Reunion – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Breathing heavy from carrying the tote across the parking lot, David barged into the cafeteria, shot one round into the ceiling and shouted, “Attention everyone! Attention! My name’s David Ray, and some of you…are gonna die!” For a moment, the crowd sat quiet and still. David made a mental note of their blank faces. They probably think it’s a firecracker or a joke, he thought. I’ll show ‘em it isn’t a joke. Mr. Gardner strutted toward David, exuding his authority, but David pulled the trigger and shot a couple of the students nearby. Mr. Gardner threw his arms over his head, ducked down and crawled toward the wounded students to help. David squinted hard, looked into the crowd with dead eyes, and began shooting. Bodies scattered as the cafeteria erupted with screams, falling bullet shells, the squeaking of sliding sneakers and the turning over of chairs. He watched their scared bodies hide and tremble in fear and listened to their voices question who and why. Their fear gave him strength, feeding his adrenalin, pressing him deeper into the crowd. He knew exactly where to go. His tormentors’ locations were too predictable. The cliques always sat in the same places. David stepped forward and located his prey. He shot another round and heard another scream. He repeated the process, over, and over.’
The school massacre took place 20 years ago ending with eight students dead, several wounded physically but many more wounded mentally. Maria Vasquez lost her beloved Darrin, and to cope with her memories became a counselor working with PTSD patients. As the 20th anniversary of the killings as well as the 20th reunion of her graduating class approached, Maria decided that there were probably others from her class that might benefit from a reunion as a way of facing their memories and fears.
Of those Maria was able to contact, only five responded and agreed to the reunion. Up until the day of the massacre, senior student Bryan Jacobs had planned to become a doctor. His plans changed and he became a policeman in hopes of helping to prevent the event from reoccurring. He would attend the reunion. Kate Schmidt Tooley still lived in the town of Crescent Falls and was married to Nick. Nick’s twin brother Randy was killed when David Ray mistakenly shot him instead of Nick. Nick deals with his memories by drowning them and seeing “ghosts” of David who he feels is trapped within the school Kate will be attending but probably without Nick. Lana Jones became a writer who, along with her daughter Zoe, travels around the country talking to students about the David Rays in the world. She will attend. Tanner Khan deals with his memories by creating challenges. He climbs mountains, crosses rivers and sails oceans. But when the invitation came to return to Crescent Falls for the reunion, he saw this as his biggest challenge and accepts.
These are the five who accepted the invitation to create a reunion. When it is decided to hold the actual event at the school itself, Bryan starts to have second thoughts. As part of his duty as a policeman he checks on the now deserted school. He has heard sounds and seen things at the old school that are out of the norm. But he also feels, like the others, that this may be the best place to start healing.
As I read Reunion I felt like I had stepped into a movie. As I followed each character’s story and their method of coping with their own tragedy I felt as if I knew them personally. This book is so well written that if it isn’t picked up to be made into a movie then the industry is missing out. The characters, story and events are so believable that you can’t help but picture each as something you’ve just read in the paper or seen on a news strip. For those of you who enjoy a great paranormal mystery, Reunion is a must read!