Five Star, Feb 2004, 25.95, 224 pp.
North Carolina police officer Jay Anderson knew he was doing wrong, but could not stop himself from beating up his wife Carrie. To help him with his anger management, Jay was seeing police psychiatrist Frank Hawkins, but in the middle of their sessions, he tells the shrink that he, his wife, and his ten year old daughter Emily were taking a vacation in Missouri over the concern of Frank.
On the trip Jay learns that Carrie plans to leave him for fear he will start abusing their child. They stop at Long Horn Caverns near St. Louis where Emily, who can hear thoughts, notices two evil people. Her father is preoccupied and ignores her warning. When he leave the caverns, Crow, who just escaped from Leavenworth and his girlfriend Heddy who abetted his escape, carjack the Anderson vehicle with the family taken as hostages. On the murderous trek to Mexico, relationships change as double crossings occur. None of the five seem like they will walk away and if by some miracle if one does he or she will be haunted by this deadly road trip forever.
Though a crime thriller, BAD TRIP SOUTH is also a deep character study through Emily's adult like perspective. The story line is action-packed, but will feel strange as readers hear what Emily hears inside the heads of the other four people.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner