|GO'EL: Lethal Guardian|
|By Anastasia K. Bond|
KENDRA HARRIS knows what unrestrained evil can do. Orphaned without warning at age ten, she has spent the last twenty-five years channeling her anger at injustice into attempts to create good out of evil. When she volunteers at the local school, she meets MALLORY, an eight-year-old who tries to hide all signs of her mother’s violent rages. The town’s inept police chief brushes off Kendra’s demands for an investigation. Kendra will need the help of her husband, a former investigator in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, in order to find a way to protect Mallory. But he’s busy leading the protective detail for Ukrainian businessman MAX DELUTH…until a sniper shows up on Max’s property, shattering Kendra’s remaining ideals with one 7.62 mm round to her husband’s heart. Through the agony of her grief and ongoing attempts to help Mallory, Kendra struggles to protect her friend JOANNA KING, who witnessed the assassination. JOHN DAVISON, the son of the police chief and Joanna’s rejected fiancé, becomes a good friend as they try to keep Joanna safe, but his connections to the impotent police make him an ineffective ally.
When Max names the assassin and authorities find the man’s body in a remote Alaskan village, the police close the case, but Kendra goes behind Max’s back to find rest of the story. Her secret investigation yields shocking evidence: Max hired the assassin after her husband discovered that Max is forcing women into international prostitution. The incriminating videotape reveals Max’s fearsome power, and his Old World ideas of revenge would make Mallory the first retaliatory target if Kendra goes to the authorities. Kendra makes the gut-wrenching decision to do the unthinkable, believing it is the only way to have justice for her husband while saving Mallory. She uses Max’s own vices against him, sabotaging his driveway to send his car crashing into an icy ravine. Her plan works perfectly, but the crushing guilt takes her old life hostage.
Max’s death brings an influx of Ukrainians to the once-quiet region. Their deadly battles for control over Max’s assets are a vicious reminder that Mallory will only stay alive as long as Kendra keeps her aching secret. Yet Kendra’s first soul-sacrifice wasn’t enough; Mallory still has her life, but her mother still threatens her health and happiness. Every attempt to help Mallory fails due to the mother’s ability to manipulate the authorities. The chronic injustice of Mallory’s suffering breaks past Kendra’s hopes of self-redemption. Rationalizing that someone with a guilty conscience should be the one to do the dirty work, she vows to save those who cannot save themselves, even if it means killing again. She acts when the police do not, stopping the abuse forever through a carefully planned accident. But as new threats emerge, more staged accidents become necessary to keep the innocent safe, even though they further imprison Kendra’s heart. The incidents make it appear as though God Himself is cleaning up the town, using the vices of the guilty against them.
But God has nothing to do with her stealthy violence. In the darkness of her solitary nights, Kendra knows the truth: the cries of conscience have become more dangerous than the original threats of retaliation. If she seeks the redemption she so desperately needs, the revelations would destroy everyone she vowed to protect. When old friend ERIC VINCENT begins to slip past her defenses, she pushes him away, but not before he reawakens her desire for a more innocent life.
When Joanna dies because of her final “accident”, John begins a dangerous quest to find the person responsible. Kendra can’t blame him; she’d put the bullet in her brain herself if it would right the wrong. But John’s relentless search could bring the danger right to Mallory’s door. While visiting friends, growing threats and aching conscience drive Kendra to seek the confidential advice of a military chaplain before hell rains down on everyone she loves. She promises to walk away from her vigilante path if he will help her to protect Mallory. She heads home on a flight with Eric, clinging to her new hope and ready to fulfill the plan she made with the chaplain.
Then Max’s compatriots hijack their plane, fueled by far deadlier
ideals than the personal revenge Kendra first feared. As hostages die,
her conscience struggles with what it truly means to preserve life. Fulfilling
her promise means saving as many lives as possible, even at the risk of
losing eternal peace. With Eric backing her up, she uses the cunning and
skills that she’d used for her vigilante acts against the hijackers,
preventing the release of the deadly smallpox antigen. In the final moment,
she sacrifices her life to save Eric from the last hijacker. The threats
to Mallory die with Kendra, and although Mallory is oblivious to the full
story, she vows to “fight the bad guys” when she grows up.
Copyright 2008, Anastasia K Bond