Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles, Level Best Books
Date of publication: April 12th, 2022
Series: Lisa Jamison
A Dead Man’s Eyes—Book 1 (review here)
Never Broken—Book 2
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
The near corpse of a stranger had no idea where he’d been, how long he’d been there or who had kept him captive. But one thing intrigued journalist Lisa Jamison even more than his story: recent memories of a woman named Chandra Bower.
Seven years had passed since Chandra disappeared from Seneca Springs without a trace. Police investigators still compared DNA records whenever an unidentified body appeared, hoping to at least bring her family closure. Lisa still chased down leads from desperate family and friends, being careful to hide her investigations from an editor who thought she’d become obsessed with a woman who was clearly dead.
But this man had just seen her, sewing designer clothes in a dark, filthy basement with about twenty other men and women under horrifically inhumane conditions. And the sweatshop workers all had one thing in common: All were people of color.
A split-second decision to help the man takes Lisa on a race against time. His captors want him back, there is evidence someone on the police force might be involved and the man knows that if he were recaptured, they would torture him until he revealed the names of the two people who helped him escape: Lisa Jamison and Chandra Bower.
Lisa promised her teenage daughter she would stay away from the dangerous stories ever since her job had nearly gotten them both killed two years before. But she no longer has a choice. She must keep the stranger hidden while she gathers enough evidence to turn the case over to city police or the FBI. At least three lives—her own, the stranger’s and Chandra’s—depend on it.
Lisa Jamison knew she should be taking in her surroundings, the worn brick buildings with shard-lined windows; graffiti so old the slang was almost retro; the stench from the nearby creek, which many of the deserted factories had used as their own waste dumps for decades; the cigarette butts; the crushed beer cans; the McDonald’s cups; the occasional used condom or syringe.never broken by lori duffy foster
When the author approached me to read/review Never Broken, I had to think about it. When she emailed me, I was very behind in reading and reviews. But, I have a thing where if I start a series, I will finish it. That and the blurb, which interested me, were ultimately the main reasons I decided to accept the invite. I am glad that I did.
Never Broken had an exciting plotline. This book takes place two years after the events of A Dead Man’s Eyes. Lisa is a journalist covering a story in a very seedy area (that is about to be revitalized) when she discovers a sick man hiding in the back seat of her car. Saul tells Lisa an interesting story about illegal sweatshops and the mysterious people who run them. But her attention is caught he mentions the name of an African American woman who had disappeared years earlier. Deciding to investigate, Lisa needs the help of Dorothy to keep Saul safe. What Lisa finds during her investigation shakes her to her core. Can she oust the sweatshop owners and save the workers, including Chandra? Or will she have to choose between her job and her family?
Never Broken is book 2 in the Lisa Jamison series. Readers can read this book as a standalone. But, I do suggest reading book 1 to understand Lisa’s backstory. It is gone over, very briefly, in Never Broken, but it is more in-depth in book 1.
The main thing that I liked about Never Broken was that the author was able to take me into how investigative journalist does their job. I had a rough idea of how they did their job. But, I never knew how much work went into it. A good majority of the book was Lisa chasing down leads, casing the neighborhood where she thinks Saul came from and talking to the people in the community. I also didn’t realize how dangerous it could be. At one point, Lisa got run down by a car because she was coming close to where the sweatshop was. That sent chills up my spine and made me thankful that I didn’t pursue my high school dream of being a reporter.
I loved Lisa in this book. She was quick on her feet, and her intuition was incredible (chefs kiss here). She was also still a devoted mother, and when things started to get hairy, her first thoughts were of her daughter and how to keep her safe. She was also human. The horror and pity she felt when she first saw Saul was palpable. I also got why she didn’t trust anyone she worked with. She was almost killed by a fellow reporter, one she considered her friend, and she didn’t trust anyone other than her editor. So, I got why she was hesitant to bring Frank with her on interviews.
What do I say about Saul? He was a wonderful human being. The strength (mental and physical) that he showed throughout the book was terrific. Of course, he was damaged. Wouldn’t you be if you were forced to work in a basement and treated as less than a human? I loved seeing him open up to Dorothy and begin the healing he needed.
Dorothy was the other main character in Never Broken. She was mentioned a few times in the first book but never was made into much of a character. Well, in this book, she was one of the main characters. My heart broke when she realized she felt so protective of Saul because of an unspeakable loss she had experienced years earlier. Saul reminded her of her son. She was also a bad b*tch who wouldn’t give up Saul, no matter what.
The secondary characters fleshed out this book. They brought an extra depth to the storyline (not that it needed it). I was disappointed that Lisa’s daughter was brought down to a secondary character. She had no place in this story (other than helping Dorothy with Saul a few times). But, as the book went on, I got it.
The mystery angle was terrific. I was genuinely kept on edge about who was the sweatshop owner and who was behind Lisa’s assaults. The author did throw out some red herrings throughout the book. I thought I figured it out when an arrest was made. Then the twist came, and I was like, “Wait, what?”
The suspense angle was also excellent. I wanted to know if Saul would make it. I also wanted to know if Lisa would figure out where the sweatshop was and who was operating it. The author did a superb job of keeping me glued to the book.
The end of Never Broken was a bit anti-climatic. The author wrapped up the storylines in a way that satisfied me. She also showed the aftermath of everything that had happened. I did like that Lisa got a little bit of happiness at the very end, and I wonder if that will morph into something for book 3.
I would recommend Never Broken for anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and no sexual situations. There are also scenes of modern-day slavery, a forced abortion, and talk of rape.