With an intense and fascinating narrative that grips readers from the start, Danbury weaves a tale of a lost soul finding their way in an uncertain world. The deep plot keeps attention from the start, though for all its surprises it’s grounded in character and place. Lovingly detailed descriptions (cars, guitars, road-trip tunes, one “weathered giant of a cactus”) lead the way in moving the story forward as Phoenix travels across Arizona to California, the road and environs vividly evoked. The pacing, though a bit slow at times, won’t hinder readers of touching travelogs and thoughtfully earthbound mysteries. The story turns on a jolting family secret, which Danbury handles with sensitivity and insight, the suspense never at the expense of her cast’s humanity.
The result is a well-edited story alive with striking images, sharp dialogue, and the pain and promise of self-discovery. Deep character development and welcome lighthearted moments lead the way in keeping the pages turning. The mystery is believable, and the characters are lovable with well-thought-out character arcs and a relationship to story development. Any mystery fan who loves a mostly fast-paced narrative with a splash of romance will find this is a rewarding addition to to-be-read lists.
Takeaway: This road-trip mystery of self discovery with a hint of romance will win readers’ hearts.
Great for fans of: Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich’s Hard Eight.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
There is actually no reason Phoenix should be alive and breathing. There is, indeed, every reason for her to never have made it to ever see the light of day. Hers is a life born of violence, tragedy, and a series of true wonders. As an adult, she is finally learning her truth. After being adopted and living with a loving father, it is revealed to Phoenix that she not only has a biological family member still alive, but he very much wants to meet her. Thus begins the long journey to meet a man she has never known and the first steps to solving her mother’s tragic murder.
Leaving Phoenix, by Jafe Danbury, is the thrilling tale of Phoenix Laflamme’s extraordinary life and the past that haunts her. She is, in her own right, a miracle. The last night she saw her mother, Phoenix was an unwitting witness to her murder. She alone holds the key to finding the person responsible after twenty years. Small details–memories–are being triggered as she slowly tells her side of the story.
Danbury is a master storyteller. Phoenix’s life is nothing short of a miracle, and the intricate plot he lays out for his main character traces her life from conception through her fearless resolve to find her mother’s killer at any cost. Phoenix is a phenomenal main character and is a picture of strength and determination. The relationship she is able to form with her grandfather after two decades with her adoptive father is touching and quite amazing. In addition, her willingness to relive the past is truly a testament to her incredible strength of character.
The relationship brewing between Phoenix and Curt makes for a beautiful tale of kindness and hope. In a story that could be fraught with darkness, their willingness to help one another adds a sweet element to the story. Curt’s character is the perfect addition to Phoenix’s mission.
As far as thrillers go, Danbury has covered all the bases. Main character, Phoenix Laflamme is resilient, driven, and unshakable. Her mission to find the man who murdered her mother leads her down a dangerous road and puts her face to face with ghosts of her own. Cover to cover, Danbury’s writing packs a punch and hits all the major elements needed for a successful thriller–romance, action, heartache, and perseverance.
Leaving Phoenix by Jafe Danbury is a powerful suspense thriller about a young woman, who, in tracking her mother’s killer, discovers more about her dark past. Rose LaFlamme is having an abortion after being impregnated by a ruthless man that she calls the Pirate. This man drops her off at a shady abortion clinic and gives her some money for the procedure. In a miracle, Rose’s aborted fetus has an undetected twin sister which survived that Rose decides to keep. But the Pirate tracks down Rose and kills her. As if the scenario of being a surviving twin of a successfully-murdered would-be sibling is not enough, Phoebe, the surviving child, must set aside the thought that her mother tried to abort her because she wasn’t worth the trouble. She is the key to finding her mother’s killer. Other than that, her quest for the truth, her longing for family, and for connections, needs to be fulfilled.
While reading Leaving Phoenix the plot sticks with you and you become so invested that you want to find out what happens next, This novel is likely to earn strong reviews by word of mouth. Now is precisely the time for this novel. It is intense and often gripping to read, but it is also highly satisfying as you put yourself in the shoes of a young woman who must unravel her past and face a dark truth. Jafe Danbury displays a well-crafted treatment of tone and pacing, as well as a well-fleshed-out protagonist that you will truly care about. Danbury kneads the tension slowly, allowing Phoebe to accumulate resilience and intelligence as she gets closer to the truth. A must-read for any lovers of suspense and mystery, Leaving Phoenix is a heart-pounding and profoundly suspenseful novel that reaches an enormously satisfying arc.
LEAVING PHOENIX has been named Finalist in the Thriller/Suspense category in the 2022 IAN Book of the Year Awards.
LEAVING PHOENIX received a Finalist Award in the category of "Fiction ~ Chick Lit" in the 2022 Readers' Favorite Book Awards!