Stolen Child: A Forrest Spencer Novel, Book 2
by Gerald Neufeld
Novel Voices Press Inc,

"I've never gotten over Divinity's disappearance. The police, the FBI, they all think Divie's dead but I know different. It's just something a mother knows."

At the center of Gerald Neufeld's second book in the Forrest Spencer series, we meet Divinity Parker, aka Anna, an extraordinarily beautiful young girl adopted by Norm and Lena Henderson. The loving, professional couple is attempting to reconcile the hurt of losing their own child in a tragic incident incurred while vacationing in Mexico. Despite a period of adjustment, Norm soon sees his wife's heartbroken spirit revived and realizes the kindred connection between Lena and Anna.

"Overriding my curiosity was my persistent fear that there was something about the adoption that wasn't right." Norm's words are truly prophetic. Enter attorney Forrest Spencer and his cohorts, who are following a new lead on a missing child who disappeared from a school yard, eighteen months earlier. Predictably their investigation leads to the Henderson home where the couple is informed that Anna's adoption was part of an illegal Internet scam, and she will have to be returned to her birth parents.

Stolen Child is more than a plot driven novel, as Neufeld's finely developed characters provide the emotional surges that move this story forward. To this end, the book is purposefully divided into sections, and each chapter is character titled and written from that individual's point of view. Here in particular, readers will witness the changing heart of Cassie Bollinger, a normally tough and stoic FBI agent who upon examining the deep connection between Anna and her adoptive parents, senses the error of returning the girl to her self-centered, abusive biological mother. Bollinger draws the audience into her frustrations as she speaks directly to the reader to "apologize for blowing off steam." With Bollinger and the Henderson's perspective so often reflected, at times the key voice of Spencer seems a sudden surprise.

Beyond his legal persona, the author wisely includes the loving, family-oriented aspects of Spencer's personality. These moments can include the simplest of activities like baking cornbread with his daughter, or helping his son with a school project. When blind-sided by his wife's infidelity, Neufeld intentionally wraps up this well-written narrative on a polite note on Spencer's life. In the aftermath of such emotionally charged events, as his character looks for brighter days ahead, the intent seems clearly suggestive of an opening for the next book in the Forrest Spencer series.

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