Review: Return to Sender

Author Mindy Halleck  /  Reviewed by Felita Daniels / 480 Pages

Return to SenderThis is a great thriller novel. The chapters are labelled when the point of view changes from the main character Theo Riley or the villain, Genghis Hansel.  There are also times when we are in a character’s past.  It is a difficult task to decide exactly where to start a story.  The author shares a portion of Theo’s childhood before we are given a hint the current conflict and main story line.  I understand why the author might have thought we needed to know his backstory.  But she shared two different time frames before immersing us more in the present day.  I found that this jumping from childhood to present, teen /early adult to present, made it awkward to really get into the story. I would have much rather have seen the character’s present inconsistencies and then discover where they came from. This may have just been me though. But if you have some of the same hesitancy in the early chapters, please keep reading. The story line is worth the time spent on the foundation building.

“Let’s face it, I wasn’t supposed to be drafted or in love. I was supposed to be a priest.”

With these two short sentences we see a great deal of surprise and conflict. How our life is assumed to play out and how others and events influence it. Sometimes we put ourselves in self-imposed boxes. Theo didn’t exactly feel ‘called’ to become a priest as other clergymen may have been. Other labels to describe him were that he was a war hero and a boxer. Violence is not a word one typically associates with a priest. His potential for violence was one of his demons.

The balance between the protagonist and the serial killer was well drawn and anyone that reads thrillers and likes books set in the 1950’s will enjoy this book greatly.

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About the Author

Mindy Halleck's PhotoMindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest author, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story, The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer’s Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel Return to Sender. Halleck blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community. In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily married, globe-trotting beachcomber, antiquer, gardener, proud grandma, and three-time cancer survivor.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaways & Prizes, Thriller

20 Responses to Review: Return to Sender

  1. Thank you for the review! And yes, it is hard to know where to start a story; so glad you stayed with it and enjoyed. Thanks for posting and hosting this week. Cheers, Mindy Halleck

    • I was at a critique group one day when an author decided to remove the first five chapters of a novel. Everyone said they didn’t get into the story until XYZ happened. So he decided that’s where he wanted to open with a bang. It is very difficult to decide where a reader will engage at and also point of view especially. I wanted to make sure I added the sentence that it may have just been me. When you have a review deadline, and things are happening in your life… that can also play a role in your mood and focus when reading.
      A writer can spend a great deal of time rewriting if they aren’t happy with how the narration is going. Best wishes on your first novel being so well received!

      • I appreciate your feedback. Thank you. I do have to say that I’ve had more people tell me they loved where I started the novel, than not. It’s SO subjective, and yes, a tough call. The only way for an author to proceed is to “write the book I wanted to read”, like Toni Morrison once said.
        I so appreciate great readers like you. Cheers, Mindy

  2. Jess1

    Thanks for your review and different points about the POVs and background. The labeling of the chapters sounds good to me since when a POV switches then my mind needs to re-orient itself.

    • Yes, when it comes to changing POV I get ruffled when authors don’t start a new chapter, changing within a chapter is ‘talking heads’ and throws me off balance. Ha! Or maybe I’m already off and that just tips me over. Either way, I chose to start anew when changing point of view. Mindy

  3. Amanda Sakovitz

    I loved the blurb

  4. kp

    love finding new to me authors!

  5. Karen H

    Enjoyed reading this review today

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  9. Amanda Sakovitz

    I loved the review!

  10. Thomas Murphy

    I liked the review! Thanks for the giveaway.

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