When a 911 dispatcher picks up an emergency call to hear her daughter on the line, her worst nightmare becomes reality.
Laurie Ahmadi has worked as a 911 police dispatcher in her quiet Northern California town for almost two decades, but nothing in her nearly twenty years of experience could prepare her for the worst call of her career—her teenage daughter, Jojo, is on the other end of the line. She is drugged, disoriented, and in pain, and even though the whole police department springs into action, there is nothing Laurie can do to help.
Jojo, who has been sexually assaulted, doesn’t remember how she ended up at the home of Kevin Leeds, a pro football player famous for his work with the Citizens Against Police Brutality movement, though she insists he would never hurt her. And she has no idea where her best friend, Harper, who was with her earlier in the evening, could be.
As Jojo and Laurie begin digging into Harper’s private messages on social media to look for clues to her whereabouts, they uncover a conspiracy far bigger than they ever could have imagined. With Kevin’s freedom on the line and the chances of finding Harper unharmed slipping away, Laurie and Jojo begin to realize that they can’t trust anyone to find Harper except themselves, not even the police department they’ve long considered family . . . and time is running out.
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Twisty turny thriller
Jojo is the daughter of a police chief and a police dispatcher. She’s a smart kid, but she’s in love, and love sometimes makes us do stupid things. In Jojo’s case this leads her to have to call 911 after a night she can’t remember, waking up in a place she shouldn’t be. Her mom Laurie answers the call. 911 dispatchers are usually very calm in any situation, but not when your daughter is the one on the line. When it’s your own child in danger, all rationale goes out the window, and the momma bear comes out. Laurie is going to protect her daughter at all costs. Then another teenage girl goes missing. A body is found brutally murdered. And what starts as a one case becomes so much more.
Stolen Things tackles a lot of subjects in one novel. Police brutality, corrupt police, teenage exploitation, sexual abuse, LGBTQ topics. It’s packed full of touchy topics that need to become less touchy. Herron does an amazing job of allowing us to become so immersed in this story. Gay, black, straight, abused, it doesn’t matter. You immediately feel Laurie’s anxiety over anything happening to her daughter. You feel Jojo’s panic. You want to be able to help them and make it all right. Dad, Omid, the chief of the San Bernal police department should be able to do that, but as the pages turn, perhaps Omid isn’t the man Laurie thought he was. Harper, Jojo’s estranged friend, turns up missing. The various crimes and people become tangled together in a web that seems it will never be unraveled. Until it is.
I’ve been reading RH Herron’s books for a long time now. Her venture into this genre is a win. She takes her years of experience as a 911 operator and topics in our current headlines and turns them into a very compelling novel that will leave you wondering who is innocent and who is guilty until the near end. Don’t pick up this book expecting to be able to read a chapter or two and put it down. Plan to spend all night up with this one. It has sharp edges that hurt sometimes, but it’s worth every moment.