Author: R.H. Herron
Book Name: Stolen Things
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Overall SPA: 3 Stars
Blurb: “Mama? Help me.”
Laurie Ahmadi has worked as a 911 police dispatcher in her quiet Northern California town for nearly two decades. She considers the department her family; her husband, Omid, is its first Arab American chief, and their teenaged daughter, Jojo, has grown up with the force. So when Laurie catches a 911 call and, to her horror, it’s Jojo, the whole department springs into action.
Jojo, drugged, disoriented, and in pain, doesn’t remember how she ended up at the home of Kevin Leeds, a pro football player famous for his on-the-field activism and his work with the CapB—“Citizens Against Police Brutality”—movement. She doesn’t know what happened to Kevin’s friend and trainer, whose beaten corpse is also discovered in the house. And she has no idea where her best friend Harper, who was with her earlier in the evening, could be.
But when Jojo begins to dive into Harper’s social media to look for clues to her whereabouts, Jojo uncovers a shocking secret that turns everything she knew about Harper—and the police department—on its head. With everything they thought they could rely on in question, Laurie and Jojo begin to realize that they can’t trust anyone to find Harper except themselves . . . and time is running out.
Main SPA Evaluation Areas:
Characters: 3.5/5 Stars
Believability: 2.5/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 3.5/5 Stars
There were so many pieces to this story, it was really hard for me to separate out what I liked and what I didn’t. For the most part, I really did enjoy this and I was invested in watching all the events unfold as the story moved along. If I had attempted to write this immediately after reading it, I might have given it at least another half a star or more just because my adrenaline levels were way up there by the time I got to the end.
Taking the time to really think about it, though, I realized that there were pieces that bothered me. The obvious, and one that I kept pinging on as I was reading, was the utter disregard for procedure throughout the entire book. When I run into this issue in a book, it makes it incredibly difficult to believe in the story I’m presented with. There is at least the attempt to justify that disregard in some areas, but others had no justification and I struggled with how certain things were allowed.
I also really struggled with the extreme levels of corruption presented and the type, the fact that so many people were involved or knew about it. Then throw in how it was being handled and that really broke the believability barrier for me. Really kind of smashed it to pieces. I had to really fight to stay in the story and not let that yank me out.
Those are all important pieces to the story, but I felt like a bigger piece of the story was that of Laurie’s relationship with her daughter Jojo and the concept that a mother will go to all kinds of extremes to protect her child. While this was done really well in almost all parts of the book, there were a couple of places that made the mom in me screech that a mom in that situation would NEVER let that happen.
The final issue I had with this is the fact that a lot of side pieces to this story get left undone and you don’t get resolutions or answers to them. The main piece is resolved, but there are so many other smaller pieces and characters that I really want to know what happened after the point where this ended. I just prefer a cleaner ending.
I do think this was a good book, though. For anyone that does a better job of overlooking things that tend to bother me, then this is probably a great book.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Stolen Things – R.H. Herron”
Okay I love that you have a believability score in your reviews. Sometimes I forget to think about that consciously, but I’ll make comments here and there about “psh that would never happen” or something like that. Do you kind of feel like the family being Arab American plays an important part to the story and possibly what happens with JoJo, or was it just to have diversity? I’m so curious about that. Great review!!!
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Thanks! Believability is a big part of what I like or don’t like in a book. The concept can be ridiculous, but if the author can make me believe in it, then they have done their jobs. When they break from reality, but don’t back it up with solid believable reasons for that break, especially in realistic fiction, I struggle with liking a book.
As for the race aspect of the story, I honestly can’t say. It feels a little like a diversity grab, but as I’m not a POC, I don’t feel as though I’ve got the perspective to speak to that. It felt a little like bandwagon jumping on several hot button topics without a lot of substance to back it up.
I had forgotten my reaction to the #metoo mention until I read another reviewer mention it, but I was really put off by that bit. Like it was a mention just to draw attention to that issue, but it was done in a somewhat negative way. Having experience with this, The attitude presented towards it really irritated me, so from that standpoint, I feel like the issue of race and how it was presented in here is on a similar footing, if that makes sense.
I had fully intended to mention that this was riddled with trigger landmines, but forgot about it when I wrote my review.