It isn’t often that I find a book that elicits such a visceral response that when I put it down my emotions are abraded, as if someone had taken my heart out of my chest and scraped it across asphalt, and need time to heal. A Critical Loss of Balance, by Mark E. Shaver, did just that.
Cliff Elliott thought he had endured the worst thing a parent could endure when his nine year old daughter was kidnapped, but he was wrong. The circumstances that led to her return were far worse than anything he could have imagined. Now Cliff, a man who rarely uttered a cross word, a man whose temperament and nature were as gentle as any man’s could be, had his life thrown irreparably out of balance.
Left with no other choice, Cliff set out not for revenge, but for justice; a justice he hoped would restore the balance that was now absent from his life. His pursuit of this balance thrust him deep into a world that he had never experienced before; a world to which he was indeed a stranger. The price to be paid to regain his balance though was much higher than he ever imagined it would be. In fact, Cliff almost paid the ultimate price as he was forced into the world of those who took his daughter.
Take a walk in another man’s shoes, and try to imagine what you would do if you were faced with A Critical Loss of Balance.
As I began reading this book, it was as if the author’s hand had loosed his pen and lifted from the page, grabbed me by the lapel, and pulled me in. Cliff Elliott reads about the serial kidnapper, that is preying on the city’s wealthiest, and thinks he is safe because his socioeconomic lot in life is so much lower than the victims. He. Couldn’t. Be. More. Wrong. When his wife is injured, and his daughter kidnapped, his world tilts off its axis. The crime is similar enough to point to the serial kidnapper, but different enough to leave law enforcement baffled.
The character development, and conversation style, place you at Cliff Elliott’s side as he learns that his daughter had been kidnapped. You remain at his side, as you walk through the pages, until his daughter is returned to him. And you feel the gut check that he felt when he realizes the circumstances that led to her safe return. You wrestle with him as he struggles with the loss of balance that this crime leaves behind. You can’t help but pull your children closer, as you wonder what you would do if anything ever happened to them. And as you hold them closer, you turn another page. In A Critical Loss of Balance, Mark Shaver created characters that the reader not only empathized with, but cared about.
The book does have a few spelling and grammatical errors scattered throughout the text. I, however, was so drawn by the storyline that I chose to ignore the errors. I only mention it because if you are a reader that is unable to see the story for the words (i.e you cannot see the forest for the trees) this may inhibit your enjoyment of the novel.
As I read A Critical Loss of Balance, I couldn’t help but think that Mark Shaver will surely climb the ranks of crime thriller/mystery authors to sit next to John Grisham, another favorite author of mine. I know I will be adding his other two titles, The Second Verdict and After the Fact, to my personal library.
Browse Mark Shaver’s Books on Amazon.