cover image Freedom's Child

Freedom's Child

Jax Miller. Crown, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8041-8680-3

Boozing, brawling, and fierce but emotionally fragile, Freedom Oliver has been pissing away her life in witness protection like someone with nothing left to lose%E2%80%94until fate unexpectedly offers her one last long shot at redemption in this debut thriller, which hits like a beer bottle to the head. Freedom, a heavily inked redhead known in a former life as Nessa Delaney, is shaken out of her stupor slinging drinks at a biker bar in Painter, Ore., by the release from prison of her vengeance-bent brother-in-law, Matthew. Matthew is a member of the spectacularly sociopathic Delaney clan, headed by a 600-pound coke-dealing matriarch, and he lusts for payback from the woman he blames for framing him for murder. Even worse, the Delaneys may get their hands on the two now-grown children Freedom gave up for adoption, Mason and Rebekah. When Freedom learns that Rebekah has disappeared from her adoptive home in Goshen, Ky., she's but a stolen bike and Glock away from a desperate race to save the daughter she never knew. Some of the cross-country action strains credulity, but between the gutsy heroine and gale-force narrative, you'd be churlish to quibble. Agent: Claudia Ballard, William Morris Endeavor. (June)