The Journey
by Clarence Mike Dunaway
Parchment Global Publishing

"There are journeys in everyone’s life but of course, all are different."

As the author indicates, everyone's life journey is different. Dunaway's lean novel follows the lives of best friends from Pleasantville—Marla and Brenda. Both women have known each other since elementary school, and they vow to eliminate any outside influences in order to stay focused throughout college and afterward as they train to become nurses. In their work at the hospital, they each witness and experience heartbreaking incidences, with victims from all walks of life coming through their workplace's doors.

A hit-and-run victim after a robbery leaves Marla and Brenda desiring a much-needed vacation. They embark on a small camping road trip to escape the pressures of work and everyday life. While fishing, they meet two ranch hands, Jack and Fred. They flirt, and Dunaway hints at possible romances, but these never really develop. While on this trip, the women encounter a dead body in the woods—a potential kidnapping victim from a robbery. As the women move on with their lives, each finds new love. However, the continuing crimes affect them in ways they never anticipated.

On the one hand, Dunaway's story is primarily a coming-of-age novel and a romance of sorts. On the other hand, there is a legal thriller buried within the narrative, and this part of the plot is the more intriguing of the two. The reader eventually finds out through the course of the novel that all of the various plot threads are related. However, the crime aspect leaves the reader wanting just a bit more from this aspect of the book. Some additional editing would also enhance the story's effectiveness. Overall, though, readers who crave a change of pace from the typical nail-biting drama of the romantic suspense and legal thriller genres might enjoy this small tale of two women discovering themselves in a complex world.

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