When his plane touches down in Portland, all Brian Palmer is expecting to do is wink, flash a smile, and close another deal. That all changes when he sees Cassie sitting outside the airport, scared, hurt, and alone. He approaches her with nothing but good intentions.... That chance encounter triggers a series of events, which will repeatedly test Brian's character, values, and morals. On the brink of closing the biggest deal of his life, Brian is faced with some very difficult choices. How much is he willing to do to help a girl in need? How far is he prepared to go to close a deal? And will he be able to live with his decisions?
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I would never recommend this audio book. But not for the usual reasons that it was poorly written. No, instead because it wrenched my heart to the point that I am still questioning what I would do, were I in Bryan's situation. I am feeling such unbearable confusion, I simply don't know what to feel. From the beginning, the character Cassie was the villain, I saw her as a marriage breaker and had a very low opinion of her- I certainly wanted her out of the picture. But when that came to be, I empathised with the guilt Bryan felt.
It was daunting, I couldn't forsee the end, nor could I forsee that I would have this reaction. Believe me, at first I believed that Bryan was the victim of a naive, but not innocent, young girl's manipulation and incessantly reckless behaviour. She was attempting to lure a vulnerable Bryan into committing adultery. So, I had my sympathies with Ellie (his actual wife) and Bryan. I would say, once I realised Cassie's motives, in the beginning, I resented her and her ability to influence Bryan.
Though, Burgess cleverly introduces a twist which I more than appreciated. At the end we learn that good intentions are never enough in being a good person: the actions are always more important. Just as the proverb 'actioms speak louder than words', implies. Bryan failed to act out on his intention and inevitability, because of the severity of the situation, what inevitably follows is disaster. All throughout he believed he was helping Cassie, that he was making her happier, but we quickly learn as the problems escalate, that she was not any better off.
This audio book kept me occupied for most of the morning up until now, and I know that it will remain in my thoughts long after. This was undoubtedly a good book, worth hearing, the narrator performed well and was suited to do the voices. Now, the writing was equally good, I particularly liked how the writer intelligently influenced the mood in various parts of the writing: at the start it was light, and even witty. Later on when it draws on sensitive issues, including prostitution, abuse, it becomes darker- more dangerous. It constantly flirts between these different atmospheres: an emotional rollercoaster, if you will. I'm sure you understand why I still can't process my feelings.
This book may not offer much in terms of a refuge, or comfort, but it offers gratitude and puts our own problems into perspective. So yes, it is every bit deserving of five stars. I would say that audio book was intended more for mature audiences, the issues it alludes to, and those that it revolves around, are extremely sensitive and require considerable maturity.
NB: I received this audio book through Audio Book Blast. And it can be listened to as a stand- alone novel.