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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Sam and James: The Missing Teen by AA Freda, as the granddaughter of wealthy tycoon Henry Greenwald takes her usual route home from school, little does she know she is being watched. On that fateful January afternoon in 1969, 14-year-old Penelope Campos is about to face her worse nightmare. The terrified schoolgirl is kidnapped and now her captors can execute their gruesome plan. Two months later, Vietnam vet James is travelling with fiancée Sam to start a new life in Colorado. His only plan for the future is to forget the nightmare memories of war, find a job and plan his wedding to Sam. Little does he realize that a chance encounter will bring him into contact with Greenwald and Penelope's disappearance. With a local man confessing to the kidnapping, the case is closed. James’ search for the truth takes him back into a war zone, only this time it is to find a missing child.
From the first paragraph, the author successfully set a sinister scene and hooked me into the story. The plot moved forward at an exciting pace and I read the entire book in one sitting. Freda introduced the amazing characters gradually, so I did not get lost in the story. Every character had an individual personality, from charming and witty James, to sassy and confident Sam, and their dialogue matched their personalities perfectly. All of the characters had personality flaws which made them entirely three-dimensional and believable. There were many scenes that were difficult to read because of the subject matter. However, the scenes were needed for the story to be authentic; this again must be attributed to the author's writing ability.
The conflicts and obstacles throughout kept my interest. There were many sub-plots which were as strong as the main story line. This story was not simply about the search for a missing schoolgirl, but building strong relationships, and facing moral dilemmas. The ending was gripping and, hopefully, there could be more investigations by James and Sam. If you love action, mystery and a novel that makes you think, then I highly recommend this one.