Book Review: Displaced (Warning: Spoilers)

Displaced by Pamela Oxendale was self-published through Westbow Press. It’s a crime novel that takes place in the 1960’s.

Elton “Mac” McCoy gets his first serious assignment—protecting a small child, Cianna from the Mafia. What I liked was how Mac’s character begins as an eager “man-boy” wanting to have the excitement of a big case. I would call it a hero-complex. The first call that he gets is a Mafia case that sends him out into the streets to “do his homework” on the protectee—at that time, the chauffeur, Cianna’s father. Mac makes mistakes and even has a lapse of judgment as he feels the rush of self-importance and heroism. But after the assassination of the chauffer, Mac and the little girl form an instant bond.

It’s an unbreakable bond that forces Mac and his wife to protect the child. Mac struggles emotionally as he debates about taking formal custody of the child. His wife knows the risks of such an endeavor and tries to ground Mac in reality, but Mac is not listening. He loves this child, and when the time comes to let her go with her new foster parents in another state with a new name, it disappointed me that the book ended with Mac finally letting go. Most formulaic fiction would have been so predictable as to have Mac and his wife go into hiding with Cianna, raising Cianna as their own, but Oxendale writes her story with unpredictable twists and turns and some reality.

There are violent scenes, but you can’t have a tidy, Christian fiction book and cutesy twists and turns when you write crime, especially on the subject of the Mafia in the sixties. There is the message of Christ mixed in the pages, but not in a preachy fashion, nor does it take precedence over the story. It comes naturally—a story of faith in a violent town.

Oxendale’s writing kept me turning the pages and I devoured every word. There were a few moments when I got frustrated because some places felt like info-dumping, interrupting the flow of the tension, but I’m not sure if that’s a writer error or my own impatience when I want to find out what happened so badly that I skim. That’s a sign of a good book when I am brought into another world with little awareness of the reality of my existence. The book was given five stars.

*Book given by author to review with the understanding that I would be honest in my review good or bad. Our friendship does not influence this review.