Finding Jake Blog Tour + Review -- A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Finding Jake | Bryan Reardon
Genre(s): Adult Fiction , Suspense/Thriller
Pages: 272
Release Date: Feb 24, 2015 | W. Marrow & CO
Edition: Hardcover
Source: TLC Blog Tours

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn't. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

Brilliantly paced, Finding Jake explores these questions in a tense and emotionally wrenching narrative. Harrowing and heartbreaking, surprisingly healing and redemptive, Finding Jake is a story of faith and conviction, strength, courage, and love that will leave readers questioning their own lives, and those they think they know.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my son was almost attacked by a Rottweiler. We were in our backyard, him playing, me doing some yard work, when the incident happened. He was a little ways from me, but I wasn't to worried as from my position by our door, I can still monitor and keep him in sight. I was bending over to pick up a bag of potted dirt when I heard the growl followed by the loud, deep bark of the dog. I peaked over my shoulder to see him running full force towards my son who was obliviously playing with his ball. In that split second my heart dropped into my stomach, and was beating so damn fast I could not only hear but FEEL the rhythm in my ears. In that same split second my instincts kicked in, and before the voice in my head could form the words to tell me to run, I was already halfway across the yard, running the fastest I've ever ran in my 25 years of living. Like a lion protecting her cub I was ready for war, and in that very moment only one clear thought crossed my mind . . .

Between the Rottweiler, my son and I, if anybody came out of this unscathed it was going to my baby.

Finding My Heart

" I will do anything to keep my children out of danger. I will die to protect them. This is not a bravado. It is simple fact. "
You better let them know Simon!

As a parent, I was truly able to connect with Finding Jake. I just kept asking myself as I was reading, " What if this was Mer, what if this HAPPENED to my baby, what would I do? " Even after finishing, I still don't know exactly what I would've done if the shoe was on my foot . . I mean, there's not much you CAN do in this type of situation. I do know that I pray to the lord above that it never happens because my heart would be shattered, obliterated into a million pieces.

What made this book so different from what I've ever read, was that the aspect of " gender roles " were switched. While Rachel, his wife had a budding career as a lawyer, Simon's career didn't quite take off, so with a semi-mutual decision, he became a stay-at-home dad. Now, I don't know about you, but I've never read a fictional story where the wife brings home the " bacon ", and the husband is the one who fries it. Reading from Simon's POV was so fresh because it gave me insight on the struggles of a father trying to fill what society labels, the " motherly " role. It was surprising to see that his parenting didn't differ that much from my own, which again was refreshing. We had quite a bit in common, he was protective with his kids as I am with my son, (him a little more than me) and I found myself giggling at how ridiculous he became in situations involving his kids.

Do you truly KNOW your children?

" Shots Have Been Fired At The High School. Calmly Report To St.Michael's Across Route 5. "

Shit hits the fan pretty early as the story takes a turn for the absolute WORST. Simon receives an alert, the same alert I mention above, from the local high school where his children, Jake and Laney attend. He's scared, frantic, and just as I was with my son and the dog situation, ready to protect his kids at all costs. The problem is, how do you offer protection when one of them is missing? The identified shooter was a close friend of Jake's name Doug, a kid Simon never liked. With more than a handful of kids murdered, law enforcement believe that there was a second shooter, one that is mysteriously missing.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel, was that it was told in alternating chapters but in a more interesting way. In present day, the chapters all vary in times and days after the shooting, (" Day One: Three Hours After The Shooting " for example) as well as covering different key moments of Jake's life, ranging from when he was just a couple months old, to the age of 16, when the incident takes place. Each flashback of Jake gave us a better understanding as to who he was as a kid. A true introvert but oh so sweet, he didn't have too many friends besides Max, and the creepy kid Doug. He was such a polite, well-mannered kid, that I had such a hard time believing that he committed this crime, but with Jake nowhere to be found to plead his case, doubt was raised, and the race to find Jake became painstakingly frightening.

Reardon did such an amazing job at keeping me on the edge of my seat. He delivered a compelling thriller full of emotion -- a story that happens to families year after year in our country. To read first hand what it would feel like to be the parent of the shooter or victim in this case, opened my eyes to the realization that you can know your children, without really KNOWING them all at the same time. The ending felt inevitable, I knew what was going to happen, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks to the point I was crying so hard I could barely see the words on the page. If you are in the mood for an awesome thriller, but sad and completely heart-breaking, then grab a box of tissues and dive in.

About Bryan Reardon

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Bryan Reardon is a freelance writer specializing in medical communications. He co-wrote Ready, Set, Play with retired NFL player and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth and Cruel Harvest. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Bryan worked for the State of Delaware for over a decade, starting in the Office of the Governor. He holds a BA in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, kids, and rescue dog, Simon.
Connect with Bryan on Facebook.

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