Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Redemption by Laurel Dewey

Redemption (Jane Perry Series, Book 2)
by Laurel Dewey
Release Date: May 26, 2009 (Hardcover), March 1st, 2011 (Paperback)
2009 The Story Plant
Hardcover Edition; 381 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-9816087-5-4
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Source: Review Copy from Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tour

4 / 5 Stars

After a series of life-changing events, detective Jane Perry has resigned from the Denver Police Department. Trying to make a living as a private investigator, she finds her past haunting her at every turn and old demons rising up to torment her.

Then Jane meets Kit Clark, a woman who wants Jane to drive with her from Colorado to Northern California in search of a man who matches the description of the killer who murdered her granddaughter many years before. Kit's convinced that the man has started to kill again and she wants to stop him. Jane thinks the woman is crazy--especially when she discovers that she's a New Age devotee--but Jane is desperate for work. They head on the road, gathering critical information about the killer, and themselves, along the way. Jane has recently experienced several events in her life that seem to border on the paranormal, though she is a complete skeptic in that regard. Now, those experiences come with greater frequency. And when the trail of the killer leads to a fundamentalist church, the consequences of belief and faith propel her toward a deadly confrontation.

My Thoughts
Redemption is the second novel in the Jane Perry series, a terrific story that meshes suspense and mystery with personal insight and deep human emotions.  Despite a difficult childhood full of physical and mental abuse, and a personal battle with alcoholism, Jane has made a name for herself as an intelligent and intuitive detective and is called upon to search for a missing twelve-year-old girl.  Although full of misgivings, Jane takes on the case, tracking down an assortment of clues to the whereabouts of the missing Charlotte Walker, but at the same time, is lead on a path to self-discovery as she delves into her own past and her own emotions, emotions that often dictate the choices she makes in her own life, some good, some bad. 

Jane is a character whom I really admire as she is courageous and vulnerable, but at the same time, she can really kick butt and be ultra-tough when she needs to be.  She trusts very few people in her life, a result of a difficult childhood, and often runs even from those people in whom she trusts.  She avoids situations and her phone like anybody when she doesn't want to deal with something that is too difficult to handle, and takes on Charlotte's case in order to get out of town.  There were times I would have liked to shake her however, especially when offered a job by one of the few people she does trust, Sergeant Weyler.  I liked her vulnerability however, and the fact that she was a flawed character, as it made her seem very approachable and identifiable.  I absolutely connected with her on a very high level and her character is one of the reasons I enjoyed this novel so much. 

Kit is an interesting character as well, and Jane's polar opposite.  She is into new-age methods and spirituality and has a calmness and peace about her that at first gets under Jane's skin.  But Kit's firm belief that we choose our path in life and choose whom we meet is very strong and she is the catalyst by which Jane begins delving into her own pain and background and begins her own healing.  I love these words, "Be courageous and find out who you really are.  Self-analysis is not for the weak, but it's infinitely more satisfying than running blindly into the night." p380  It pretty much sums up their relationship and the trust that built between them.  I do have to admit to being somewhat skeptical about someone who professes to be perfectly at peace with the world.

Upon reflection, I have to admit the plot of the novel was kind of predictable and the events of the novel didn't always reflect the search for Charlotte.  In other words, it wasn't your typical police detective story where you find someone going door-to-door searching for clues, meetings with various police officers, and such; there are moments when you do wonder what the events have to do with Charlotte and the plot, until it all clicks together at the end and you realize how it all fits.  Jane is working on the side, so we get the perspective from how it would be from the outside and it's very different.  Jane can't always get what she wants by flashing a badge, but has to be creative, and it's that creativity that really surprised me. That being said, I enjoyed the novel tremendously, and thought Ms. Dewey's writing skill was fantastic as she has this ability to just draw you in and connect to the characters and the events.  This was an intelligently written novel,that focused on the human emotions as much as on the search for Charlotte.  There are some interesting and thought-provoking spiritual beliefs woven throughout this novel that may turn some people off, but for me, it wasn't about that, it was about the characters and what they were suffering and dealing with in their lives. 

Redemption was a fun, thoughtful, page-turning novel that I enjoyed tremendously.  It's gritty and tough, and while you may want to sometimes shake Jane, you will always be rooting for her and hoping she succeeds.  The story feels very realistic when compared to what you see and hear in the news every day and for every parent, definitely one of their worst nightmares.  Although Redemption is the second novel in the series, you can definitely read this as a stand-alone as few references are made to the previous novel.  I am looking forward to reading more Jane Perry novels in the future.

About the Author
Laurel Dewey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the author of two nonfiction books on plant medicine, a Silver Spur nominated Western novella, hundreds of articles, and the first Jane Perry novel, Protector. She lives in Western Colorado with her husband.

To find out more about Laurel and her books visit:


  1. Hi, Stephanie,

    I wanted to thank you for your in-depth and well thought out review of my book, REDEMPTION. Too many times, reviewers give you a few lines and you wonder if they actually read the book. I appreciate that you took the time to get into the characters' heads and, especially, understand Jane Perry for more than she just shows on the surface. As a writer, you spend a lot of time alone at your desk and wondering if anyone out there will appreciate the months of hard work it takes to write a novel. Your review helped me to realize that it's worth it.