By Allan Leverone
Bill Ferguson is my kind of hero...no matter how many stories I may read with a somewhat similar plot, I immediately think of Charles Bronson to play the lead character... He has been the intense, protective parent and has the skills to back up his activities... There are others who could play the part as well, but Bronson is always the first one to come to mind for me...this book almost reads/plays as a movie and I am sure you will easily visualize the dramatic scenes!
But this time, it is both the father and daughter who are the heroes! Cool!
There was a serial killer plaguing the area who had been dubbed the I-90 Killer by the news people. He would abduct young teenage girls, normally blond and slender athletic types, seemingly with no problem or interference. He was invisible in our invisible world where nobody pays attention to anybody else. He knew this and took advantage of it, sitting, drinking coffee among all the other travelers until he spotted...her! His next companion... Martin Krall had actually killed his first few victims after he finished with them, but then he found a deal that resulted in his being paid--and there were no bodies to be found.
Instead he spent a week with his latest, and then he passed her on to be sold overseas, never to see the United States, her parents ever again.
But Bill Ferguson happened to be traveling I-90 at the same time that Martin Krall was out looking. They stopped at the same rest stop. Things might have proceeded normally, if Bill had been a different type of man. For one, he was armed. He owned two hardware stores and often traveled with money to make bank deposits, so he was fully licensed to carry...
Most of all, however, he paid attention to his instincts... and when Krall went into action, Ferguson had actually stopped, turned around, and seen the gun being placed near the young girl who was being guided out of the rest stop. He went into action immediately, but the place was so crowded that he had trouble getting to where he could safely act to save the girl--by that time, Krall knew Ferguson was behind him. When Bill finally had to yell "freeze!" all hell broke out, but he did manage to back the kidnapper to the door and reach the girl, only to have her shoved into him, both hitting the floor. Krall escaped, but the girl was safe...
Ferguson followed as soon as he could, but it had seemed too long...but then Krall drove right past, looking him directly in the eyes...the truck was old, poorly painted and oil smoked up, preventing Bill from seeing the licence plate...
Still, he was declared a hero...and, of course, that meant television interviews... and Krall soon learned Bill Ferguson's full name, that he owned two hardware stores, and from the internet found he was divorced...but had a daughter...
And, as soon as Bill could get away from all that happened after this event, he wanted nothing more than to go hug his daughter Carli...
But Krall had missed having his new companion and he blamed Ferguson... So Krall soon found a picture of Carli and, in his twisted mind, felt that Carli was truly who he was to have and that fate had arranged him losing the other girl so that he could find Carli... But he was still angry enough that he wrote a letter to Bill, using Carli as the unknowing messenger, and taunted Ferguson of what was to happen next!
I mentioned earlier that Carli was also a hero--and you'll see why! Readers will ride that Lonely Mile with Carli after Krall does indeed manage to kidnap her...but she believes only one thing. Her father will find and come get her! The action and suspense keeps you closely reading. I must admit I didn't pick up on the clues for the real monster of the story, so I'll only predict that the final climactic ending will set you rocking!
A final note: Leverone includes the appalling statistics of kidnapping into sex trade here in the U.S. We must all be on the alert against this horrific crime that now surpasses any other happening, in many ways, in my opinion! I applaud the author for effectively bringing this important issue once again into the forefront by his book...Read and enjoy, but, understand clearly...this fiction is based upon true crimes happening today, right now, somewhere near YOU! I consider this a must-read, a learning tool if you will...to become more alert and concerned!
...According to our own statistics compiled by the U.S. State Department, between six and eight hundred thousand people are trafficked against their will each year across international borders. Of that number, seventy percent are female and as many as half are children. And the majority of these victims are forced into the commercial sex trade.”
Bill stared at the young FBI agent in horror. “That’s unbelievable.”
“Believe it,” Miller said simply. “Worldwide, human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity, behind only the drug trade and arms trafficking, with an estimated seven billion dollars in profits earned annually.”
“But right here? In the United States?”
“Oh, yes,” Miller answered. “We’re not unaffected. Much of the trafficking occurs in developing nations, where little if any barriers to the practice exist. But American girls are prized in certain parts of the world, particularly blonde, fair-skinned ones. (p. 250)