Lori Duffy Foster has written a taut thriller with her book, Never Broken. Lisa Jamison is a reporter who is surprised when she finds an emaciated man cowering in the back of her car. Seeing that he is in need of help and obviously very scared, she decides to help him. This act of kindness leads her to a story of human exploitation that feels like it is from the dark ages but it would appear that slavery is very much alive and thriving, even if it is subversive and not out for everyone to see.
I think that Foster has chosen an interesting storyline for her book which reflects a lot of issues which modern America is facing (as well as other countries) in its current cultural and economical climate. There has been much in the media of late about human trafficking and the perpetuation of slavery as well as the rise of white supremacy, and these controversial subjects are all incorporated into Foster’s novel and dealt with with seriousness and sensitivity. It provokes thought and sometimes, issues discussed wearing the cloak of fiction can be just as powerful as the discussion of them in every day forum.
This is a well-written book. The characters are well-drawn and the dialogue is realistic which, added to a plot which develops and expands at a great pace, means that this book has all the components of a good thriller. Lisa is a likeable heroine: gutsy but vulnerable; maternal and strong with a good sense of right and wrong; just enough determination and doggedness to get herself into sticky situations but not enough to be considered reckless. Supporting characters are solid and whilst the book has some frightening, threatening moments, it is not graphic. It is shocking but this is not overtly thrust in your face. Saul’s telling of his story, in particular, is used as a great way for Foster to describe what she has learned about people who have been exploited; what they are exposed to; how they can hope to survive it; how it can crush them if they lose hope in the face of brutality.
All in all, the Lisa Jamison books are a great addition to the reporter thriller genre and I know, from reading this, that I will be drawn to read other books by Lori Duffy Foster.
A thoroughly recommended read.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC. This review is a fair and unbiased representation of my opinion of the book.