Daily Review: Last Winter’s Taken by MJ LaBeff
February 5, 2019
It grabs your senses immediately. It grips your heart. It pricks your emotions. The fear is suffocating.
The murder of Willow Danby, a married woman and expectant mother, thrusts Homicide Detective Rachel Hood into a murder investigation and missing person’s case as she searches for the baby ripped from Willow’s body.
The mysterious undertone surrounding the current investigation forces Rachel to reopen a cold case from the previous year. Yvonne Johnson and Willow Danby couldn’t have been more different. Wrong side of the tracks meets white picket fence.
The only thing the two women have in common: they’re both dead and their infants are missing.
Even with a long list of suspects to interview, alibis abound, and Rachel is no closer to solving Danby’s or Johnson’s deaths. She worries: where are the children? Rachel’s psychic empathy draws her closer to the taken infants, and she suffers from a haunting premonition. But, how can she be their voice when they are too tiny to speak?
A single clue left at each of the crime scenes links the cases together and leads Rachel to a mystery dating back to the year 1638. Her frightening premonition spirals out of control, but she can’t track the infants’ sobs.
The sinister murders and search for the missing infants reunite her with occult crimes specialist and psychic FBI Agent Nick Draven. Even with his psychic gift of hypersensitive hearing, Nick can’t hear the infants’ cries in the night.
Then a mysterious enigma is unearthed for the first time in over 372 years and draws them closer to a modern day sociopath, murdering expectant mothers and taking their unborn children.
By Caleb Pirtle III
In Last Winter’s Taken, MJ LaBeff tells a tale well calculated to keep you in suspense.
It grabs your senses immediately.
It grips your heart.
It pricks your emotions.
It frays your ragged nerves.
The fear is suffocating.
Quite frankly, Last Winter’s Taken is not like any novel I’ve read before.
Is it a mystery?
Is it filled with suspense?
You can taste it.
Is it a thriller?
The story will keep you awake at night.
Is it paranormal?
Wait until you hear the babies cry.
Is it a nightmare?
Thank God it’s fiction.
A woman named Willow Danby is murdered four days before Christmas.
Her baby is taken from her womb.
Investigating Detective Rachel Hood is either blessed or cursed with psychic empathy, and in the deep recesses of her mind, she can hear the cries of a baby in the night.
And one cry evolves many.
The cries are desperate.
The cries are haunting.
The children are missing, but for how long, and who took them, and where did they go, and what happened to them?
The case is nothing new.
Rachel discovers that a similar crime happened before, once a year earlier and once almost four hundred years ago.
How does Rachel know?
She sometimes sees the past.
As MJ LaBeff writes so beautifully of Rachel’s vision of a woman long ago: Tears spilled down her cheeks. Her arms stretched for the baby.
Angry looking men, a few in tall hats and all earing Pilgrim’s clothes, growled at the weeping man with twisting mouths and pointing fingers. She couldn’t hear what they said. Only the baby’s desperate cry echoes. The expressions on their faces displayed their disapproval of the woman they surrounded.
A man charged at her with a thin silver dagger. He latched onto the weeping woman’s arm, sliced the fabric of her dress and buried the hidden needle to the hilt. The woman slumped, then fell to the ground. Rachel’s world tilted, her knees buckling. She yelped and dropped the evidence bag and blanket. The baby’s crying topped, and before Rachel collapsed, things had returned to normal. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and wondered how in the world did her psychic empathy engage? What was her connection to Willow Danby?
Her’s is great writing in sometimes a macabre but always a compelling story.
We often don’t understand the present without reaching back to touch the past.
Nobody does it better than MJ LaBeff.