Black Lightning – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and A Book and A Dish
“I saw it all. I was hiding in the closet, trying to stay safe from that man.” Robinson raises her eyebrows, “What man?” She blurts in her staccato way, “My stepfather—momma’s husband, Tom Gilcrest.” Patting Josie’s back lightly, the detective asks, “So what did you see?” Like a blast from a machine gun, the little slip of a girl fires out, “They were fighting again. I don’t really know over what, they were always fighting about something. He shot her four times fast, then once more when she was lying on the floor. He started soaking the house with gasoline. When he went into another room, I snuck out. I hid in the tool shed where the firemen found me.” Robinson quits rubbing Josie’s back, to start writing things down, “So, we should only find the remains of one body?” Josie replies only slightly slower, “No, there will be two. I saw him dragging in a man… a dead man, I think. I don’t know who it was. He was dressed very raggedy, nobody I recognized.”
Josie Stevens has just witnessed the murder of her mother by her stepfather. Her father was murdered was murdered about a year earlier. He grandmother, whom Josie was living with at the time, died after falling into a well and now her mother was gone. Due to the fire, the only thing Josie has left in this world is the teddy bear with the big red heart given to her by her dad before he was killed.
Detective Lizzie Robinson knows what it’s like to be alone. At a young age she had found herself in the same position. The only help Lizzie feels she can give this young girl is by calling her friend Natalie (Nat) Cohen who is the head of county social services child welfare and a ward of the court survivor herself. So with the help of Nat Josie is placed in the care of Ben and Hannah who run a working horse ranch for orphans. These two people took Lizzie and Nat under their wings years ago and helped shape them into who they are today. Nat is sure they can do the same for Josie.
As soon as Josie steps out of the car at the ranch she spots one of the most beautiful horses she’s ever seen. She immediately climbs the fence and then onto the back of this black beauty, racing him across the corral and into the pasture. This turned out to be a surprise to Ben since the black horse had been determined as too wild for the other kids. He was amazed to see the kindred spirit that had immediately developed between Josie and the black horse. What Ben didn’t know was that Josie could talk to the horses and they could talk back to her. She was in a sense what some call a “Horse Whisperer.”
Black Lightning is one of the most loving books I’ve read in a long time. Josie has her love for the horses, Ben and Hannah have the love for all of the kids past and present that they’ve helped through the years. They pride themselves in the knowledge that so many have gone to college and made something of themselves instead of just being allowed to slip through the cracks of society. But love isn’t all that I found in Black Lightning. It has just enough murder and mayhem to keep you wondering what will Josie’s stepfather do next to get his hands on the secrets he feels are hidden inside the teddy bear belonging to Josie. This book turned out to be a real page turner that I really enjoyed.
So, if you’re a horse fan, a fan of suspense and/or a fan of touching love, don’t miss Black Lightning. It has it all.