Thriller

The Letter Keeper (Murphy Shepherd #2) by Charles Martin

I read and reviewed the first book of the series: here

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I wrote quite a convoluted review for the first in the series. On rereading it, before starting this review, I was surprised at the depth to which I appreciated the content.
The second is different but in some ways better than the previous one. The plotline is not linear, with flashbacks giving us the background on how the operation began and what it comprises of. Our leading man Murph is the one-man army who goes out to rescue women/girls (mostly, although there are a few male victims as well). An almost literal army helps them recoup and learn to stand on their feet again after their rescue. When this installment begins, we have more of the same, and the more is quite heightened in terms of the physical danger.
The previous work had a lot of chases and planning – here, we have more ambushes and a lot less planning. Things happen out of turn, and time is of the essence. The foundation is strengthened in explaining to the reader the motivation behind any of the heroic deeds and introduces a whole new level of evil in otherwise ordinary men. This is not a book for the faint of heart. Although the fighting descriptions felt less graphic, the life stories of the children rescued is not easily digestible. I would not recommend it to anyone who finds such information triggering. The focus does not linger on the atrocities but the hope a new beginning can provide and how hard it might be to cling to that hope and actually meet a brighter future. All the people, therefore, seem very realistic. Their flaws and traits seem very believable, which is what carries this book. It is hard not to be emotionally invested in the outcome of an otherwise action-packed story.
I would not recommend reading this without any knowledge of the events in the previous, even if there is information provided about some of it. It would not make sense, emotionally.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this and the previous book.

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