FALLOUT by Carrie Stuart Parks
GENRE: Suspense (clean)
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2022
Her carefully crafted life is about to be demolished.
After a difficult childhood, Samantha Williams craves simplicity: jigsaw puzzles, lectures at the library, and the students she adores in her role as an elementary art teacher in the dusty farming community of LaCrosse, Washington.
But when an SUV crashes into the school where she teaches, her entire world is upended. She manages to keep all of the children safe, but her car isn’t so lucky. Oddly, her purse—containing her driver’s license, credit cards, and other identification—is missing from the wreckage.
After authorities discover that the driver in the school accident was shot seconds before the crash, Samantha quickly becomes entangled in increasingly strange events that have her looking over her shoulder.
Samantha has long tried to forget the tragedy of her past, but the twisting maze she discovers between the murdered driver, a deadly secret government project, and an abandoned town can’t be ignored. Those involved are determined to keep these secrets buried, and they’ll use any means necessary to stop Samantha’s search for truth.
Carrie Stuart Parks is one of my go-to suspense authors – I love the mix of forensics, faith, humor, psychology, danger, and romance. Nobody creates engaging and relatable heroines quite like she does, and she’s done it again in Fallout.
Samantha Williams has clearly been through some sort of trauma in her childhood, but she’s suppressed it as a means of coping. As the other suspense threads unfold throughout the story, Parks also feeds us just enough of Samantha’s backstory to keep it niggling at the back of our minds. Reminding us that there’s information just out of reach. Uniting us with Sam in her quest for the truth. In fact, all of the suspense elements in Fallout are laid out like that, allowing us the barest hint of a connection here and there to see if we’ll be able to connect the dots before it’s too late for these characters we’ve quickly come to love. As Samantha points out toward the end of the novel, it’s all about the dots. I absolutely loved the pace of the information reveals, the high levels of tension, and the almost gothic feel surrounding Clan Firinn. Who can we trust? Who is behind all the strange occurrences? And how are they all connected – if at all? Ahhhhhh I literally could not read this fast enough to see how each puzzle piece would come together in the end.
As a random side note that no one cares about but me (lol). I appreciated the mention of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory which is significantly tied to my own family history.
Bottom Line: I was glued to the pages of Fallout from the beginning of chapter one when art teacher Samantha sees an SUV hurtling toward her occupied classroom. Carrie Stuart Parks brilliantly crafts a plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats, holding their breath, and even – as I did at a certain twist – gasping out loud at the unexpected. She also tucks in a gentle faith thread that is organic to the character and contributed to the overall narrative as well. Sam and Dutch are likable, intelligent, and empathetic characters with layers beyond what is first seen, and I of course loved the dash of sweet romance Parks wove into their story. The tidbits of Cold War history are fascinating and sobering all at the same time, and the mood of the novel is pitch perfect. Not to mention the expertly utilized nods to some of my own beloved children’s books. I can hardly wait to go back and read it again!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / loved it!
Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy, multiple Carol, and Inspy Award–winning author. She was a 2019 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in mainstream mystery/suspense and has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.
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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carrie Stuart Parks and Thomas Nelson. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
There will be THREE (3) US ONLY winners for this tour. EACH winner will receive a physical copy of Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks.
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