Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ARC Review: Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss

Ten After Closing
Author: Jessica Bayliss
Publication: Sky Pony Press (September 4, 2018)

Description: 10PM: Closing time at Café Flores. The door should be locked, but it isn't, Scott Bradley and Winsome Sommervil are about to become hostages.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING: Scott's girlfriend breaks up with him in the café's basement storeroom because he's late picking her up for the big end-of-the-year party. Now he can't go to the party, but he can't go home, either―not knowing his dad will still be in a drunken rage. Meanwhile, Winny wanted one night to let loose, away from her mother's crushing expectations. Instead, she's stranded at the café after her best friend ditches her in a misguided attempt at matchmaking.

TEN MINUTES AFTER CLOSING: The first gunshot is fired. Someone's dead. And if Winny, Scott, and the rest of the hostages don't come up with a plan soon, they may not live to see morning.

Told from both Winny and Scott's perspectives, and alternating between the events leading up to and following the hold-up, Ten After Closing is an explosive story of teens wrestling with their own challenges, thrown into circumstances that will test their very limits.

My Thoughts: TEN AFTER CLOSING is a story about some people taken hostage in a cafe. It is told from two viewpoints.

Scott is a recent high school graduate contemplating his future. He has offers with scholarships to a number of colleges but the best deal would keep him living at home for the next four years. His home is a battlefield. He is physically abused by his drunken father who lost his job over two years ago. His mother is a major enabler who is constantly making excuses for his father and ignoring the fact that her son is being abused. Scott gives most of his earning from his job at Cafe Flores to his mother to pay the bills.

Winny Sommervil is also part of an abusive family. In her case, her abuse is emotional. She feels she needs to live up to her parents high expectations in order to win their love and support. Unfortunately, they want her to be a doctor. She hasn't told them that the sight of blood makes her faint. She is secretly an artist and had received an acceptance letter to an art school. She's afraid to tell her parents about it in case they throw her out of the house.

Scott and Winny care for each other. In fact, they dated briefly until Winny became just too busy trying to meet her parents' demands to sustain a relationship with Scott. Scott then entered a relationship with Becky but the night of the hostage crisis begins with Becky dumping him because she feels she isn't a high priority with him.

Just after closing, three men enter the cafe and take the owner and her husband, Scott, Winny, and two customers hostage. One of the men is the owner's brother Ryan. Her husband Oscar had recently fired him after catching him dealing drugs out of the cafe. Sylvie, the owner, has always taken care of her brother but he resents her because he feels she hasn't done enough for him.

The hostage situation immediately turns violent. One of the customers is murdered. The men get even more enraged when they discover that a bank deposit had been made and there isn't the amount of money in the till to meet their needs to pay off their drug dealers.

I liked most of the story. I thought that the panic and inability to function that Winnie shows was a pretty realistic reaction to the trauma. I liked that Scott wanted to protect Winny and the rest of the people there. It showed his personality as someone who has to take care of others.

I didn't like the fact that the story was not told in a linear way. Different chapters went back to earlier parts of what was already an awful day for both Winny and Scott. Other chapters described what was happening during the hostage crisis. The story was violent with a number of people getting shot and a few being killed.

Fans of intense, realistic thrillers will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
"But," her mom said, holding up a finger, "we're not discussing this matter further tonight. And remember, Winny, your father and I have worked hard to support your education. We expect to have a say in it."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"We don't have to continue to pay your way, you know."

"You're threatening me: Threatening to cut me off?"

"You have a wonderful future awaiting you."

"If I do what you say."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the format. I think using the backwards timeline for the "before closing" portion kept my level of anticipation a little higher. The "after" parts were so tense, no gimmicks needed there. I was not thrilled with the resolution of Scott's situation at home, but I did enjoy this one.


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