Friday, August 5, 2011

VOICES CARRY by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 2001
ISBN: 978-0-671-78591-8
Mass Market Paperpack
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by publisher

After a childhood incident that left her without her family’s support, Genna Snow has made a sort of peace with that dark time in her life by becoming an FBI agent. She accepts the tough cases ready to dig in and right the wrongs committed on those less able to defend themselves. Early on at the Academy she fell for fellow agent and instructor John Mancini. Dark hair, dark eyed with his own brand of charm, Genna found herself in love with John, only to have that world torn apart after a particularly disturbing case. Genna and John began the long road back to each other in BROWN EYED GIRL, but this latest suspect could tear them apart in more ways than even the top agents can imagine when a piece of Genna’s past returns for her.

Questing for a congregation of his own, Genna’s father preached fire and brimstone with such ferocity he and his family were invited to take up residence miles from their Kentucky home. There, the staid and oppressive life she led with her father and mother turned into a worse nightmare when she and her sister, Crystal, are taken to camp one summer. When one of the counselors tries to rape the young Genna she does what none did before and fights back. In the dark of the night she manages to escape and find her way to Patsy’s house. There, under the watchful eye and loving heart of Patsy, Genna learns to trust and make a life for herself. Just as John begins to make inroads with his own dark demons and find his way back to Genna, the couple are assigned to their most horrific case yet. There is no crime scene, there is no suspect. All there is, is a growing number of missing women. Not runaways from bad situations—a new mother, a loving couple, an adored wife, one by one they are being taken, but no one knows where and there are no bodies to uncover. Slowly but surely Genna realizes she may be the psychopath’s next victim. But that’s not what scares her the most. No, it’s when she realizes who the kidnapper is that takes her breath away.

Mariah Stewart truly hit her stride in BROWN EYED GIRL which due to no longer being available except secondhand, is given a brief critic in our retrospective of Ms. Stewart. While her earlier works hinted at the depth this author can write, it wasn’t until BROWN EYED GIRL and the introduction of Genna Snow she really came into her own. VOICES CARRY is an even greater stretch and the story even more dark and gripping.

In VOICES CARRY Genna and John are more fully fleshed out. While many of Ms. Stewart’s earlier characters lack some depth, these two are fully drawn. Her secondary characters are equally appealing and as much as I liked Patsy, I fell in love with John’s family. John’s family reminded me of my very much alive Italian god-family. I knew exactly what they sounded like in their total joy for family and life.

There were some anomalies in the story, such as an FBI agent wouldn’t be involved in solving their own crime. They would just be too close to the situation to handle it as objectively as they should. At one point Crystal (who is about 30 at the time of the story) talks about someone using a cell phone to save her when she was twelve years old. Since VOICES CARRY came out in 2001, the likelihood that someone in a boat had a cell phone in 1983 or thereabouts, is a bit of a stretch. There are a few other areas a good editor should have caught the pieces that aren’t possible. That said, the pace and pulse of this story will keep you on edge and you won’t want to put it down until you get to the very jaw dropping end. And what an ending it was!

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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