Zondervan|April 2, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-310-33317-3
To the FBI it’s a cold case. To Kariss Walker it’s a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it’s a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl’s missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch’s brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Karriss’s pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith and romance in The Chase.
Kariss Walker was a New York bestselling author writing women’s fiction. However, this morning she is having a meeting with her editor, Meredith to convince her to let her switch genres. Kariss wants to pen a suspense novel, but Meredith tells her if she does that then she is: “…about to commit publishing suicide.” Meredith reminded her that her last book sold over 600 thousand copies along with a “sweet spot” on the best sellers list. If she insisted on writing suspense then her ratings were going to “plummet like an avalanche.”
For eight years prior to becoming an author, Kariss Walker had been an evening news reporter on Houston’s channel 5. From that experience she had more ideas than she’d ever have time to write about.
Meredith told Kariss to send her a proposal for her next women’s fiction novel which they’d already discussed a few months prior. Meredith also told Kariss if she went ahead with the suspense novel and didn’t meet the demands of the publishing world, her actions could dissolve their representation of her work. Kariss indicated he was fully aware of that fact and if none of the other publishing houses didn’t want to publish her either, then she’d self-publish because she said she could not, not write this suspense novel. Meredith picked up her cup of tea and left the office.
Two hours later, Kariss had an appointment with Lincoln Abrams, special agent in charge of Houston’s FBI. It had been 5 years since she’d worked in any capacity with them. Kariss was excited and wished the agent had the same amount of enthusiasm about her writing a suspense novel. Perhaps if she knew the real reason why Kariss wanted to protect children.
This story meant more than all the six-figure checks combined. In 5 years, no one had solved the crime stalking her, and she herself didn’t possess the skills to smoke out a killer. But in her novel version, the perpetrator would be brought to justice. Five years ago, a female child between the ages of 4 and 7 years old was found in a clump of trees beside Pine Grove apartment in south Houston. She was named Cherished Doe because to date her identity and how she died remained a mystery. She wore green pajamas and was wrapped in a quilt, then placed in a purple flower bag. Medical experts ruled the cause of death as starvation. She was discarded like an animal.
Speeding along the highway toward the FBI office, Kariss was sure her agent would change his mind once he read the first chapter of her suspense novel – and the book’s dedication. Kariss was “hungry to make this work.”
Linc Abrams, head of the FBI called Special Agent Tigo Harris into his office. He asked him if he remembered a t.v. reporter from about 5 years ago named Kariss Walker. Tigo said he did. Linc explained that she was writing a suspense novel and had chosen the last case she reported on – Cherished Doe. Tigo was a bit alarmed and said: “she picked a hard one.” Linc went onto explain that Kariss wantd the novel to be as authentic as possible and had requested to ride along with an agent and Linc was assigning her to, Tigo. Tigo said: “You’re not asking me to babysit a woman who wants to be a faux crime fighter.” Linc told him yes he was and would also need Tigo to review her material for accuracy. Tigo asked how long, Kariss would be shadowing him for and he was told 3 months max. Linc then told Tigo to go change his clothes before going downstairs to meet her. Tigo frowned, he didn’t want to come within 50 feet of the woman, but she’d be his sidekick for the next few months.
Kariss met with Linc Abrams and asked him outright “will the Cherished Doe case ever be solved?” Linc said that he’d hope so and asked Kariss if this was the case she wanted to use for her book. Kariss told him it was definitely the case she wanted to use. She said she wanted to write the novel so the ending reflected a solved case, and asked Linc if there was any chance of opening the case back up.
Next, Kariss met Tigo and he was none too happy to have this woman trailing along after him for the next 3 months. He was upfront with her saying: “…your desire to write this book might get you killed.” Kariss simply replied that his trying to persuade her to give up her research only reinforced her determination.
Tigo and Kariss talked for a few minutes about the Cherished Doe case and Kariss told him: “I’ve never been able to erase the little girl’s autopsy picture from my mind.” Tigo and Kariss got along well enough although, she felt he could use a few lessons in manners. She felt that some women would find his “crusty edges” endearing but she didn’t.
After their initial meeting, Tigo set Kariss up to speak with Ricardo Montoya, one of the detectives involved in the original unsolved case of Cherished Doe. From there, Kariss began to draw outlines for her new book. Ricardo Montoya had never been able to let this particular case go either. He felt if a man or woman is murdered it is regretful, but a child is a whole different matter. Adults can fight back and possibly defend themselves but a child is helpless.
The Chase is a rollercoaster of suspense and intrigue. I just couldn’t put it down. I kept telling myself “one more chapter” and six chapters later I’d still be reading. DiAnn Mills is a talented author who knows how to weave a story that will keep you constantly wondering what’s going to happen next. Highly recommendable.