Two Nights: Kathy Reichs
Sometimes your past can affect your present when things in life cause you to feel isolated and alone. Sunday Night, a name she created for herself is not one to live with the masses but on an island off the South Carolina coast. Most of the time she is reflecting on her life and what has gone wrong. Reliving her past causes her pain and when having the choice between jail time or the armed forces she enlisted with the urging and help of Perry Beau Beaumonde a policeman. The marines then a job with the PD department in Charleston she was hurt during an accidental shooting of an armed man bringing her to the attention of Opaline Drucker a rich and well connected older woman who has a special job for Sunday to find her 15 year old granddaughter named Stella. Thinking she might be the victim of a cult she went missing during a bombing of a Hebrew school that claimed the lives of her brother and mother. The family was not Jewish so the link to them is still unclear. The story is told by Sunday in the first person as events unfold. She is sharp and has been hired to find Stella and Drucker’s funds are limitless but from the start we realize that Sunday has a touch of paranoia. First rate hotels, information from the police that handled the case, questioning skills that are astute and quite on point, Sunday sets up motion detectors in her room at the Ritz and creates other accounts and moves into other hotels in order to await the results of internet accounts on many social medias that she created. She is smart and astute and hears from the bombers and avoids one trap that is set for her. The author brilliantly lets us hear the victim who has been sequestered by this cult and tells about her fear, her love for this man and the fact that the testing comes daily and the pain she endures at his whim. The story could have been ripped right out of the headlines as there are many young people that fall prey to these cults thinking they will have all their needs cared for but never realizing the underlying threats they hold on them as we hear the voice of the girl who wants to escape but who this girl is has yet to be revealed as we do not know if Stella is alive. The bombing at the school was it t kill Jewish schoolchildren or something else we have yet to learn? Getting attacked at her hotel she winds up killing the assailant but when questioned by the police they seem skeptical about her story. A text message warning her to meet at 12 midnight or something would happen to Stella sends her off on another mission even though her shoulder is bandaged and she was shot. At this location she finds another man a monk and the end result he’s arrested, she does some recon in a young girl’s apartment hoping to hack into her accounts and learn more. At the same time we once again hear from the person hoping to escape the cult and enjoy the fresh air but she knows if caught the punishment will be stiff. Belonging to a cult they would change your name and the author shares that Sunday was born on a Sunday in August and when we meet her brother his name is August hence the month he was born. When you meet her she is listening to a Neil Diamond song and created her own name and background.
Sunday moves around a lot and has enlisted the help of August Aka Gus her brother who is now part of her team. With Clagg and Clapps allowing her to see the video from the bombing of the school, she is able to get a time frame on the deaths. 43 minutes would change the lives of some and others would die. The author continues to include short, cryptic chapters told by the victim of this cult relating her testing, torture and mind control of her own thoughts hoping to rid herself of the tunnel she is in without any doors, light or comforts. She is clearly trying to convince herself that she’s not afraid and will survive.
Jasmine Kerr and her accomplice Bronco are on the move even after Sunday broke into her apartment, her laptop and used some of the information to get a better handle on her but she wound up doing surveillance, finding out where they went and once again covering her tracks by moving into different hotels at the same time without one solid place. But, not everything goes as planned as she is attacked by two thugs, taken in a car but hopefully Gus will come to her aid. Every step of the way someone seems to be on her trail but so far after over a week no sign of Sunday so will Opaline continue to have her on her payroll?
Moving around a lot and then getting some graphic photos leads Sunday and Gus to finding Jasmine in a secure position but trying to question her to no avail. Her accomplice Bronco seems to be out there but where? The photos are graphic and the end result she learns about the other victims of the bombing and one that makes her wonder if Stella is even alive as the author once again shares the voice of the victim, the torture and the fear knowing this time the Leader might end her life. But, who is this person that we cannot see but hear: Sunday or Stella?
With the help of her brother and Kerr in her custody the ungodly truth behind the bombing comes to light and the names of those behind it told. Someone heading the Jihad for Jesus movement is manipulating bronco and the link is hiding in plain sight as bombs are planted before a big horserace at Churchill Downs but will they be stopped and can all of them be defused before thousands are killed. Their motive: Kill all Muslims and the end result would be carnage worse than the school bombing. Informing the police and working with several teams, Sunday and Gus race the clock hoping to stop what someone started but will they be able to? O’Rourke and his partner Gomez allowed her to work with them to a point sharing everything about the school bombing, Stella’s disappearance, continuing with Bronco, Landon, Crozier and the other suspects plus working with Capps and her theory about the bombs and where she thought they were placed. An ending quite explosive as on Kathy Reichs can deliver as all the players and suspects come into place, something happens and some will live while others might never be the same as Sunday endangers her life in order to hopefully save another. Guilt ridden about her past brought her to try to rectify that in the present. Will she save Stella? What did Drucker know that she kept from her all along? The final chapters reveal it all the ending will shock readers as who was behind this carnage, who wanted to take more lives and who is the person speaking to us about her own tortures, failures and why the past sometimes needs to stay buried and the future remains in question. Sunday and Gus Night are two strong yet different characters that deal with adversity in different ways. She is impulsive, quick on the draw, resourceful and knows how to command attention while Gus is not quite her opposite but gets it done without any fanfare. Author Kathy Reichs created two great new characters that I hope she brings back for me because Sunday still has so much to deal with from her past that it will be great to see her grow in the present. One thing is for sure you don’t want to cross the TWO NIGHTS!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine