Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Long Lost by David Morrell
Released: May 2002

I became a fan of David Morrell after reading Creepers back in 2011. Since then, I've been building up a small collection of Morrell's backlist. This past weekend I read Long Lost, and now I definitely want to read everything else on Morrell's backlist. The novel took me about a day and a half to finish; I couldn't stop obsessing about it. Just like Creepers, Long Lost is fast-paced and engaging, and I was eager to get to the end so I could see if the good guy kicks the bad guy's ass.

Little brother goes missing

Twenty-five years ago, Brad Denning sent his nine-year-old brother Petey home so Brad could play baseball with his friends. But on his way home, Petey is snatched by an older couple in a car and never seen or heard from again -- that is, until Petey approaches Brad in the street after seeing Brad featured on a morning talk show to discuss his work as an architect.

Brad is immediately caught off-guard and on the defense; after all, he's been getting random calls from men claiming to be his brother with hopes of gaining access to some of Brad's money and fame. But after asking a few probing questions to confirm Petey's identity, Brad is surprised to learn that Petey's identity seems to be legitimate. Brad immediately takes Petey home to meet the family, and to provide Petey with room and board until he lands on his feet. The family reunion appears to be going well, until Petey, Brad, and Brad's son Jason go camping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Seeing red, and the quest for revenge

Shortly after arriving at the campsite, Brad is pushed off a cliff by Petey, but miraculously survives after having landed on a ledge. By the time Brad makes his way to a nearby main road hours later, Petey and Jason are long gone. When he arrives at home, Brad's wife Kate is also missing, along with the family car.

After months go by and authorities can find no signs or leads regarding Kate and Jason's whereabouts, Brad takes the law into his own hands. He attempts to hunt down his family by putting himself in Petey's shoes, and retracing his steps from the time he met Petey, to the time his family disappeared. What Brad learns about "Petey's" past is disturbing and painful, but he allows nothing to stand in the way of getting his family back for good.

I LOVE a great revenge story, don't you?

I'm a sucker for movies and novels that take the average joe and turn him or her into a bad-ass killing machine. The movie "Enough" starring Jennifer Lopez comes to mind, as does "Eye for an Eye" featuring Sally Field (and yes, I'm aware there may be billions of better examples, but these are the first two stories that come to mind). After all, authorities are bureaucratic and often lack the resources to help with kidnapping situations long-term, which is why it's so awesome when characters are angry and passionate enough to take the law into their own hands, no matter how "unethical" they may be in doing so.

Brad Denning's character does EVERYTHING he possibly can in an effort to win back his family, which makes him the ultimate hero. He takes self-defense classes, learns how to shoot a gun, and takes time off work to dedicate his entire existence to getting his family back safe and sound. I love everything about the story, and Long Lost doesn't disappoint.

Even the novel's ending isn't cookie-cutter perfect, which makes Long Lost that much more amazing and realistic. Any readers who enjoy a great thriller should definitely check out this novel. I guarantee you'll devour it within hours.

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