Dark Harvest: by Chris Patchell
Spur of the moment shopping during a snowstorm brought Becky Kincaid out in the middle of a raging snowstorm. Impulsive to say the least, risking her own life and that of her unborn child, to purchase a car seat for a child that has yet to be born. Questioning her family they learn that she moved out when they learned she was having a child and did not want any part of her pregnancy. Becky was determined to give her unborn child the best life possible so when Melissa Rooney and the team at the Holt Foundation learn that on the same night that she ventured out she was kidnapped and there is no sign of her, she offers the help of this amazing foundation to investigate the case and hopefully bring her home.
Seth Crawford is the lead investigator on the case and although dating Melissa at times he has misgivings about how to proceed or whether to proceed with their relationship as her daughter Brooke was kidnapped, suffered at the hands of the kidnapper and still has nightmare, fears and outbursts which seem to be getting worse all the time.
Lead investigator, Seth Crawford, desperately searches for the thread that binds the two cases together, knowing that if he fails, another woman will soon be gone. While Seth hunts for clues, a madman has Marissa in his sights and she carries a secret that could tear her whole world apart
Seth Crawford was a police officer and now works for the foundation and is tossed between his feelings for Marissa and his late wife Holly. For some reason he relates that he feels that he failed her and it’s his fault that she is gone.
Suzie Norwood was pregnant and was about to get ready for bed when someone knocks on her door. Thinking she won a free year of diapers and not asking who was at the door Suzie’s fate was sealed. Two girls missing and what did they have in common? When Marissa and her team decide to confer with the police why doesn’t Detective Garcia realize the two cases are related?
Planned Parenthood is supposed to help young girls who are in need of assistance both financially and medically when having a child. Unwed mothers need all the support they can get but someone out there has other ideas for these young and naïve girls. There’s a doctor who heads the Planned Parenthood clinic with his nurse both names I will not reveal due to the Hippa law and confidentiality that I promised the author not to reveal too much. But, this doctor is insane and has his own thoughts and ideas for the innocent children that these young mothers are about to have.
Stem cell research is not new but yet untested in many areas as author Chris Patchell allows readers to know just what this process of stem cell research has to do with the unborn children. The man behind this bizarre research needed it for a specific purpose that would enhance his own memory loss but at best he saw things and people that are not there. He even heard voices and conducted operations within his demented mind which he thought he actually did. Behind him and keeping him focused was his nurse Tory who he gave the job hoping she would be more than just a nurse but his slave in many ways. Hoping to finally leave the sick doctor, Tory always had feelings of remorse, regret and never faltered or wandered from the doctor’s side. As you hear the screams of both Becky and Suzy you begin to wonder just how many more victims are buried somewhere.
Marissa and Seth’s relationship is rocky at this time as her daughter Brooke needs her to deal with what happened to her, an incident where she tried to kill herself and Seth had to come to her rescue. When Marissa approaches Jessie Morgan, a friend of Brooke, will he agree to call her and try to draw her out? Her sister Kelly seems to support her but why is she living with her father, Marissa’s third ex-husband?
Things take on a difficult turn as Seth contacts Holly’s parents, apologizes for not attending something in her memory and yet feels drawn to the cemetery where she is buried but needs her mother to direct him to her grave. Throughout the novel Marissa and the agency works hard to uncover who is taking these young women and stealing their newborn or unborn children. Henry is their computer genius who manages to hack into everything whether legally or illegally while Seth approaches his contacts at the police department hoping to get access to their information. Can the foundation work alongside the police? Will they share intelligence to stop this sadistic killer?
Marissa has been dating Seth and realizes that she might be having his child and when he learns that she was at the same clinic that both Becky and Suzy went to and met the doctor who just might go after her, he fumes, yells, rants and raves thinking she was not going to tell him about the child and abort it.
Seth is impulsive and Marissa at times unrelenting in her feelings about Holly almost acting like she is the other woman in Seth’s life even though his wife is gone. Unyielding at times she pushes him away and the head of the foundation Evan begins to see her unravel and puts pressure on her to get him the information needed for a presentation on a donation model for the foundation.
Detective Alvarez was his former superior, as Seth tried to convince him that both cases of the missing women were connected and that the Holt Foundation was investigating both cases, but it would be irresponsible of him to link this baby to either of the missing women without evidence since the a child was found in the hospital. Suzy’s baby was born and the doctor wanted Tory to get rid of it because it was a black child and he felt not worth living. But, flashing back to what happened to her younger brother Michael, this Michael she would make sure had a chance at a good life while Henry was breaking every law.
Seth entered The doctor’s name in the search engine and began formulating a profile of this man and his relationship to Becky and Suzy. But, the doctor learned about Marissa Rooney the Assistant Director of the Holt foundation and recalled that Tory did an ultrasound on her and now he wanted her as a donor.
The author through Dr. Lil Russo explains to readers and Seth who managed to get into a conference that was only for doctors, shares information about DNA testing, the number of sources for stem cells in young children that would help this doctor possibly restore his memory and brain to be normal again. But, at least what he was doing did not involve the young child but using the placenta, cord cells and a screening mechanism. This information and more is shared on pages 154-155.
When the truth becomes a reality and Seth realizes what he missed when meeting the person that was killing all of these young women would someone close to him tell them where he might be hiding? Things spiral out of control as Marissa is taken, her child is in danger and the killer wants her to be next. But, restraining, Henry trying to find the location, hacking into different systems and realizing finally that his love for Marissa does not have to equal his feelings for Holly, will he be there in time to save her? Brooke is in need of counseling and when Marissa does not show to take her there she counts on an old friend to take her instead. But, when her mother does not attend the session she asks to go to her office and the staff is concerned since she did not show up and she is not at home.
Sometimes difficult times bring out truths, realities and can change a person that has been feeling scared and sorry for themselves when someone close is in danger. An ending that is heartfelt, filled with violence, death and the hope that Seth can get there in time before Marissa is a victim of this killers next DARK HARVEST!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine