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Book Review

Shortridge novel an interesting read

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When She Flew

I had the privilege of reading the latest novel by Seattle resident and author Jennie Shortridge, When She Flew.

I found this book held my interest and intrigued me as I swallowed up the storyline.

The story takes place in an Oregon metropolis, Columbia, much like Portland or Salem. Shortridge took her cues from the Portland police when she researched the fictional setting.

A young girl is spotted by birdwatchers in nearby Oregon woods and the Columbia police, including Jessica "Jess" Villareal, are tasked to find the girl.

Jess and her fellow officers are concerned for the youngster's safety as a sex predator has been committing crimes against young teen girls in the community.

The youngster, a 13-year-old named Lindy, has been living in the Oregon woods for the past five years. She lives there with her father, a veteran of the Iraq war who was injured and had difficulty finding a job when he returned from combat.

Young Lindy knew she wasn't supposed to venture away from the home she and her father built, a tree house. She knew there would be problems if she was seen by anyone exploring the forested area surrounding her home.

She had been taught how to keep from disturbing vegetation in the area and to remain "under the radar," but spotting a blue heron captivated her attention and she was careless in following it.

Jess, a mother with a difficult relationship with her nearly 20-year-old daughter and three-year-old grandson, is determined to find the young girl spotted in the woods.

What she doesn't expect is finding the youngster will turn her world upside down.

Jess has always done things "by the book," but she doesn't see that the rules don't always work in the best interest of everyone.

When Lindy, who is well educated and taken care of, and her father are located, law enforcement officials must take measures Villareal is not comfortable with.

The officers are all kind and caring when they learn the conditions Lindy and her father are living in and why they are living in the woods.

But the law is the law, and as officers sworn to uphold the law, they must take the father and daughter into custody. They must place young Lindy in the care of Child Protection Services and send her father to a shelter.

This doesn't serve the best interest of the duo in Jess' mind. She chooses to subvert the law she is sworn to uphold and jeopardizes her career to help Lindy and the young girl's father.

The story in When She Flew, based loosely on a true event, takes many turns and leaves one wondering exactly how the characters will get out of the mess created as a result of the decisions made by Jess.

The storyline is intriguing and kept every bit of my interest.

I have one complaint about this novel and that was what I consider excessive use of foul language. I don't know any officers of the law who use the language used in this novel quite so freely. It was primarily the law enforcement officials who swore, which seemed unprofessional due to my experience with police in metropololitan and rural communities alike.

If you can overlook the language, When She Flew is a novel I would highly recommend.

The book is set for a Nov. 3 release date and is published by New American Library. It is listed for $15, but Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble have it available for pre-order online at the cost of just more than $10. It is also available for pre-order on the Borders website at its list price.

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