What's Next
by Bobby Bell

"Running and pushing open the door to the ladies room, Russ looked down to see his wife on the floor bleeding from her mouth, her hair matted with blood, and unconscious."

Two stories unwind in parallel until they become one in this engaging thriller. The first involves a soldier back from active duty who hasn’t seen his wife and three children for some time. The second follows the trail of two miscreants with a long history of law breaking, drug abuse, and more. When the two narratives intersect, the novel definitely shifts into high gear.

Russ and his family are on the way to Houston to visit Russ’s mom and dad. In Louisiana, they pull into a rest stop. In the ladies room, Naomi is assaulted, and the couple’s baby daughter is kidnapped. Soon, not just local and state police are involved but also the FBI. An intricate chronicle plays out as the kidnappers take off for Montana, the baby becomes seriously ill, and one of Russ’s sons begins to have visions of his missing sister.

Bell is an interesting storyteller who peoples his pages with characters drawn vividly, particularly the kidnappers. Melvin is a menacing force who stops at nothing to evade capture. His partner in crime is Darlene, a bedraggled drug addict who’ll do anything to get her next fix. Supporting characters, such as the Indian reservation policemen, stand out as well.

The author keeps the pace of his story moving swiftly. His plot has enough twists and turns to maintain excitement. Plus, the addition of the clairvoyant child brings an engaging touch of mysticism to the yarn as well. Readers who like tales of everyday people caught up in extraordinary circumstances may well want to give this book a try.

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