Frame 232by Wil Mara
During the reading of her mother’s will, Sheila Baker discovers that she has inherited everything her parents ever/i>
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The time had come, she decided, to rid herself of this burden, to take the steps necessary to put the matter to rest once and for all. And the first step, she knew—against every instinct and desire—was to watch that film.
During the reading of her mother’s will, Sheila Baker discovers that she has inherited everything her parents ever possessed, including their secrets. A mysterious safe-deposit box key leads her to the answers to one of history’s greatest conspiracies: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Not only does she have the missing film, revealing her mother as the infamous babushka lady, but she has proof that there was more than one shooter.
On the run from people who would stop at nothing to keep secrets buried, Sheila turns to billionaire sleuth Jason Hammond for help. Having lost his own family in a tragic plane crash, Jason knows a thing or two about running from the past. With a target on their backs and time running out, can Jason finally uncover the truth behind the crime that shook a generation—or will he and Sheila become its final victims?
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By WIL MARA
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Wil Mara
All rights reserved.
PARKLAND HOSPITAL PRESENT DAY
IT WAS NOTHING but a waiting game now, a cruel and macabre waiting game.
Sheila Baker watched her mother's face, framed within the hospital pillow. The eyes, reduced to sunken orbs covered by parchment skin, had been closed for a while now. Her nose and mouth were trapped inside the oxygen mask, clear plastic with pale-green straps. Her breathing was erratic, as it had been for the last two days. A drip bag hung nearby, filled with fluid that streamed into her ravaged body, and a mile of gauze ran around her wrist to hold the needle in place. The room was kept immaculately clean by the hospital staff, the sheets changed daily. Yet the reek of death hung heavy in the air. The clinical-looking clock on the wall held no relevance; time was measured in here by the rhythmic hiss of the respirator. For Margaret Baker, who had turned seventy-eight nine weeks earlier, this room was her universe now, her gateway from this world into the next.
She had smoked for years, a habit she'd first picked up in the 1950s, when smoking was considered safe and fashionable and people puffed away in airplanes, offices, restaurants, and elevators. The idea that you could die from it was as distant as the notion of committing gradual suicide from the sustained consumption of fried foods, the use of dirty needles, or living down the street from certain types of power plants. By the time academics started publishing their studies proving otherwise, she was hooked. When she finally mustered the willpower to break free of its grip, the cancer had already set up shop. Doctors were summoned, friends rallied round, and a spirit of cautious hopefulness arose. But lung cancer was almost always a nonrefundable ticket to the grave, and the light of optimism first dimmed and then flickered out. Margaret had accepted the truth and, with characteristic courage, focused not on fighting a losing battle but rather on making the final stage of her journey as uncomplicated as possible.
She'd been a patient at Parkland twenty-six times over the last three years. The first few visits were overnight stays for observation and an endless litany of tests. Then they became longer—two days, four, six ... Names and faces of the hospital staff became familiar. The need to stop at the information desk faded. One of the nurses in the oncology section, it turned out, had been a year behind Sheila in high school. People from the past came to visit in a depressing revival of This Is Your Life—the owner of the pharmacy in downtown Addison, several church friends, a former coworker, a few others. But no relatives. Sheila was Margaret's only child, and her husband had passed away in '98.
Sheila was pleased they finally moved her mother to a private room. She'd had roommates in the last three, all in worse shape. Each one was an elderly woman, and they were all deceased now. The first had been clearheaded for a few weeks, the other two in various states of delirium. Sheila was haunted by one in particular, who stared maniacally at the ceiling and produced an endless stream of glossolalia. It wasn't her deteriorated mental state that affected Sheila so deeply but rather the fact that no one came to see her. There were no balloons, no flowers, no cards. A forgotten soul in a world of billions. Someone from the local church had left a prayer card—but then her mom received one too. So did every other patient, most likely. Then one day Sheila came in and found the bed empty, made up with fresh sheets. One of the nurses said the woman had died the night before. With no one there to hold her hand, no doubt, Sheila thought with a touch of anger.
She stroked her mother's white hair, kissed her on the cheek, then sat in one of the ridiculously uncomfortable guest chairs and opened a cooking magazine she'd spotted in the lobby. No sooner had she found a recipe for sesame apricot chicken than her cell phone vibrated. Removing it from the holster, she found the following text message on the screen:
The guys are here with the new arc trainer and they're setting it up. Is there anything else I need to do?
Sheila rose from the chair and walked into the hallway before dialing. The call was answered on the second ring.
"That was quick," Vicki said.
"I'm here at the hospital and it's pretty quiet right now."
"Oh, I didn't know. I'm sorry."
"No, that's fine. I asked you to let me know when they got there."
"Do I need to tell them anything?"
"Are they actually working? Sometimes Eric's guys need the whip cracked over their heads."
"No, they're doing it." Vicki laughed. "I think they're afraid of you."
"That can be useful sometimes."
"I don't know.... You're the best boss I've ever had; that's for sure."
"Vying for a raise again?"
"No, really. I—"
"I'm just kidding. How are things going otherwise?"
"No more than usual, but no less, either."
"Any new recruits?"
"Yes!" she said. "I signed up four new people this morning. Four."
"That's excellent, Vick. Terrific work."
"And I re-upped two others."
"Re-upping is just as good. As long as they come to my gyms, I don't care how or why."
"We're the best."
"Better believe it."
"Oh, and that guy stopped in again, too...."
"That Doug guy."
Sheila rolled her eyes. "Did you tell him I was out of town?"
"Yeah. I don't know if he believed me, but he said he'd be back."
Sheila agreed, but she was also at a point in her life where she wasn't interested in a relationship with any man.
"Okay, let me get back to Mama."
"How's she doing?"
"Not that great. It's just a matter of time."
"How are you holding up?"
Sheila wasn't sure how to reply to this. She'd been through every emotion on the spectrum since the cancer had quietly entered their lives three years ago. Truth be told, she felt like a towel wrung of all moisture. It was torture to watch her mother suffer like this and to know the end of her life was mere days or even hours away. But there was still that hope, like a little flame that never burns out, for a miracle. of course it was ridiculous now, but that wouldn't stop her from tending it.
"I'm doing okay," she said, more to keep the silence from winding out than anything else. "As well as can be expected under the circumstances." A tear rolled down her cheek, and she wiped it away before anyone else in the hallway noticed.
"I wish there was something I could do."
"I know. I appreciate it."
"Is there anything you need? Anything I can send you?"
"No, I'm fine."
"Honestly. Hey, she was the greatest mom I could've asked for. She and my dad were always there for me, gave me everything I needed, and let me find my own way when the time came. I couldn't have asked for much more. And they really loved each other, so she had a good life too."
"You were all very lucky."
"We certainly were. But let me go, okay? I want to stay by her side."
"Sure. And don't worry about anything here. I've got it all under control."
Sheila ended the call and put the phone away. As she crept back into the room, she thought about how lucky she'd been to find Vicki, too. She had more than two dozen employees, and Victoria Miller was the best of them. No formal education beyond high school, yet she had more natural business sense than any of the arrogant MBA geniuses Sheila had interviewed. Vicki was hardworking, tough, and—best of all—trustworthy beyond all doubt. That was something they didn't stress much in postgrad courses, Sheila noticed.
She was just about to return to the magazine when her mother groaned and rolled her head back and forth. The oxygen mask didn't follow—the tube got caught under her arm. This caused the edge of the mask to press her nose down crookedly. Sheila hastened to fix it, and Margaret's eyes opened. They were red-rimmed and watery, like those of a child who'd been crying.
"Sweetheart," she said, her voice muted behind the clear plastic.
Sheila was stunned by the lucidity of her tone. They were medicating her heavily to chase off the pain. She slept most of the time, talked nonsense the rest. She usually confused the past with the present, referring to long-dead friends and family as if they were standing in the hallway. Every now and then she produced a coherent thought, but they were growing scarce.
Sheila leaned down and smiled. "Yes, Mama?"
Margaret lifted the arm with the gauzy wristband and, with surprising strength, took her hand. "I'm sorry," she said. This came out shaky and labored, but the eyes were suddenly bright again. The abruptness of the change was unsettling.
"For what?" There was still a faint trace of the Texas accent in Sheila's voice, in spite of not having lived here for almost twenty years.
Margaret's eyes closed again, and she sank back onto the pillow. This simple exchange had drained her, it seemed. Sheila thought she might fall back to sleep.
Then her mother took a deep breath and swallowed to clear her throat. Her eyes reopened. "For the burden. The burden of it."
Puzzled, Sheila studied her for a long moment. "What are you talking about?"
"This burden that I'm leaving you. I'm sorry, Sheila. I'm so sorry."
"Mama? What burden? What do you mean?"
"Just get rid of it. Get rid of it."
"What? Mama, I don't underst—"
The eyes closed slowly this time. Her breathing became deep and heavy.
Margaret Baker had just two more rational moments—one the next day in which she said that she loved her daughter more than anything in the world, and a second on her final day, when she asked Sheila what she thought God might have in store for her. When Sheila said she didn't know but was sure it would be wonderful, her mother managed a weak nod before slipping into unconsciousness. Her suffering came to an end less than two hours later.
Excerpted from FRAME 232 by WIL MARA. Copyright © 2013 by Wil Mara. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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This story is full of action and interesting scenarios. Fiction infused with non-fictional historical events isn't the usual type of book I'm attracted to, but it is definitely worth the read. When her mother dies, Sheila Baker’s life is forever changed, when she opens a safe deposit box and finds a well-preserved film that will change her life – and the world – forever. The story really propels forward with frame 232 of that film.
Wow, what a book! Wil Mara takes the truth of events on that fateful day and turns them on their heads. Unfortunately, I can't share anything or it would spoil the enjoyment of discovering for yourself just how great the story is. Suffice it to say I can't wait to see what Wil tackles next. His characters are realistic, his theories are plausible, and it will leave you wondering...is this how it really happened? I loved this one, start to finish. While it might seem to bog down a bit in the middle, hang in there...it's all vital to the story. And hang on to old photographs and films...you never know what you might help uncover. My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I was supposed to have posted this a long time ago, but I was taking a much needed break from writing online reviews. This is the kind of book that gets your creative juices flowing again.
Wil Mara in his new book “Frame 232″ Book One in the Jason Hammond series published by Tyndale House Publishers introduces us to Jason Hammond. From the back cover: The time had come, she decided, to rid herself of this burden, to take the steps necessary to put the matter to rest once and for all. And the first step, she knew—against every instinct and desire—was to watch that film. During the reading of her mother’s will, Sheila Baker discovers that she has inherited everything her parents ever possessed, including their secrets. A mysterious safe-deposit box key leads her to the answers to one of history’s greatest conspiracies: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Not only does she have the missing film, revealing her mother as the infamous babushka lady, but she has proof that there was more than one shooter. On the run from people who would stop at nothing to keep secrets buried, Sheila turns to billionaire sleuth Jason Hammond for help. Having lost his own family in a tragic plane crash, Jason knows a thing or two about running from the past. With a target on their backs and time running out, can Jason finally uncover the truth behind the crime that shook a generation—or will he and Sheila become its final victims? One of the greatest conspiracy theories of all time: how many shooters were there the day of President Kennedy’s assassination? No matter what camp you find yourself in “Frame 232″ is a highly complicated thriller. Sheila has come into possession of her mother’s film of that day and she sees it. Now she knows what happened. However there are others who do not want her to know or to tell others and she is now the target of assassins. Sheila’s only hope is Jason Hammond, a billionaire who solves mysteries and has his own personal problems. Jason accepts the case and desperately tries to keep the two of them alive while he seeks out the truth of that day. Lots of action, lots of excitement in this thriller that never lets you go. The bad guys are really evil and the good guys are really good. ”Frame 232″ is a top-notch thriller that will keep you flipping pages as fast as you can read. I recommend this book highly and look forward to the next book featuring Jason Hammond. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. 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.”
November 22nd, 1963 Dallas, Texas 12:20p.m. Margaret Baker was a normal, excited American. Today was the day the president was coming to Dallas. She was going to watch the presidential procession come through Dealy Plaza. Margaret felt ridiculous, though. She had to wear a disguise so her boss wouldn't see her. He despised President Kennedy. An overcoat and a headscarf. A disguise that would change her life forever. Margaret would forever be known as "The Babushka Lady", and the footage she shot that day would forever change history. Margaret was afraid of what would happen if she came out with the footage, so she kept it a secret. She didn't even tell her husband. She stored the footage in a safe deposit box in a bank, and tryed to go on with her life. A life she lived in fear. 2013 Sheila Baker, Margaret's daughter, is now left her mother's secret. Margaret has passed and left the footage to her daughter. After watching the footage, Sheila isn't sure what to do. Should she destroy it or let it out? So she contacts billionaire truth-seeker Jason Hammond to help her. Suddenly both Sheila and Jason's lives are sent into a tailspin. Both running, for their lives. Can they let the truth out or will the wrong people get to them first? I thought this book was amazing. The Kennedy assassination has always been a sad but intriguing topic to me. Although the author states he truly believes Oswald was the only shooter, the story is quite believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who finds this topic or history in itself interesting. *I received this book free from Tyndale publishers in exchange for my honest opinions and review.*
November 22, 1963 I was a young mother of young children at home taking care of them doing the daily things mothers of young children do. We had a black and white TV that sat in the corner of our living room on a small metal stand. Simple. Inexpensive. Yet, it was a connection to what was going on in the world. We usually watched the news at night so we could keep up with what was going on in the world outside our doorstep. There was, after all, a cold war going on and America and the Soviet Union were on tender-hooks. America’s President, John F. Kennedy, was the first ever elected Catholic to this esteemed office. He had a charm that wooed the American people and he was from a family of vast wealth and connections November 22, 1963, dawned sunny and bright in Texas and other parts of America. President Kennedy was visiting Dallas, Texas. Today it is hard to remember just what that visit was all about. The parade was nearly over and then the nightmare exploded our safe world just as the bullet exploded in the head of President Kennedy. In Frame 232 the author has taken this mind numbing catastrophic event in American history, woven bits and pieces of fact together to create a story that some may believe satisfies the theories who was actually behind the assignation of our President, of whether there was more than one gunman, of whether or not it as an international conspiracy or an internal one, was it a lone deranged gunman or was some other plot afoot? Based on photographs from the day that showed the woman on the side of the street in the crowded side lines that was dressed in a coat, scarf, and sun glasses and who was perhaps holding a camera, the author has fleshed out this lady with a personality, a life, and given her fears enough to last a lifetime. Upon her death, the film she shot was passed along to her daughter with the responsibility of its safe keeping. Because that film, held a mighty secret. Having personal recall of those dark days in American history, I found the reading of this fictional take on the event interesting. I personally never had time nor interesting in following through the years those who believed they could reveal conspiracy this or conspiracy that in connection with President Kennedy’s assignation. We did watch with horror the replays of the assignation, capture of Oswald, murder of Oswald, swearing in of President Johnson, the despair of Jacquelyn Kennedy, the funeral of our President, and the grief of his family as well as that of our nation. I found myself delving a bit into history as I read this book to refresh my memory and to see just what substantiated the narrative. I found the book interesting and worthy to be recommended. Is there truth in it? Well, with facts that can be substantiated, yes. But there is also fiction – it is after all, a work of fiction as acknowledged by the author. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Frame 232 as part of the Tynale bloggers network for the purpose of review. No compensation was received and I was not expected to render a positive review.
On November 22, 1963, America and the rest of the world was indelibly changed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza. Over the years, the stigma and sheer incredibility surrounding this event have given birth to conspiracy theories and an abundance of “what ifs”. Despite his own personal belief in the lone gunman theory and Lee Harvey Oswald’s culpability (explained in the book’s Afterword), Wil Mara creates an interesting and evocative fictional account of what could have happened that day. The angle that he pursues in “Frame 232” explores the mysterious and still-unsolved identity of the woman who is now known to history as the Babushka Lady. Consider: If this woman was filming the parade that fateful day, she would likely have obtained the most clear footage available, better than the Zapruder tape. Suppose, then, that as “Frame 232” postulates, she did manage to capture the assassination on film, but never told anyone and kept it hidden away, revealing this dark secret to her only daughter while on her deathbed. Such is the moral and emotional dilemma in which Sheila Baker unwittingly finds herself. Terrified and confused, she turns to the only person whom she believes is trustworthy—billionaire Jason Hammond, who has spent the past few years using his considerable fortune to solve historical mysteries and to try to forget the tragedy that took away his family and shattered his faith. Embarking on a life-changing and history-altering journey to figure out the truth, the two experience the danger of exposing people and information that some have spent decades to conceal and that some will stop at nothing to keep from the public. “Frame 232” is a meticulously-researched achievement of historical fiction, aptly published during the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Mara has crafted a thriller that will keep readers awake, not with fears of monsters or goblins but with a paranoia that maybe the men in the shadows really are out to get you. The novel develops at a relentless pace, providing readers with no chance to catch a breath as they are hurled into a frightening and exhilarating world of intrigue and shocking confessions. The story has a Christian backbone that makes this a suitable novel for young adults as well as more seasoned readers, as there is no profanity or lewd images, although the assassination is discussed in necessary detail that some may find disturbing. The Christian element is not overdone or sappy, but is rather delivered in a realistic fashion, so both Christians and non-Christians alike can enjoy this book. The only notable criticism lies in the often implausible carelessness of the protagonists, particularly during the first half of the novel. However, this does prevent the central characters from being too idealistic or impractical and therefore does not significantly detract from the storyline.
Delving into the mystery shrouding the Kennedy Assassination, this fiction story cleverly entwined with facts begins in 1963 with the real Babushka Lady. In our story, her name is Margaret Baker and she wants nothing more on that pivotal day than to see the president she admires drive through her city. In a disguise (so she won't be caught playing hooky from work), she brings her 8mm Bolex camera and inadvertently films the tragedy - in hindsight, from an angle no one else has. Although fearful, she keeps her secret for many years, hiding the film in a safety deposit box that is revealed only after her death. Her daughter Sheila is her sole surviving relative and is now the bearer of her secret - the one that some will kill many times over to keep from being discovered. Realizing the dangerous possibilities of what is now in her possession, Sheila decides to contact Jason Hammond, a billionaire adventurer who specializes in researching unsolved mysteries. She believes he has the power, resources, and knowledge to help her decide what should be done with this new evidence - and the Babushka Lady's film is more explosive than anyone could have guessed. I've never read a Will Mara book before, and now I can't wait for the next one. I was hooked almost immediately and didn't want to put it down once I began. His combination of fact and fiction is woven together seamlessly, the hero characters imperfect and yet very likeable. I truly can't wait for the next Jason Hammond book. Great concept, very well done.
Wow, Frightening but Entertaining - Action, Intrigue, Plot Twists. This book has impressive character development and thrilling investigations. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, and do not follow the ones mentioned in the book, but the fictional character based on a witness to the assassination was fascinating. It was an excellent thriller with a lot of imagination. I deeply appreciate the lack of foul language and prurient content. Wil Mara is talented enough to describe dark scenes and angry remarks creatively without the foul language. Of course, there is violence, but the subject was a brutal and very sad murder. In the pursuits and the intrigue, the violence was to be expected and to me, fit in just right; also, the conclusion tied up all loose ends. I like the main characters and would be interested in reading more stories about them. I could not put it down (even for lunch). The author’s notes at the end were enlightening. I recommend this book!
When Sheila Baker's mother died, she inherited the key to a safe deposit box containing a reel of film showing another man with a rifle poised to kill JFK. What I thought might be a boring rehash of the Kennedy assassination was an incredibly exciting mystery that I found fascinating!!! I loved it. The only thing that kept Sheila alive was the fact she turned to Jason Hammond for advice. I was amazed by how exciting this book was as Jason and Sheila raced to find out the truth before the killer found them. And it was a wild race that even took them to Cuba and got Jason in a lot of trouble with the American law!! If you love a good mystery, this is the book to read!!!! You won't want to put it down especially when Sheila is caught by the bad guy. Would Jason rescue her in time?
Mara is one of my favorite writers. His books are gripping; you don't want to put them down and Frame 232 does not disappoint. Probably my favorite part of his writing is his characters. They seems like people you would meet on the street. To me this is the epitome of a great writer; characters that are real. Frame 232 is a great series starter. We are introduced to Jason Hammond as the series main character, but he does not steal the show; other characters play pivotal roles and are equally as well developed. Teaser: After her mothers death, Sheila is thrown into a political cover up of global proportions and is knowledgeable enough to know she cannot handle this alone. She reaches out to Jason Hammond, a known mystery hunter, for help. Hammond cannot help but become involved in the biggest cover up in American history regarding the Kennedy Assassination. I cannot wait to read the next Hammond novel (of course I have a year to wait - sigh). I highly recommend this book.
Shelia's mother dies, and leaves behind a secret- she is the "Babushka Lady" that witnessed the assassination of John F. Kennedy and also filmed the event. Sheila finds the film and asks Jason Hammond, a man known for solving strange cases, to help her. I thought the book was very good. I wasn't alive in 1963 and didn't know much about the conspiracy theories. This book mentioned the various theories surrounding the assassination and I found it interesting.
This is basically a PG13 action flick placed in a Christian context. When a woman inherits a film proving the existence of a second shooter at Kennedy's assassination, she turns to a wealthy/haunted/philanthropist/businessman to help her solve the mystery. The closer they are to revealing the truth, the more their lives are imperiled. This is a fun, fairly light read. There was just enough suspense to keep the pages turning, enough violence to make me wince, enough romance to make me uncomfortable (read not very much), enough history to make me believe the story was plausible, and enough of a resolution to justify an ending. So for all of the above, I give it three stars. Here's why I withheld two: On an emotional and intellectual level, this book does not have much to offer. Emotionally, the characters often fall flat. The story often fails to show a clear cause and effect between the internal state and the outward action. Here are a few examples: [SPOILERS]a character's childhood home is destroyed during an attempt on their life, and the character makes no more reference to it for the rest of the story (which happens in a fairly compressed time frame); another (male) character cries on a stranger's shoulder, and does not feel vulnerable or defensive afterwards; a character goes to great lengths to conceal his identity for decades, then decides to come forward at the first danger of exposure; and so on [END SPOILERS]. For a story told in the omniscient third-person, this can come across disconnected and limit the emotional investment of the reader. Also, the author hides important plot points from the reader and the characters to artificially heighten suspense. Not my favorite method of writing. Intellectually, this book does a fine job of asking "what if?" but never really gets around to answering why. What little answer it does is provide unsatisfactory. I felt the characters in the story assumed more than any normal, rational, curious, or threatened person would be comfortable assuming about one of the biggest "unsolved conspiracies" ever. Also, there are several scenes where the author just does not provide enough detail; it felt like a poorly edited music montage in the middle of a suspense film. The story is well rooted in actual history, so the believability isn't really affected; and the film is fast moving enough that extended explanations would have noticeably slowed it down. But the resulting lack of depth made me wish I had something a little more substantial to chew on. So I'm not sorry I read this book. It was an entertaining way to spend a long car ride. But despite an ending which almost leaves one hanging, I probably won't bother hunting down the sequels as they are published. Mostly because I like to watch movies and read books. Not the other way around.
A terrific book! I’ve heard the conspiracy theories revolving around JFK’s assassination like everyone else, but until I read this book I hadn’t heard of the Babushka Lady. The idea that an ordinary, everyday woman could hold the secret to one of our nation’s most compelling mysteries was enthralling. Like in his other books, Wil Mara makes the characters come alive, and from the start of this title I was hooked. I will admit that Jason Hammond did a couple of things that perhaps seemed out of character for such a seemingly intelligent man, but in truth these missteps really only made his character more human and likeable. I would definitely recommend this title.
When I first looked at this book, I didn't think it looked very interesting. JFK was president before my time, so I do now have first hand experience of the impact the assassination had on society. I thought this book might be another one exploring the various conspiracy theories (2nd shooter and so forth). However, after I read the description, I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did! I love the way Mara took the historical event of JFK's assassination and intertwined it with a fictional story. Mara imagines what life might have been like for someone in the crowd that inadvertently captured information about the assassination on video. This is a non-stop action story that is pieced together bit by bit and readers never know quite where it will go next. There are a lot of details and characters to keep track of, so it is a story that requires concentration and isn't a super-quick read. However, it is so interesting, I didn't want to put it down. I think this story would be most interesting for history buffs or anyone who was alive when JFK was assassinated. Even though my knowledge of this time period is limited to history class or from family members, I liked it, but I think someone who lived during this time would like it even more. I am looking forward to Mara's next book!
I know a book is good when I have to keep reminding myself that this didn't really happen, this is fiction. I am not one to be totally into political stuff or overly curious about the JFK assassination but this book had me flipping pages into the wee hours of the night. I kept wondering could this really have happened? Mara weaves together a wonderful cast of characters you will love and others you will love to hate. Some of the characters are so twisted you just want to scream at them. There is a beautiful redemption story in this book as well from an unlikely character, but it shows that you have never fallen to far to be redeemed by our Heavenly Father. I would love to see this book turned into a movie, I could see it playing out so clearly in my mind. A copy of this book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
So I’ve looked at this book for a long time and never could bring myself to sitting down and actually opening to the first page. Why? I don’t know, really. It could be the cover, the content or just my procrastination gene kicking in. In the end, I did sit down and open the book and I will admit, I didn’t get much sleep for the next couple of days. What would you do if you were the only person that knew one of the biggest secrets of all time? Would you tell somebody? Would it eat away at you every day? Would you take the secret to your grave? Margaret Baker was faced with that very dilemma when she was in Dallas and filmed something on her camera. Once the news spread about the assassination of President Kennedy, she thought back to her camera and what she may have caught while she was filming. Once she had the film developed, she locked it away in a safe deposit box and never looked at it again. Now Margaret has passed and her daughter, Sheila, finds out that not only did she inherit the house and belongings of her mother, she has also inherited this national treasure. Knowing that there really isn’t anyone that she can trust, Sheila hunts down Jason Hammond and enlists his help. After his initial disbelief, Jason quickly comes to her aid as Sheila’s life is put in danger. Someone knows that the film exists and knows that she has it. Will Sheila and Jason be able to stay a step ahead of those after them? Is there someone that they can turn to with this lost secret? What exactly does the film show? Read the rest of my review and then run to your nearest Christian Bookstore and BUY THE BOOK! This is not the first book by Wil Mara, but it is his first novel written as a Christian Fiction novel. This novel does everything that I would hope for in a great book. It provided me with entertainment, it embellished on something ‘factual’ to the point of making me do some research myself on that fateful day in Dallas and it left me satisfied and wanting more. It was refreshing to see the main character as a flawed person that was able to return to his faith as the story progressed. I was concerned at the end that there were going to be some big plot holes that were just glossed over (like how Jason could escape from the Coast Guard without facing persecution), but my concern was unfounded. Is this a "guy's book"? There is so much action and adventure in this book, there’s no way that this could not be considered a great “guy’s book”. With the mix of the historical information provided about the assassination, everybody should pick up this book and dive right in.
This one held me from beginning to end. It was a fascinating and, believe it or not, fresh look at something that's already been written about many times. The characters were real, the suspense was tight, the ending was very satisfying. And I like that there were religious elements but not to the point where they felt the author was preaching to the reader. There was just enough. I also like that the "Babushka Lady" was a real person. There is clearly so much we still don't know about the Kennedy assassination.
The story captured my attention from the beginning, with descriptions real and frightening. For some reason, the last half was not as gripping as the first for me, though parts of it did keep me glued to it. I think there was a little too much time spent on the bad guys, not enough on the main characters and their personal feelings and actions. Perhaps it would make a better movie than book, although there are some scenes that would not transfer in a godly manner into film. (The book mentioned people swearing, prostitutes, etc.) Then, the Christian aspect of the book was lacking, in my opinion, though trusting in Jesus was mentioned briefly. Catholic churches and works were too accented. However, it was in general good writing and characterization with a few twists, so I kind of liked it. And if a book succeeds in making a conservative interested in the history of someone like JFK, I guess it deserves points.