☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆
What it’s about:
Driven by a desperate need to escape her past, Cristina Rodriguez moves into a picturesque hilltop home with an ocean view. The same place where, four years earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and murdered.
At first, both the house and the scenic California beach town seem perfect. Fresh air. Fresh faces. And the ocean is just ten minutes away. But as Cristina and her daughter set about rebuilding their lives, they soon discover that the past is not about to let go so easily.
A gripping psychological suspense mystery by a #1 bestselling author, Cristina will grab you from the first page and keep you guessing until the very end.
Jake Parent’s Cristina was a well-written novel, with many characters brought to life with vibrancy, accuracy and diplomacy. The author poignantly described Cristina, her love for her daughter, her struggle against addiction and her ability to overcome it against all odds. She was portrayed as compassionate and loving yet clever and shrewd at the same time. The author crafts a story about Cristina and her new lover Casey, another drug addict, that opens a door to the inner bowels of life as an addict. Cristina evokes compassion and empathy. Casey and Cristina are well-developed characters and their relationship progresses in a safe and healthy manner as the story unfolds.
It is as easy for the reader to fall in love with Cristina as it is to hate her ex-husband Anthony. He is arrogant, vengeful and only aspires for lust, greed and power. Cristina is caught in an impossible situation, with her daughter being the pawn in a terribly dysfunctional marriage based on drugs and deception. Anthony’s demonic antics are driven by his desire to completely ruin Cristina with no apparent concern for their daughter. My critique as a reader is that Anthony’s character could have been explored a bit more to explain precisely why he is so vicious, and furthermore why is he so hateful toward Cristina and her status as a Latina.
There were three other characters that also needed to be developed more: the daughter Anise, the grandmother Aba and Uncle Tio Alberto. I would like to know what the environment was like at Aba and Uncle Tio Alberto’s home where Cristina and her mother were raised. This living situation resulted in both mother and daughter becoming drug addicts. Tio Alberto lived with his mother all his life, never married and then cared for Cristina until she ran away. He and his mother (Aba) are also took care of Cristina’s daughter Anise. These characters really needed to be explained more and brought into the fold of the story. They were depicted as good, kind people, but something must have happened in their lives to result in having two women from their family end up as drug addicts.
A little girl, the same age as Anise, was murdered in the house that Cristina moved into, and her ghost inhabited the home. The story became even more intriguing toward the end, when the villain who murdered the past family–a mother, father and little girl–was supposed to be exposed. Unfortunately, with the introduction of the New Horizons cult in the beginning of the book and the neighbors’ actions, it is pretty easy to guess who the culprit would end up being in the end. It was obvious from the beginning who the killer was, and his character was not developed at all until the end of the book. However, throughout the book he was close at hand to all the situations and always popped up at the scene of the crimes. The one time the author does bring him more centrally into the plot, he is rough and distant. The villain is unsympathetic to Cristina, so later on when Cristina brings him into the fabric of the inner storyline, the reader cannot believe that he is a compassionate person; instead, it is clear that he is a psychopath.
Despite a few faults, Cristina is overall a good read, enjoyable and inspiring.
About the Author:
Jake Parent is the author of Cristina, a new psychological suspense novel. His first book, Only the Devil Tells the Truth, was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. His influences include Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, Honoré de Balzac, Ella Fitzgerald, John Sanford, Jimi Hendrix, Ernest Hemingway, Greg Graffin, Pablo Picasso, Rickey Henderson, and Mac Dre. He grew up in San Jose, CA but now lives in the Washington, DC area. Sign up to receive alerts about new releases: http://eepurl.com/bXzeprJ