Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One Breathe Away - Gudenkauf

All too real and scary in this day and age, One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf is a multi-layered story of a town taken hostage by an unknown gunman, when he walks into the local school one snowy day and holds a classroom of third graders hostage.

Told in brief chapters, the story unfolds the lives of several locals:

Evelyn, the lifelong teacher trying desperately to ensure her students' safety, even at her own peril;

Will Thwait, a local farmer entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren despite a rocky relationship with their mother;

his tragically injured daughter, who has survived a fire and sent her children "home" despite never wanting to return herself;

and Officer Meg Barrett, a local police officer who struggles under the weight of having the town's children's fate in her hands, while thanking fate that her own daughter happened to be out that day.

The story builds as the unknown gunman's identity is desperately sought and the town's "dirty laundry" is bared in the process, a mayor's cheating husband, a violent husband known for domestic abuse, and a local, prize winning reporter willing to stab anyone in the back to get a good story. Only by facing her own past can Officer Barrett try to end this stand-off without someone being hurt or killed.

A quick and easy read. Not a "Moby Dick" classic, but certainly entertaining.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.