Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day
premise includes a search for justice and finding out answers.
The author explained, “After a new neighbor moved in,
I decided I wanted to build a new fence since all the houses
in Chicago are on top of one another. She told me that she
is worried someone could reach over the old fence and grab
her young daughter. It never occurred to me that the fence
was not a protector for young children. She told me she was
kidnapped as a child. After thinking about it, I asked her
if it would be all right to use her as a protagonist for my
next book. I used her story as a jumping-off point and then
changed it from there.”
The story has a young woman recognizing the man who kidnapped
her as a child. Alice was taken from her backyard in Indiana.
Luckily for her, she was found by her policeman father within
twenty-four hours. In the aftermath of the crime, the family
moved to Chicago. Now many years later, Alice volunteers for
a website, “The Doe Pages,” that tries to connect
unidentified bodies with those declared missing. While searching,
she sees the same man who kidnapped her decades ago.
Kidnapping plays a role in this novel, but also in the author’s
life. “My neighbor was kidnapped from a daycare center
after someone leaned over the fence and took her. It went
unnoticed completely, but luckily, she was returned that afternoon.
There was also my own experience. As a child, I rode a school
bus with someone who went missing. When I was doing research
for this book, going through the “Doe Network,”
I saw Debra’s face. She went missing when she was twelve.
Her sister’s body was found two years later, and she
had been shot and raped. Her step-father was found guilty,
but it was after he had died. Unfortunately, Debra’s
body was never found.”
In their search, Alice and her Doe friends come across Merrily
Cruz, someone who also is from Indiana. It seems there is
a connection between the kidnapper, Richard Miller, and Merrily’s
surrogate father, Rick, who was once her mother’s boyfriend.
He has stayed in touch over the years through funny texts
and letters sent from places unknown. Working together, they
try to uncover what are lies and what is the truth.
Alice and Merrily have different personalities. “I wrote
Alice as hesitant, a shrinking violet, and stuck in her patterns.
Merrily is tough and street-wise. She does not realize she
places herself in danger. She says what she thinks and does
what she wants.”
This psychological thriller is a story of betrayal. Readers
will hope that those characters who were deeply affected find
hope and closure.