Friday, March 23, 2012

My review for Finding Jennifer

Finding Jennifer
Author: Dave Folsom
Reviewed by Fran Lewis

A floating sensation came over Jennifer Hollings as she felt herself drifting down along shaft. Imagine being thrown down a volcano vent and dragged along the path in the desert sand before your body comes to a halt at the bottom of this endless hole. Senses dulled and no way to react or respond to get anyone’s attention Jennifer finds herself in total darkness without and unable to move. Jennifer started her day as she did many others with her camera bag and camera filled with film and her intent that morning to capture the images of desert creatures hoping to read the mine in sight in the desert. The early morning sunlight was the best time to create and capture the shadow it casted on the landscape and featuring the old buildings and picturing the world gone by. But, Jennifer was so caught up in her trip, the scenery and her remembrances, her photographic thoughts and the beauty of the smells of the desert itself she failed to hear or notice the intruders whose objective was anything but appreciating the local scenery. Spied by two men working for the head of a drug cartel, Jennifer never saw or even heard them before a bullet went straight into the side of her head. More afraid of the El Jefe or head of the cartel they made sure or hoped they did that her body would not be found and did their best to convince him of that.

Charlie Draper was daydreaming, contemplating and enjoying his morning coffee when his phone rang. Molly Sorenson County Sheriff would change the course of events of his day, as Jennifer Hollings would no longer be some unknown missing person that would be forgotten and no longer a stranger to him. Asking for his help to search for her, Charlie is a pilot, ex-police officer and trained in this field. Agreeing for more than just the job but personal reasons, he enlists the help of his friend William Alan DeCollado. DeCollado is half white and half Apache Indian and the only person that could help him find her. Making the deal with her mother and explaining the terms they go in search of the missing young girl.

As Jennifer comes back into the plot and we learn more about her surroundings we learn that she is surrounded in sheer darkness, awake in this vast vent or tunnel and trying to regain some memory of what happened. Fear was her initial reaction as she realized her body was not responding to her touch and parts of her tingled or felt numb. Hoping this was a terrible dream or nightmare she relaxed her breathing and began assessing her options and her next move. Finding her backpack, able to get the water body to become hydrated and some of the food she packed her next step was to climb out of the vent and get some help. Head aching, pain in the side this determined young woman would not give up on herself and she succeeded. But, she was far from out of danger and Charlie and William had yet to find her even though they had some idea from her mother. Finding the two Mexican Nationals that shot her, getting them to admit it, calling for the Undersheriff and having arrested solved one problem but not the major one that of finding Jennifer and hopefully alive.

Author Dave Folsom takes reader up in the air along with him and William as we look down at the desert, see the top of the hills, view the magnificent scenery, the overhanging ledge of granite, inside the darkened volcano vent, the creatures that crawl at night and during the day as we join in the search for the missing girl. Sharing Jennifer’s thoughts, feelings and actions we learn more about her courage and the men who shot her. Drugs are prevalent in Mexico and the border is right smack dab where she was as she crosses it in while wandering the desert. Head pounding, trying to relax, lizards, animals and the danger of being recaptured this young girl tries to find her way to safety.

Next we meet Gabriella found by the two men before she can be sold to men who would pay for her services. With her help they are able to convince Jennifer to come out of hiding as these men wanted to sell her as Gabriella was to be sold to a madam. Planning their escape and the route depended on whether Bill could land the helicopter and Jennifer could make the climb in her poor condition. But, Bill leaves to get the helicopter, gets stopped by Border Patrol, reprimanded and told to alert them the next time he needs to be near the border and has no idea that the agent is contemplating reporting their encounter to his supervisor. As they get Jennifer to the hospital and fill in her mother one problem is temporarily averted as another comes to light. What are they going to do with Gabriella and who will avenge what happened to both girls as Draper decides to take on the cartel.

As the head of the cartel learns what happened to two of his men, that Gabriella escaped and the fate of more of his people he enlists others to go after not only the women but Charlie and Bill too. With the help of the Sheriff, the DEA and a Detective they managed to take down part of the cartel make a huge drug bust but the war had just started and the body count would definitely pile up. Learning about the drug cartels their mentality and reasoning helps the reader to understand the frustration faced by Border Guards, the DEA and the local police. All too often they often get away with their dealings, get paid millions and the ones hurt are the kids they want to use as sellers or buyers. The human trafficking business that they saved Gabriella from is equally as horrific as the end is far from near.

The characters in this book are strong, well defined and each creates their own special flair in the plot. With many different agencies working together and the help of one young girl who has been through so much Charlie and Bill go after the men that kidnapped Gabriella, forced her into prostitution and profited in the millions. Just where does the top of the mountain or road lead to and who is at the top you won’t believe. Many different characters each hoping to succeed in the same direction wanting to stop the drug cartels, rid the world of their leaders and make it safe for young girls and kids. Men they buy young girls and sell them into white slavery. Some that make sure they are so drugged they do not know what is happening to them and women who make sure they never get away or send someone after them. This book brings to light what so many have tried to understand drugs, drug wars, unwarranted prostitution, selling women for profit and money and much more. How this all plays out you will not believe until you read it for yourself. Two men determined to make a difference even if they would never get the credit for it. Two men who would at nothing to even more than one score if they survive. Where this all winds up and who lives and who winds up in their own vast tunnel of death you will have to read for yourself. Is there really an underground tunnel where the drug dealers can move their merchandise and not be seen? Can anyone ever stop them or just put a dent in their operation? The author leaves these questions for the reader to decide and hopefully he will bring Charlie, Bill and Gabriella back again for another hit at the drug cartels, a relationship with Molly and you never know what else can happen. He is strong, he is tough and no holds barred but so are Gabriella and Bill. The ending will surprise you and a fast paced story that will keep you glued to the printed page and hoping for more as you turn the last page and read the dramatic ending. What is next for them? Only the author knows for sure. A fast read and a great read. Finding Jennifer is more than just finding a young girl in dire trouble it is about finding help for the innocent and the helpless in a world that is filled with corruption, murder, drug cartels and prostitution. 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer 

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