There's a lot people don't know about Freedom Oliver. They know she works at the local bar. They know she likes a drink or two.
What they don't know is that Freedom is not her real name. That she has spent the last eighteen years living under Witness Protection, after being arrested for her husband's murder. They don't know that she put her children up for adoption, a decision that haunts her everyday.
The Freedom's daughter goes missing, and everything changes. Determined to find her, Freedom slips her handlers and heads to Kentucky where her kids were raised.
No longer protected by the government, she is tracked by her husband's sadistic family, who are thirsty for revenge. But as she gets closer to the truth, Freedom faces an even more dangerous threat.
She just doesn't know it yet…
"My name is Freedom Oliver and I killed my daughter."
Above is the first line you read upon opening the book and boy what an introduction. those few words instantly grabbed my attention and had me wanting to find out what happened next.
Now from reading the blurb you'd think that you would be prepared for what was going to happen in the story even with a few twists thrown in but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Freedom Oliver.
In the town she has resided in for over eighteen years she is well known for liking a drop or five of alcohol on a daily basis, when she's drunk she likes to talk and luckily what locals hear coming out of her mouth, they take as a pinch of salt. Blabbering on about Nessa Delaney and some kids, they are unaware that what she spills out of her mouth are words of truth, her past not yet escaping her. Most assume she is crazy but one officer in particular, Mattley, a single dad himself, has taken a shine to Freedom over the years and straight away you get the feeling that he wants to look after her, if only he knew...
Freedom was put into witness protection after being released from prison, she had been arrested for her late husband's murder but somehow managed to frame Matthew, her husband's brother for the crime instead. When released from prison she makes the hard decision to put her two children up for adoption in a bid to keep them safe. Police officers are still convinced she done the crime but as with most things, this case isn't as cut and dry as they'd like to believe.
Over the years Freedom has kept an eye on her children from afar, she knows what they are called now, Mason and Rebekkah and she follows their lives through social media. In this dead end town of Oregon, working in a biker bar that has seen better days, Freedom, thinking that her children are safe and loved, now counts down the days til she leaves this world, placing her meds in a 'suicide jar', she is just waiting for the day when she'll truly be free.
That all changes as it comes out that Matthew has been released from prison. We begin to learn more about this man and his derranged family. Although strangely entertaining, they are trouble with a capital T and they are out for revenge of the worst kind and when Freedom discovers that her now adopted daughter has gone missing she fears the worst and sets out to find her daughter.
Freedom is a woman who knows hurt, pain and grief. She is a woman who is passionate and although messed up from past events, she is a woman who would do anything for her children.
This novel is written in a unique way. It is Freedom's story but told in three ways. We get the present day occurrences mixed in with what happenend in the past as well as letters she has written to her children over the years. This way of writing managed to give the story more depth rather than making it complicated. Allowing the characters to be shown from all angles as such, making them well rounded and it gave me as a reader the chance to make an informed decision about them, were they right to do the things they did?
I won't give away anymore of the story line as it is one that needs to be experienced first hand. This debut novel by Jax Miller is a powerful one. A crime thriller that is dark and gritty, one that has you on the edge and even on the last pages has you gasping from shock. It is an addictive read and really goes to show that you can't judge a book/person by it's cover and the heroes and neccesarily the good guys.