Standalone. St. Martin's Minotaur (January 2008) Library
A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother go on the run in the woods of North Idaho, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder---four men who know exactly who William and Annie are, and who know exactly where their desperate mother is waiting for news of her children’s fate. Retired cops from Los Angeles, the killers easily persuade the inexperienced sheriff to let them lead the search for the missing children.
William and Annie’s unexpected savior comes in the form of an old-school rancher teetering on the brink of foreclosure. But as one man against four who will stop at nothing to silence their witnesses, Jess Rawlins needs allies, and he knows that one word to the wrong person could seal the fate of the children or their mother. In a town where most of the ranches like his have turned into acres of ranchettes populated by strangers, finding someone to trust won’t be easy.
Blue Heaven is a little out of my usual reading. The summary was calling to me and I had to see what would happen to these two kids that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What I liked about Blue Heaven is that I got to read through many of the characters point of views including one of the villains who doesn't feel right about hunting down and killing a couple of kids. Newkirk is an ex-cop who was one of the guys who shot and killed someone in the woods. There is also Gonzalez - who is so messed up in the head as in run away screaming from him if you ever got close - and Singer the ruthless leader. There's another bad guy but I won't mention him because it might take away from the suspense of the book. They all have done really messed up things that can be pretty graphic and disturbing so you might want to take that into account if you are ever considering reading this book. They are all apart of something big that you don't realize until another ex-cop named Eduardo Villatoro starts digging up dirt.
The other point of views I got to read were from this banker who also has something to do with all the ex-cops. After a visit with Villatoro he goes slightly off the rails worrying about what he didn't do long ago. Meanwhile Jess Rawlins, a rancher who can't afford to pay his bills, finds the missing kids Annie and William shaken up by what they've seen. There's also their mother who becomes a prisoner in her own home by the ex-cops who have essentially taken over the investigation from the Sheriff.
Literally no one believes these kids when they tell them what they saw which truly frustrated me. Just because it's a quiet town doesn't mean that bad things can't happen. Annie and William are both likable characters. Annie in particular is very brash and in your face. She was by far my favorite character and all the time I hoped she would make it out alive. Blue Heaven built up it's suspense and was able to connect all the story lines wonderfully. Also, I know it's a lot but the POV's worked really well in this story. It didn't overwhelm me or anything.
Blue Heaven was a really intense, suspenseful read that could be quite graphic at times yet it helped the book portray a sense of urgency in helping Annie and William. There's a lot that went into this story to make it a really great read especially if you are craving some suspense and mystery in your reading life.