May 26, 2015
Freedom’s Child, by Jax Miller
Freedom Oliver has plenty of secrets. She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself. Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she’s brash, funny, and fearless. What they don’t know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name. They don’t know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago. They don’t know she put her two kids up for adoption. They don’t know that she’s now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill. Then, she learns that her daughter has gone missing, possibly kidnapped. Determined to find out what happened, Freedom slips free of her handlers, gets on a motorcycle, and heads for Kentucky, where her daughter was raised. As she ventures out on her own, no longer protected by the government, her troubled past comes roaring back at her: her husband’s vengeful, sadistic family; her brief, terrifying stint in prison; and the family she chose to adopt her kids who are keeping dangerous secrets.
I enjoyed Freedom’s Child, by Jax Miller. It’s refreshing to read a strong female protagonist who is flawed. So often male characters are allowed to have glaring personality defects, but not women. They’re so often portrayed as the hapless girl that the story happens to, not them taking control of the story. The smoking, boozing, cussing Freedom Oliver is horribly flawed, but we can empathize with her foibles. Many of us have even known someone who reminds us of her.
Jax Miller’s writing style has been compared to a graphic novel, and I’d say that’s not far off. The writing is easy to follow and to figure out what’s going on. The three main subplots and three more minor ones feel like they belong, and weren’t just shoehorned in to pad the book. The writing is terse, unapologetic, and to the brutal point. There’s not as much swearing as say Chuck Wendig in his Miriam Black series, but I see many parallels between both the protagonist and writing style. The subtle snark and real-world storytelling in Freedom’s Child is very compelling.
If you like Wendig’s Miriam Black series, you’ll like Freedom’s Child and vice-versa. Jax Miller has crafted a captivating story, easily worthy of four stars and an instant read. Make sure you read it when it comes out on June 2nd.
Jax Miller was born and raised in New York but currently lives in the Irish countryside. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger award for her first (unpublished) novel titled ‘The Assassin’s Keeper’ under the pseudonym Aine O Domhnaill. Jax is an avid lover of film and a self-proclaimed comic nerd.