Fallout – Carrie Stuart Parks

Fallout Carrie Stuart Parks
Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks
Also by this author: Relative Silence, Woman in Shadow
Published by Thomas Nelson on September 13, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
Buy on Amazon

Samantha Williams’s carefully crafted life is about to be demolished as thoroughly as her art classroom when a careening SUV smashes into the school.
In the dusty farming community of LaCrosse, Washington, art teacher Samantha Williams manages to save her students when an SUV crashes into the school. Her car isn’t so lucky. Oddly, her purse—containing her driver’s license, credit cards, and other identification—is missing from the wreckage, forcing her to rely on the kindness of strangers. Never one to trust easily, Samantha is thrust into a world far different from her simple life of jigsaw puzzles, children’s books, and lectures at the library.
One of the strangers who befriends her is a reporter from Spokane who is in town investigating two sets of skeletal remains that were recently discovered. When authorities discover that the driver in the school accident was shot before the crash, Samantha quickly becomes enmeshed in strange events, which turn ominous with the discovery of blackmail, murder, an abandoned town, and a secret government project.
Samantha has long tried to forget the tragedy of her past, but the links here can't be ignored. Yet these are secrets that others are determined to keep buried, and they’ll use any means necessary to stop Samantha’s search for truth.

Fallout is my third Carrie Stuart Parks novel. Let me start this by saying that everyone has different tastes in books. With this third book, I think it is safe to say Carrie Stuart Parks’ novels do not align with mine. There is nothing wrong with Fallout. It has an entertaining story with a compelling plot, and Parks takes her readers on quite a journey from the first page until the last. I enjoyed it well enough, but something fell flat for me. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact I like fast-paced thrillers. While Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks features high stakes, it does not have the nail-biting excitement I look for.

After I finished Fallout, I tried to think of novels to which to compare it. Parks does not write like Susan May Warren or Lynette Eason. There is no history between the main characters. Is there a romance? Yes, in a way. Parks focuses on the crimes. The mysteries. Fallout would have been fine without the relationship, unlike some of the other romantic suspense novels I have read. In fact, I might have enjoyed Fallout more without it. I was not expecting or hoping for a romance when I read the summary. Parks introduces a relationship. No profession of love, just…a start.

With Fallout, Parks is less romantic suspense and more…Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Or a game of Clue, with multiple suspects and hints that may (or may not) lead to the right conclusion. The pieces come together slowly, like a precarious card tower or a line of dominoes. Everything builds until the final chapter. You think you may have figured something out, but Parks takes out one of those cards, and you have to start your card tower again. Until the novel’s finale. The clues snap together…and the antagonist’s world comes crashing down. The first domino falls. The “Aha!” moment arrives, and everything makes sense.

This may be some people’s style, but there is a reason I have only read one Agatha Christie novel. There is action in Fallout. A lot of it. But Parks uses the action to progress the story, carefully placed and written out, rather than using it to fill plot holes that may exist. Carrie Stuart Parks is a talented author whose prowess and expertise shine in Fallout. Her storytelling is just not what I like—and that is okay. If you read Fallout, you will enjoy it. I don’t doubt it!