Publication Date: September 27, 2013
Bobby Ray, a brutal recently released ex-con in need of ready cash, thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds an unlocked door in the upscale Memphis suburb of Olive Branch, Mississippi. After killing her father and seriously injuring her mother, Bobby Ray takes 8-year-old Lydia Fitzgerald on the run. When Lydia’s mother comes out of her medially induced coma three days later, she has a tale to tell of help from her husband on the other side. Can a renowned doctor of parapsychology help Vanessa Fitzgerald save her daughter in time?
The author, Calvin Dean, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
There are many great first lines in the history of literature and in future when people compile those lists they will include the first line of A Door Unlocked by Calvin Dean. “Bobby Ray’s attitude burned as hot as a Mississippi summer.” What this first line tells a reader is that Bobby Ray is the driving force of the novel and he is extremely bad news. He kills without compunction and abuses with no regard for age. Bobby Ray rapes Vanessa and sexually abuses her daughter and while those scenes (thankfully) are more overview they are buoyed by this author’s set-up of the character and talent for saying a lot without saying much at all. After the assault on little Lydia, the child wishes for death. Her parents are gone and this man who said that he would not hurt her has done so in a way worse than she could have imagined. That handful of lines in the aftermath of Lydia’s abduction just kills me as a reader but stands as a testament to the talent of the author.
We follow several characters in the story though all of their story lines come together. Nikki, the reporter, is looking for the inside scoop on Senator Fitzgerald’s (Lydia’s grandfather) political enemies, Senator Fitzgerald himself, who is the owner of the cabin in which Bobby Ray hides, and others. Dean seemed careful to announce their role and purpose whenever there was a shift in perspective so I didn’t find the shift and number of characters confusing.
The best character, in my opinion, was Nikki. I would have loved to learn more about her. She was resourceful, brave and willing to go the extra mile of playing a role to get the information she needed. In a novel where the back story we get is what comes up in the moment it we could have had a little more Nikki.
For readers who shy away from the paranormal, the connection between Vanessa and her husband is important to the story but not an overriding theme. From beginning to end “A Door Unlocked” is aimed toward rescuing an 8-year-old before she becomes too inconvenient to keep around. It is tense and we learn that Dean isn’t afraid to kill people.A Door Unlocked is a fabulous five-star read from author Calvin Dean. It’s a Dateline episode sadly waiting to happen. I can tell you one thing after reading this novel, I am never going to leave my door unlocked again.
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Calvin Dean lives in Memphis, Tennessee and is an award-winning writer, producer, director and editor. He now produces corporate presentations for Fortune 100 companies. A Door Unlocked is his third novel. He is also the author of Beginner’s Guide To CreateSpace & Kindle Direct Publishing and The Epitaph of Jonas Barloff (click here to read my review).