The Volunteer by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Published by Author
At the request of author, Barbara Taylor Sissel, a Kindle Edition was gifted, at no cost to be, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (from Amazon): In the fall of 1999, psychologist Sophia Beckman is compelled by the court to give testimony on behalf of a death row inmate that results in his sentence being overturned. Haunted by secrets from her past, she avoids the media spotlight as much as possible, but soon, other prisoners’ families come seeking her assistance. One family in particular, the wife, children, and brother of Jarrett Capshaw, is especially insistent. Forty-one days ago Jarrett’s request to die was granted by the State of Texas, and he became a dead man walking, a man they call a volunteer.
Jarrett’s crimes were unusual, involving the theft of precious Mayan antiquities. Murder was never part of the plan, but murder is what happened. He pulled the trigger, and as little as he feels prepared for it, as much as he struggles with matters of the soul, he’s ready to die. It is the only way his family and the families of his victims will be free to move on. While Jarrett labors to find the words to say good-bye to those he has loved, Sophia finds herself drawn into a relationship with his wife and oldest son. It is Jarrett’s family she can’t resist and there will be a price to pay. But not even Sophia could have foreseen the outcome when the brutal truth is exposed, the unalloyed facts that, incredibly, will deliver Jarrett’s fate straight into her hands.
The Volunteer is a story about families, how they are made, and how in one single, horrifying instant, they can be broken. It is a story about mothers and the lies they tell to protect their children, to keep them from being hurt. But what happens when the truth comes out anyway and nothing and no one is spared? Sometimes the truth has the power to break your heart, and in Sophia’s case it will also endanger her freedom and threaten everything she has ever believed about her life.
My Thoughts and Opinion: This is the second book I read by this author, the first being The Ninth Step. I am always a bit skeptical reading follow up novels by an author, especially when I enjoyed the first one as much as I did with The Ninth Step. Will it be as good? Will it have the same quality writing? Will I once again be able to connect with the characters? Are my expectations too high for the second book? Or could the first book have been a “one hit wonder”?
Barbara Taylor Sissel is an amazing author and I can’t say enough about her work. It is phenomenal. She writes about complex emotional and moral issues and weaves in flawed and life like characters into a suspenseful story that leaves the reader with thought provoking thoughts. The Volunteer is a book that will stay with the reader long after the last word is read. The author’s writing style is so detailed and fluid that the reader feels that they are present in the plot and characters’ lives. Full of emotions that are palpable. A story that the reader becomes invested in that it is hard to put down. A novel full of family relationship dynamics and how the past and lies can affect the future with dire consequences. Heart wrenching!! The suspense has twists and turns but I found myself more involved with the characters and that the suspense was a subplot. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!! But, more so, I would recommend this author!! Her work is brilliant!!
(2012 Challenges: Romantic/Suspense, EBook, Mystery/Suspense, Off The Shelf, Just For Fun, FreeReads, Where Are You, A-Z, I Want More, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)