Review of Set Free by Anthony Bidulka – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review – August 2016
Bon Vivant Books
ISBN: 978-0-9952292-1-1 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9952292-0-4 (eBook) Price: TBA
A novel’s opening lines can make all the difference between capturing attention and wanting to read further and setting the book aside. In the case of Set Free, a single line sets a gripping introductory scenario: “I would have packed less if I knew I was going to die.”
Jasper Wills is at the Marrakesh airport, waiting for a ride that never shows. Giving up, he decides to find a hotel on his own when he’s approached by a neatly-attired cab driver – and that’s where the second point of intrigue is deftly placed: “Nothing about the man, a boy really, hinted that something wasn’t quite right.”
The protagonist is taken for a ride in more ways than one, and as a series of complex scenes evolve, the jet-setting American traveler quickly comes to find himself immersed in a plot that embraces his anonymity and the mystery of another culture.
The author of a New York Times best-seller, Jasper Wills is now in the position of being a captive, brutalized by a man who’s apparently being forced to act like a monster. From kidnappers to romance and from an elusive truth to plans to gain freedom against all odds, Set Free makes intriguing twists and turns as it focuses on a struggle to stay alive.
Its dual focus on the long-term effects of challenging and life-threatening experience is exceptionally well done as characters discuss their uncertain and special connections in the face of adversity: “You and me, Jenn,” I tentatively began, “we’re in a unique position. Only we know what we’ve been through since Mikki was taken. I know people sympathize with us; parents, friends, complete strangers too. But they don’t really know how this feels. Only you do. And I do.”
As the lives of Jasper, Jenn, Katie, and others entwine in a desperate struggle, readers are drawn into a story that is compellingly gripping and hard to put down. Events move from overseas to home as a father’s mission, fueled by his daughter’s ghost, changes everything.
Recommended for any reader who wants heart-stopping moments and thought-provoking scenes from their thrillers, Set Free is ultimately a discussion of the costs of freedom and the threat of bondage.