Book Review - Breaking a Sunbeam by Geoff Hunter
Seems that I've been getting a number of requests lately to review novels, and this one sounded interesting... Breaking a Sunbeam by Geoff Hunter. If you like your storyline with plenty of gore and mayhem, this one will work for you. It was also interesting to see how the hostages changed during their ordeal.
Jake and Kay Winter are an ordinary couple, young and in love. But their lives change when they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Juel, Carl, and Roy are pulling off the theft of some jewels from a old friend of Jake and Kay. The couple show up at the shop at the same time the situation deteriorates, leaving their friend dead and the criminals somewhat trapped. Juel shoots Kay, expecting that she killed her. But Kay does survive, and Jake, arriving just as Juel and company flees the scene, also gets a good look at the killers. That makes Kay and Jake "loose ends" that need to be tied up...
After a couple of botched attempts to kill both of them off, they stumble onto an opportunity. They kidnap Kay in order to force Jake to help them "clear up" a few matters. The promise is that they'll let Kay and Jake go after Jake does the job for them. In reality, they'll both be killed off at that point. But since there's really no other choice, Jake agrees to go along. The first job involves killing a doctor and burning down his house. But Jake finds out that the doctor is really a child abuser, and he's tied into Juel's past. Jake handles the job well, and they decide to use him for another "clean-up" job. This one goes bad, and Jake ends up killing someone to defend Juel and Carl. And while he's still planning to get his wife back, he's now much more sympathetic towards Juel, even to the point of falling in love with her.
Meanwhile, Kay is locked up in a cellar with no clue as to what's going on. Rather than sit and await her fate, she decides to try to escape. This becomes even more of a necessity when she comes face to face with Roy's fantasy world of medieval torture and control. She too undergoes a change in attitude towards Juel and Carl, and gets sucked into situations she would have never thought she could be part of.
While some of the action scenes seemed to go on a bit longer than I thought necessary, the overall plot, pacing, and character setup was well done. Juel is a true psychopath, and it's hard to figure out why she's that way until you find out her backstory. The relationship between Juel, Carl, and Roy seems odd at the first, but again it builds well over time. Watching the change in Jake and Kay as they crash through social and emotional boundaries is also compelling. Bottom line, I found myself racing more and more at the end to see how it would all wrap up. If you can put up with some rather violent imagery, you'll likely enjoy this read.