet both Jake and Audrey will leave the rest to the police at least for now. It’s as if Maggie had two separate lives and only now did they know about them but violence takes a front seat in both.
Things take on a different turn as we learn more about Jake and how he came to own some much property, the bar that Audrey went to in order to get her father and the change in her parents since she came home for this short visit. Added in she and Jake just might rekindle something as she learns the hidden truth behind why he hooked up with Maggie. Truths, lies, deceptions and deceits come front and center as Audrey realizes that what he did was for her own good and benefitted her future. With Jake and Audrey reconnecting and the whole town dealing with the murder the end result and the killer is a long way off from being revealed.
Neve questioned Lincoln about his relationship with Maggie as Audrey returns to Stillwater to meet with a young girl who might benefit from her help. With Jake at her side she ventured back to the place where she spent a lot of time and became the strong person she is today. But, guilt weighs heavily on her and she was sent to this place because of Maggie and the truth about her father’s murder and who really hit him comes out but not only in town gossip but in print. So, will her boss fire her from her job? Will she lose the TV Program? Will the killer ever be revealed?
Families torn apart as she and her sister try to be aside their differences when her mother seems to have something wrong with her and has yet to reveal her problem. When Maggie’s stepdaughter talks openly to Audrey you see the extent to what gossip and talking in your ear telephone is as whispers are louder than when people speak into a megaphone or mike and Audrey has to decide whether she will shrivel up or face it head on.
A story of loss, family relationships, lies, cover-ups, deceits and hope as Audrey and Jake delve into the past of several people to learn just who killed Maggie and as the title states; It takes one! Only one to do this job! A visit to Stillwater enlightens her as the young girl she sees Melly pretends to have DID: dissociative Identity Disorder or multiple personalities. Thinking about it and sharing her thoughts with Jake, Nev and his niece, things come into focus and although she is told to stay away from the investigation she can’t thinking Maggie might have had DID and she need to find out more. Just who killed her? Was she coming close as Matt attacked her and is now in jail and Yancy, Jake’s sister hopefully is finished with him as he is just as abusive as Maggie’s father.
A simple journal would start Audrey on a path to discover who really killed Maggie and why. A confession made but was it really the truth? The story centers around abuse of the worst kind when it’s someone you trust who ruins who you are and at times you can’t focus on who or what you want to be. The ending is sad and quite compelling as Anne, Audrey’s mother explains why she needs her family close by and Audrey has to decide whether to go back to LA and stay there or come closer to home. Will she and Jake ever get together and will the family Maggie Jones ever be the same?
Author Kate Kessler created a headstrong, persistent, caring, hardnosed character in Audrey Harte that makes readers want to see more of her and know what’s next? With Jake at her side and hoping to put his past behind him can they both life the fog and mist and see the bright sunshine and blue sky to make their way to a better future but will they?
A story of acceptance, forgiveness, hate, revenge, understanding and loyalties that have to be rekindled and families that have to find it in their hearts to become one again. Audrey Harte has to decide where she belongs, to understand and take responsibility for her past, move ahead and realize that in life to be happy IT TAKES ONE!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine