When uncovering the truth can get you killed, how far will Kate and Tilly go to find justice?
After losing her father, Kate is working on renovating her desert home. Her new psychological counseling practice provides needed income, and a chance for Kate to find out who she can trust by working from the inside. But searching for these answers puts her in danger and the cost of learning the truth may be more than she can bear. Meanwhile, her sister Tilly has moved back to New Mexico. Family tragedy strikes, throwing Tilly into a cycle of self-sabotage that nearly gets her killed.
In this sequel to Complicit, Kate and Tilly struggle with fear and self-doubt while the lives of the victims they are helping hang in the balance. Will Kate's determination to identify members of a human trafficking operaation put more young women in danger? Will Tilly survive her reckless pursuit of justice?
Plot/Idea: Rivers delivers an exceptional story that portrays the inner battles within the human heart as a contender equal to the external volatile situations her characters face.
Prose: The author showcases incredible skill in storytelling with prose that builds emotional depth, connects flashbacks seamlessly to the present, and captivates the reader without losing momentum in the pace of the story.
Originality: This story feels truly unique. While each element may be familiar (such as a missing family member and the danger of seeking justice) on its own, the arrangement of how they woven put together within the context of place and time gives this novel its own flavor —one that is quite memorable.
Character Development/Execution: Readers will enjoy how the author gives each protagonist her own voice and authority. It felt like either main character could effectively lead the story on her own, yet the relationship between the two is central to creating a lifeline of hope. Rivers does an excellent job in creating full character profiles, even for those that play smaller roles.
Date Submitted: August 25, 2022
Some of those wrenching accounts of rape and abuse, of course, might connect to Kate’s larger mission. Stumble & Fall builds to the kind of tense scenes—investigations, attacks, escapes—that readers expect in a good series thriller, all described with crisp clarity and power. But Rivers digs deeper than that, investing readers in the sisters’ relationships with each other, their father, and their romantic partners—intimate, convincingly drawn relationships that prove as gripping as the more conventional suspense material.
Kate helping Tilly face trauma in her own past is especially touching, and Rivers deftly mines the genre of psychological thriller for more than just thrills. She makes healing and connection as engrossing as Kate’s efforts to stop these crimes. The men, too, are sharply written, and Rivers’s attention to socioeconomic reality (and what it feels like to languish between jobs) is refreshing. The story surges toward a jolting-yet-in-hindsight-inevitable revelation and a touching scene of solidarity among women, moments that less humane thrillers might sensationalize. Rivers, though, is too attuned to how people actually live, feel, and process trauma to reduce their lives to mere plot twists.
Takeaway: This superior thriller finds as much suspense in sisters’ relationships as in their efforts to stop sex traffickers.
Great for fans of: Brianna Labuskes, Lisa Regan.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"In Stumble and Fall, two sisters attempt to unravel a domestic sex trafficking ring while dealing with past and present life trauma. Rivers weaves in medical details and therapeutic strategies even as she delivers a tense psychological thriller. Gripping!" Margaret Mizushima, author of the award winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, including Striking Range