Sunday, March 7, 2010

COUNTERFEIT SON by Elaine Marie Alphin

For years a young boy lives with a serial killer and witnesses horrible acts of abuse and killing.  Convinced that he has been "bad" and the beatings he receives are intended to correct his behavior, he follows the orders of his captor by attending school daily as if nothing is wrong, appearing in public places calmly and quietly, and returning to help his captor hide evidence and bury the bodies of other not so lucky boys.

When the serial killer is finally caught in a police raid, the young boy, who for years has been told he is the son of the killer, decides his only chance for a better life is to pretend to be one the missing boys.  Neil Lacey's parents can hardly believe that the son they lost six years ago has been returned.  Although at least one detective is suspicious of such a happy ending, they take Neil home and try to resume a normal family life. 

Neil still thinks of himself as Cameron, and in his mind, he thinks of his cruel abuser as Pop.  With knowledge he gained from newspaper clippings recounting stories of the missing Neil Lacey, he hopes to fool his new family.  Between fear of discovery and the fear that the horrible beatings and other abuse he suffered at the hands of Pop will somehow return, Neil tries to settle in and renew relationships with his parents and brother and sister.

As the days and weeks after his rescue pass, Neil feels less and less secure.  His sister Diana claims to have doubts that he is really her brother, and forensic testing on the bodies of the killer's victims might still ruin everything.  Can he possibly pull this off?  And why is he feeling more and more like maybe he might actually be Neil Lacey?

COUNTERFEIT SON is the type of story you might expect to watch on some TV docu-drama.  It's the amazing story of survival a kidnap victim being reunited with anxious family members, but with twists and turns that make this a riveting adventure.  Author Elaine Marie Alphin creates an immediate emotional attachment to Neil.  Whether he is the long-lost kidnap victim or the abused son of the maniac doesn't really seem to matter.  His character will captivate readers and their desire to know his complete story make this book excellent reading.

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