In her most emotionally charged novel to date, "New York Times" bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered. In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
This book was a very intense read for me. I'm the type of person that can stay up late reading about ghosts, vampires, etc. without any problem. However, put a man with a gun in a school and I'm a complete mess. One Breath Away will definitely keep you reading and I liked many aspects of the story.
What I Liked: The suspense was there from the get go as you know an unknown man has entered a small town school with a gun. No one knows what he wants and I think the chaos that police feel during these situations make books like this captivating reads. I think Gudenkauf also did a great job at character development. In between each character's thoughts about the hostage situation at the school, you get to see tidbits of their past. It made me understand their motivations and lent believability to many of their actions. I also liked that although the threat seemed real, the author didn't use sensationalism as a way to draw readers into the novel.
What I Didn't Like: Readers may thrown off by the multiple points of view that the book is told from. It took me awhile to get into the book since I kept feeling thrown off kilter by so many characters. The mystery aspect of the novel fell short for me. I thought it was pretty obvious from early on who the shooter was. I feel this was from being thrown too many obvious false leads over the course of the novel.
Rating: Three out of five stars