January 18, 2012

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl's abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl's body was found, and Molly's life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland. 

Molly's life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly's home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she'd fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.

 There were so many things that I liked about this book including the main plot, which was fascinating and mysterious all at the same time. Melissa did an excellent job with character development as well as representing the strain on familial relationships during hardships. She also did an excellent job of demonstrating both sides of the crime and helping the reader understand the confusion and fear felt by all sides.

So while I really enjoyed Chasing Amanda, there was one element that I just couldn't get past - the ending. Melissa did a good job of tying up all loose ends except for the one that was central to the entire plot - how the 7-year old girl was abducted and kept in the first place. Other questions were answered but the main one was left wide open and that frustrated me. I may have missed something somewhere but I just didn't feel like the case was as resolved as it was written to be. 4 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
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  1. Good review. One critical point though: is a 4-star review warranted if a question central to the plot not answered? Or is that question not really essential to the story?

  2. @L.H. Thomson I felt that the writing and the overall story was strong enough that it was still a great read and warranted a 4 star review.

  3. Hi, thank you for reviewing my book!

    I would be happy to clarify. Tracey's disappearance was reflected in several memory passages. I
    I'm not sure how you missed it, and I'm sorry that you did. I'd be happy to discuss it with you and show you where in the text it's referred to.

    If you are referring to her abductor, then again, I cannot discuss that in a public forum because it is a big plot spoiler:-) but it's spelled out in great detail in the ending of the book, and I'd be happy to point you to the pages in the text. Feel free to email me directly. Again, I'm very sorry that you missed those crucial points.

    Thank you again. I found your link via a Google Alert, and was very pleased to read your review.

    thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com


    1. @Melissa, I'll email you separately to explain my confusion. It may very well have been the way the book was written with the memory passages, different perspectives (that I actually really enjoyed), etc. that left me confused at the end. I really did enjoy the book and thought it was extremely well written and insightful, especially on a subject (abduction) that I personally have never experienced.

    2. Hi Melissa, I just finished reading Chasing Amanda and I really enjoyed the entire story. There is one thing that is driving me nuts though, which I may have missed it somewhere in the book, I am sure I did. Who is Walter Meek? Or how was he introduced in the book? I hope you are able to answer my question! Thanks!

  4. Hmm...sorry that my post got all jumbled:-)

  5. I'm glad we connected! Hope there are many enjoyable reads in your future :-)

  6. I also was left with a lot of questions at the end of the book, so i will email you also. Thank you for providing an email address and answers!

  7. Melissa Foster is prolific and imaginative as her second book is a tremendous read that kept me guessing until the very end. Abduction is something that I feared as a child, Now that I'm a parent, the possibility of losing a child in that manner is haunting. I don't know how Foster manages to create these characters in this world of loss and worry without going nuts in her real life!!! She pulled me into the book with the characters, the details, their shifting viewpoints, the runaway plot. I'm so glad she's out there writing as I think she has a gift for creating worlds just subtly (sp?) different than most.


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