Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: The Past Is Present by Edward Kendrick (Originally Posted: April 6, 2013)

The Past Is PresentThe Past Is Present by Edward Kendrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first read the blurb of Edward Kendrick’s The Past Is Present, it literally sent my mind spinning and my heart pounding. The plot was just too close to home in more ways than I could ever express.


PI Clive Frazier is called to the home of a woman whose daughters were kidnapped thirty years ago. One daughter was murdered. The other vanished. And now her mother has received a letter purportedly written by her just days ago.
At first reluctant to take the case, he agrees to attempt to find her, even though he knows it could upset his husband, police detective Teddy Radcliff. The reason, Teddy’s father was a prime suspect in the kidnapping.
Teddy is leery of the whole idea but agrees to help Clive locate the missing woman, hoping that if they do he will be able to clear his dead father’s name.

Why is this blurb to close for comfort?

Way back in the late 1990's, a good friend’s son was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder/kidnapping of two sisters. The two teen-aged girls had been seen by witnesses as being forcibly shoved into a van outside of a popular mall where they had watched a movie together. A week later, one of the girls was found dead in an empty lot. The other girl still remains missing to this day. The public uproar led to a hasty and shabby investigation. It was obvious from day one that the authorities needed to “solve” this crime fast. It did not help that the girls were from an influential family.

Even though our friend’s son and his friends were nowhere near the mall nor the girls at the time of the kidnapping as they had been in school taking their finals, he was still considered the main suspect and his friends were all considered the accomplices. Despite the fact that all of evidences presented at court were circumstantial at the very least, they were all still sentenced to life imprisonment without benefit of parole. They were all in their early twenties at that time and none of them were married or had kids. In The Past Is Present, the main suspect, Teddy’s father, commits suicide. This is where the story diverts from the true to life tragedy so close to home. As of today, because of the all-too-public trial, our friend’s son and his friends are still languishing in jail.

“According to the lead investigator's 'theory'," Teddy spat out the word, "he offered them a ride home because it was cold and snowing and then abducted them, hiding them somewhere until the day Mandy's body was discovered." All I need to do is change the words “cold and snowing” to “cold and raining” as there is no snow here. Again, these words are too close for comfort.

Then it made me think again: maybe Edward Kendrick did look into this particular case or something very, very similar to it. The case is mysterious, intriguing, leaves a whole lot of questions unanswered and more. That may have be the reason why he decided to use it as the basis for the plot. I don’t blame him. The what if’s are aplenty and if I had half his talent in writing, I would use this plot too.

This is the reason why I decided to continue reading the book despite my feeling uncomfortable about the subject matter. There is always that “what if” at the back of our minds and for me, this is a “what if” that I hope could and would come true. What if that missing girl comes out and contacts her family? What if the investigation of the case is re-opened and the truth will finally out?

The book itself was superbly written even if it were written in the simplest way possible. It was how the author played with the long-time relationship between Teddy and Clive making  it all so new and yet so familiar at the same time. He successfully fulfilled my dream of developing the plot, characters, relationship, and the murder/kidnapping case itself. The story and characters developed and became “real.”

Writing this review was difficult because of the obvious reasons. And yet, this does not deter me from recognizing that there are authors out there like Edward Kendrick who really have cultivated their writing skills in such a way that they can pull the reader into the story and have them come bursting out of it only when they read the last word.

Thank you Edward Kendrick, and kisses sent your way.

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