If they ever catch you, say nothing. Admit nothing. Never tell. Mercy Callahan never thought she’d be able to talk about her past. When she arrives in Sacramento to make peace with her brother Gideon, and to help find the brutal cult that took away her childhood, she is finally ready to talk. But when Ephraim Burton – the man who made her life a living hell – follows her there, she realises she might never be safe.
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Rafe Sokolov would do anything to have Mercy back in his life and would go to any length to protect her. But when it becomes apparent that Ephraim is more determined than ever to get Mercy back, even Rafe might not be able to stop the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. As Ephraim draws near, it’s clear it’s not just Mercy who is in danger; those closest to her are firmly in his sights.
Will Mercy sacrifice herself to help bring Ephraim down? Or will he finally get what he’s always wanted…
I hadn’t read the first book in the series but a lot of what you need to know is mentioned so it didn’t really detract from the enjoyment of the book. The story opens with Mercy and her mother trying to escape the cult known as Eden, where they’ve lived since Mercy was a toddler. She is now thirteen and was ‘married’ off to Ephraim Burton when she was twelve.
We then jump seventeen years to Mercy as an adult trying to rebuild her life and her relationship with her brother Gideon who escaped before she did. Gideon is now a police officer. His best friend is Rafe Sokolof (also a police officer who is Mercy’s love interest). In book one in the series Mercy ran away when she realised her feelings for Rafe were developing, but she was too scared to enter into a meaningful relationship.
This book does not hold back, so if you are squeamish about any of the subjects covered here then I suggest you find something easier to read. We are talking about child rape and abduction, murder (lots of it – the body count rises with almost every chapter), underage sex, brainwashing – all the usual suspects in a book about a cult. Even the consensual sex scenes are quite, shall we say, descriptive and I am not easily shocked!
But let’s get back to the story. Mercy hasn’t seen Ephraim since she escaped. In fact everyone thinks she is dead. One of the charming things the cult does when someone successfully escapes is to kill some random person, maul their body, bring them back for ‘identification’ and say they were too badly mauled by wild animals to be recognisable. No-one ever goes outside because of the ‘wild animals’. Bears and wolves I guess. No phones, no internet, no TV, so no-one can ever check the truth. Each time there is a problem with discovery by outsiders, Eden moves somewhere else – always somewhere really remote.
This is a gritty story, not for the faint-hearted, but there is also a lot of love, family bonding and true friendship. The Sokolovs are a warm, close-knit family who treat their friends with the same love. This includes Mercy and her best friend Farrah who accompanies her on this trip. Mother Irina cooks all the time and shows her love through food. When Ephraim comes after Mercy, they are all ready to protect her, especially Rafe, who is falling in love with her more every day.
This is a tale of murder, kidnapping and child abuse, but also of love and friendship in a family where nothing, not even Ephraim Burton, can tear them apart.
Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to part of #damppebblesblogtours
About the Author
Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep. Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/39sS03O
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2WX26VO
Google Books: https://bit.ly/32VguBC
Published in hardcover, audio and digital formats by Headline on 6th August 2020