The Loss of What We Never Had - Book Review

The Loss of What We Never Had

Author: Carolyn Thorman
Genre: Fiction - Thriller - Terrorist
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: December 26, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684334098
ISBN-13: 9781684334094

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Book Review of :  The Loss of What We Never Had


The first sentence of this mystery/thriller grabs the reader. “A severed head…lay in the weeds.” The Loss of What We Never Had, by Carolyn Thorman, is set in modern Spain and involves an American doctor who gets herself involved in murder and political/religious intrigue. How should she report her find to the local police? This novel is an unsettling stunner about love, courage and doing the right thing. The setting is a location that the author knows intimately.
Paige identifies the severed head as that of a Muslim woman. Was she killed by the jihadists or her own family? Or is this a crime by members of the Catholic terrorists group, the Knights of Constancia. She discovers the kidnapping of an imam’s infant son. With the aid of secondary characters from multiple cultures and speaking different languages, she gets herself deeply involved with rescuing the baby. Is re-kidnapping a kidnap victim a crime?
Conversations in dialect between and among the characters add to the authenticity of the story. The reader can easily visualize individuals. Alfonzo’s hands quivered. He had a “glassy stare, sunken cheeks, and disheveled clothing…Paint smeared jeans rode low…The angled ropes of gray dangled to his shoulders; threads of a beard drifted down his chest. Skinny arms, skinny legs-the guy was a spider.” Individual backstories are skillfully threaded into the plot.
Told in the first person, Paige shares her innermost feelings. “Overhead the sun burned the world white. I was in an oven baking my brain into a meringue of exhaustion and delirium.” “My head a tangle of hot wires.”
The escalation of tension and drama is cleverly accented by unexpected humor.
The author is able to break the grip of terror between rival religious fanatics with well-placed humor while continuing the lighting paced plot. Not many authors are able to do this successfully. In a scene with a gruff and disinterested local police officer, she is nervously trying to get her discovery of the woman’s head investigated when a spider scurries around the police blotter and into a pencil sharpener. The officer turns the sharpener’s handle ignoring her.
The author interjects philosophy into the story, asking about the kindness of strangers or the strangeness of kindness. She also states that confession is a sort of sin-ectomy.
Will the return of the kidnapped baby be a harbinger of hope? Was his rescue a sign that despite hate and violence, there would be peace, soul by soul? This novel is a powerful case for a deeper understanding of religious cultures, relationships and faith.
Carolyn Thorman presents us with an insightful and interesting contrast between Islam and Christianity in her novel. It is a book that provides a helpful reflection on religious and cultural contexts of varying religions and the relationship between the East and West.

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Carolyn Thorman


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