Title: Downfall (An Intervention Novel)
Author: Terri Blackstock
Format: Softcover, 282 pages; Kindle (format reviewed)
Wow!! What a page-turner!! That became my thought, every time I had to force myself to turn off my Kindle, right through the crisis. Downfall is, according to my lexicon, a thriller, which is not my favorite category. The “bad guy” is introduced immediately, though his identity is not revealed until much later (but the savvy reader can guess before that!); worse, he succeeds in his first several, terrible crimes. He seems not only to be getting away with them, but increasingly making Emily Covington, a drug addict with two years of good sobriety, look guilty of the crimes and guilty of a relapse.
The story begins with a glimpse at the continuing tension between Emily and her mother, Barbara, who lives in constant fear of Emily’s relapsing into active addiction. From the moment she learns Emily’s car has been bombed, all of Barbara’s fears rise to the surface. Those fears, fueled by memories of all the family had experienced as a result of Emily’s involvement with drugs, nearly crush her spirit. As the situation worsens for Emily and the family, Barbara wonders: Can she go through that, again? If Emily really is in relapse, could Barbara find the strength to put her own daughter out on the street?
After her car is bombed—incompetently, thank goodness—Emily learns that Kent Harlan, her mother’s boyfriend cop, is working on a murder case. Discovering the victim’s identity convinces Emily that the two crimes are related; she recalls a conversation she overheard months earlier, at the rehab’ center where she works and tells Kent what she remembers. She then becomes convinced that another woman may be in danger, but an attempt to warn her lands Emily in jail, charged with the woman’s murder.
Downfall depicts the realities of addiction, relapse and recovery, showing us through Emily and her family that an addict’s restoration does not come easily; the danger of relapse is always there. Other dangers can arise when, as in Downfall, an active addict who is never motivated to get clean begins to wreak havoc with her or his own and other people’s lives.
The story’s crisis comes with palpable threats to life and limb for Emily’s brother and his friend. The immediate resolution is followed by a bit of romance, a nice touch. And then we reach the final chapter, which mostly dragged, for me, after the constant tension and action in the story. Except for that, I would have given this book 5 stars, as this story fought me, every time I had to put it down, for the night. I would give it 4-1/2, but I can’t; thus, my rating of 4 stars. However, I have now purchased Books 1 and 2 in the Intervention series, Downfall being Book 3. That should tell you something.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free Shelton Interactive/Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”