In Parker’s debut thriller, a young woman learns that her estranged parents are genetically enhanced soldiers who have passed down unique abilities.
Haven Windslyn hardly knows mom Kristyn Silktin and has never even seen her father, Ben Callensworth. She lives a quiet life in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with hubby Scott and their twin boys. But a plan hatched by her wicked mother-in-law, Colleen, leaves a beaten Haven in a hospital bed. Ben, Kristyn, and a group of soldiers come to Haven’s aid, but her parents are also worried about her safety. The two were part of Sector 11, which created genetically enhanced medical soldiers, or G.E.M.S. They’re at Cell 11, the most intelligent beings on Earth—except for Haven, the only Cell 12 in existence. Sector 11 dispatches men to retrieve Haven, whom Ben and Kristyn have struggled to keep hidden. Parker’s novel opens with beaucoup intrigue: a then-pregnant Kristyn goes on the run and later evades Sector 11 by sending Haven to various parts of the world. Somewhat compellingly, the story then turns into more of a soap opera. Colleen becomes a central figure, and her unveiled animosity for Haven marks her as the unquestionable villain. Scott isn’t much better than his mother; readers will guess what’s on the horizon once young Ali Loren becomes the newest hire at Scott’s Bar and Grill. The novel really picks up once Ben and his soldiers show up in Louisiana, practically marching down hospital corridors. Ben protects Haven from anyone attempting physical harm, while Kristyn and a New York attorney she’s hired try to subvert lawyer Colleen’s legal maneuvering when trying to get Scott custody of his and Haven’s sons. The introduction of a rescue mission—this one to save a G.E.M.S. pal being held for ransom by terrorists—is a bit jarring since it happens with only a quarter of the story remaining. Yet readers get to see Haven’s capabilities, including foresight, which her mother also has, as well as another that’s seemingly all her own. Add to that a potential love interest in Joey, Haven’s guardian since she was a mere 4.
Not much action for the first outing, but the start of what could be an invigorating series.