Leslie Lynch cranked up the suspense in Unholy Bonds, the second book in her Appalachian Foothills series. Lannis Parker, rape-survivor, juggled multiple threats as her life crashed about her. She found that “turning the other cheek” often invited another slap. Rejected by those who should have support her, she refuses to return to the darkness of her alcohol addiction, but set her eyes on healing. Trembling and fearful, but determined, she forced herself to face her attacker for the sake of justice and healing, for both of them, in a word, “restorative justice.”
Lynch skillfully elaborated on Robert Davis, the antagonist in both Hijacked and Unholy Bonds. This despicable predator was nevertheless a fellow human representing the worst in all of us. We, along with Lannis asked “Our Father…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Could Lannis forgive Davis? Was he too far gone to ever hope for remediation?
The author tantalized her readers as she brought them into the mind of the rapist and his victim. She detailed the enduring damage of rape and the ways so many blamed the victim, perhaps until they shared a similar experience. Her treatment of “correctional facilities” raised both awareness and revulsion.
I recommended this timely novel, not only for the representation of the souls of both Lannis and Davis, but for the social issues it brought into the glaring sunlight and the fact that Leslie Lynch offered a fresh approach to suspense novels that revealed her skills as a story-teller and her imagination that will surprise and delight her readers. Her third novel, Opal’s Jubilee waits in the wings for publication.