The second act of Beckon is much shorter than the first, but no less intense, and we begin to get an inkling of the conspiracy that Jack stumbled into at the end of Act 1.
This time, we join furloughed LAPD officer Elina Gutierrez as she’s surveilling a large chateau overlooking the village of Beckon. One of her cousins was abducted in Los Angeles, and she traced the kidnappers’ van to this odd destination. Elina is quickly discovered, and she flees for her car with a group of burly men following in hot pursuit. Despite discharging a .40 caliber bullet into one of her pursuers at point-blank range, she’s captured and taken to the chateau. The man she shot seems a bit shaken, but otherwise none the worse for wear.
Well, body armor is a lot less obvious than it used to be, right? Yes, that must be it.
Elina is brought before the abduction ring’s kingpin, an unassuming man named Vale with a taste for steak tartare. Elina bluffs her way through the interview, but she’s operating alone, without backup or authorization, a cop under investigation back home for a questionable shooting, and her cousin is an undocumented alien (in the legal sense, not the extraterrestrial). Vale figures rightly that she knows too much to release. His goons take her to a subterranean dungeon to await an uncertain fate.
It’s perhaps even creepier for us because we already know what’s crawling around in that cavern. Ick.
There, in the dark, she discovers she’s not alone. Other prisoners are locked in cells adjoining hers, and one is convinced there’s something far worse than death in store for them. Elina prays for help, endures another, decidedly less-friendly interrogation, and prays some more. When she’s almost given up hope, help arrives, after a fashion. Has it come in time? Will it be enough?
I don’t know. I haven’t finished the book yet. Tomorrow, Acts 3 and 4.
I’m still liking this. Elina is a great character—I want to know more about her and the circumstances leading to her suspension. I expect there are more details forthcoming. She’s also the first “person of faith” we’ve met in the story, and it sounds as if she may have recently returned to her walk with God, perhaps as one outcome of her suspension. This is a good example of presenting a character’s faith in a way that’s organic to the character and offers natural opportunities to explore what her relationship with God means to her in greater depth as the story develops.
However, I feel like we’ve prematurely swung away from Elina to another protagonist’s story, especially given how many pages Jack got up front, but Pawlik’s piqued my interest enough to be patient and let him develop the story his own way. He continues to demonstrate a good feel for action scenes, and I also wouldn’t have minded if the chase through the woods went on a little bit longer.
I’m avoiding the other Tourists until after Day 3 so as to not bias my reaction to the book, but do as I say, not as I do, and check out their reviews. Take a gander at Tom Pawlik’s web presence while you’re at it:
Purchase Beckon – http://www.amazon.com/Beckon-Tom-Pawlik/dp/1414338732/ Tom Pawlik’s Web site – http://www.tompawlik.com/
Tom Pawlik’s Blog – http://tompawlik.blogspot.com/
Tom Pawlik’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Pawlik/42692434035
Author Twitter account – https://twitter.com/#!/TomPawlik
(Wow, this guy is seriously networked)
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Rebecca LuElla Miller
>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the publisher, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<