Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: A Child is Torn by Dawn Kopman Whidden

Title:  A Child is Torn
Author:  Dawn Kopman Whidden
Publisher:  DKW Books (Second Edition)
Genre:  Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Release Date:  July 6, 2016

From the Back Cover:

When dependable Evan Madison fails to show up for work, police are dispatched to his home. His ten-year-old son, Brad, is discovered inside, unharmed and seemingly alone. He is stoic, sitting in front of the television playing his favorite video game, Super Mario—and he’s covered in blood.

Veteran Police Officer Marty Keal is the first on the scene. With his many years of experience, he thinks he’s seen it all. That is, until he discovers Brad’s not really alone after all. Upstairs in their bedroom lies the brutally bludgeoned and deceased bodies of both his mother and his father. When questioned, Brad confesses to the horrific murders.

When Brad is transferred to a local mental health institution for children, Dr. Hope Rubin is brought in to evaluate and treat the child. A preliminary investigation shows no evidence of any kind of mistreatment in his past. She must determine the disturbing truth: Is Brad telling the truth? Or is he covering for someone else?

Detective Jean Whitely rounds out the investigative team; and she suspects there is much more to the case than what meets the eye. The happily married mother of two is unwavering in her determination to uncover the real truth about Brad. Was he abused? Or is he the product of an evil seed born to kill?

As the layers of truth about Brad are systematically peeled away, you will be compelled to ask yourself, which is the more dominate factor in contributing to who we are—NATURE or NURTURE? 

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review:

Whew!  This book had just about everything!  Murder, suspense, mystery and romance... and when I say romance I mean the tingly kind... not the blunt cold heavy sex kind.  It was perfect and did not take away from the main story.  It enhanced the story by giving you deeper insight into the lives of the characters.

This book grabbed me from the first page.  When Brad's father didn't show up for work and couldn't be reached, co-workers became concerned and called the police to investigate.  Then when Police Officer Marty Keal shows up and not only finds little 10-year-old Brad sitting in an almost catatonic state in front of the TV playing a video game, covered in blood, he knows this is going to be a bad scene.  Sure enough!  When he explores the house to see if anyone else is there he finds Brad's parents in their bedroom bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat.

Could this sweet little boy be responsible?  He was covered in blood, his little fingerprints were all over the baseball bat... and he said he hurt them.  Little Brad is taken to a psychiatric facility under the care of Dr. Hope Rubin and during that time he enters the hearts of Dr. Hope, Detective Jean Whitley, Gabby, Marty and just about everyone else he comes in contact with.  How is it possible that this sweet little boy could have done something so horrendous?  Or did he?

I didn't quite understand why the Madison's were not questioned more thoroughly in the beginning.  There were certainly red flags with those two and the detectives should have seen that.  It was explained, but somehow I couldn't grasp that explanation. Maybe I've just watched too many episodes of CSI and Criminal Minds.  But all in all, this story was VERY good and well thought out!

The author, Dawn Kopman Whidden, manages to build each character in the story bringing in personal relationships with fathers, mothers, children and even with each other, without taking away from the story itself.  These characters seemed so real!  And the story brought tears to my eyes more than once.

On a side note, I was glad to see that the cover has been changed from the first edition of this book.  This one is much better, and not quite so "Chucky".

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a thriller, mystery or suspense novel.

*Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy provided by the author with the sole purpose of an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Dawn Kopman Whidden is a native New York author who grew up in the close-knit community of Little Neck Douglaston during the baby boomer era. She graduated from Queensboro Community college.

Twenty years ago, she traded in her days of living in the bustling city for a more serene and tranquil life on a small farm in the town of Bell, located in North Central Florida.

She is retired and shares her life and love with her husband of nineteen years and an adopted stray dog she named Casey. She has also been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren.


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