by Valentine Cardinale
Outskirts Press

"No. I'm a priest. No such thing as an ex-priest. Once a priest, always a priest"

Torn between staying with the church or marrying his longtime love, Richard Bianchi moves from New York to New Jersey on a leave of absence to think it over. Soon after moving in, neighbor Dana Dvorak, 16, a star hockey player, knocks on his door. She's been avoiding her house while her short-tempered, anti-government father, Eddie, entertains. Still shaken from the death of a troubled teen whom Richard couldn't save, Richard befriends Dana. When Eddie goes missing and fearing he may have been kidnapped, Richard asks Dana's grandfather to stay with her. At the hockey rink one day, a stranger confronts Dana with a video message from Eddie, who assures her he is fine but needs some time away. He pleads for her to get Detective Vinny to call off the investigation. Nonetheless, Richard and Vinny continue to search for him. After another video message from Eddie, Dana recognizes the room he is in. Richard and Vinny find Eddie in a doomsday shelter with an anti-government group, planning a terrorist attack. It's up to Richard and Vinny to decide if Eddie was taken against his will, or if he's willingly joined up with the terrorists.

Part mystery, part drama, Breakaway is a captivating read. The author has created believable, well-rounded characters with whom the readers can relate. It is easy to sympathize with Priest Richard as he struggles to decide between leaving the church or marrying his longtime love. Dana is a kind-hearted but typical teen with a passion for hockey. Although her father is reluctant for her to play and worries she will get hurt, he eventually acquiesces. Eddie is a complicated character and the author does a good job keeping his ultimate motive a secret until the very end. This is both a suspenseful and heart-warming read.

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