One Breath Away is Heather Gudenkauf’s newest novel and is one that will take you into your worst nightmare. A gunman and a school in lock down. What does he want? Who will survive? Heather takes us on an emotional and edge of your seat journey in her newest book and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I had read Heather’s first book The Weight of Silence (my review) and I had loved the story and Heather’s writing style so I had a pretty good idea that I would love this book as well and I did!
The town of Broken Branch is in the midst of a spring snowstorm when they learn that a gunman has made it into the school. They have no idea which classroom he is in, if he’s working alone, and more importantly what has driven this man to enter an elementary school with a gun. It’s a small town and for the most part everyone knows everyone else so the police desperately try to account for people in an effort to see who may be holding the kids hostage. With the raging snowstorm the roads are a mess and they are unable to get any additional help so they are on their own. The question is will they be able to reason with the gunman and get the kids to safety before it’s too late?
Mrs. Oliver is retiring this year. She’s had a great career and has loved being a third grade teacher. Unfortunately for her it is her classroom the gunman enters. Her main concern is to keep her young students calm and to get them out safely if she can. Mrs. Oliver has a reputation for not being much of a follower – she’s more of a tough old soul and she tries whatever she can to deter this gunman from what he came to do. Will it be enough though? Will she see her beloved Cal and her children again?
Will has been estranged from his daughter Holly for years but when an accident occurs and she’s badly burnt her mother rushes to her side and Will takes her children, thirteen-year-old Augie and third grader P.J., home with him until she’s out of the hospital. He made so many mistakes with his own daughter and while he and P.J. have hit it off it seems he may be having the same issues with his granddaughter. When he learns they are in the school with a gunman and there’s not a thing he can do he gets frustrated. There is no way he plans on failing his daughter yet again.
Meg is one of the police officers trying to get a handle on the situation. Her own daughter should have been in that third grade classroom but thankfully had left the day before to spend spring break with her father. As the investigation deepens it becomes apparent that the gunman does have a request – only one and that is to see Meg. He wants her to come to him – there are rumors – is it her ex, is it her brother? Meg is not prepared for the shock she feels at who confronts her when she walks in the classroom.
I loved quite a few of the characters in this book. Augie, while young, was a tough kid and while she relentlessly picked on her brother she would also, at any time, lay down her life for him. Their grandfather Will was another one I liked because he was so lost. He felt so much regret for the mistakes he made with his daughter and he wanted only to be able to tell her that her children were safe and with him. Mrs. Oliver was another great character and she reminded me of some of the teachers I had way back when. While the kids were in her classroom they were her kids and her responsibility and she would do anything to protect them.
One Breath Away shows just how easy the normalcy of a day can go awry. It only takes one moment in time and death can be one breath away at any time. This is another great novel from Heather Gudenkauf and one I would highly recommend.
I read One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf as part of her blog tour with BookTrib so be sure to pop in and check out all the tour stops for more great reviews, guest posts, interviews and giveaways along the way. There will also be a live chat with Heather and if you click on the picture below it will take you to a page where you can sign up for it. As well Heather will be here at Peeking Between the Pages tomorrow with a guest post and a giveaway so be sure to pop by and check that out!
In the meantime here is a book excerpt to whet your appetite for more! Click here to follow along with all the book excerpts. Enjoy…
Mr. Ellery, besides being really cute, is the absolutely best teacher I’ve ever had. He’s funny, but never makes fun of anyone and isn’t sarcastic like some teachers think is so hilarious. He also doesn’t let people get away with making crap out of anyone.
Review copy provided by BookTrib via NetGalley. No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Glad u enjoyed this one Dar. It sounds like one I might like as well.
It sounds like a book you can’t put down til you find out how they all fair.
And I see that Heather lives in Iowa! I was hoping to find her book on Wilbor audio but they do have 3 of her books in ebook form.
I have yet to read this author’s work, and yet, I have two of her books on the shelf.
How horrible! I can’t imagine and I sure never hope I have to
I enjoyed this one!
Oh my gosh, what a gut wrenching story!
Oh gosh, this one does sound chilling and riveting, and like something that I would really like to read. It seems so interesting to have this situation happen in a rural and closed town, where everyone knows everyone, and they all must account for each other’s whereabouts. Excellent review today, Dar, as usual 🙂 I loved what you had to say about this one!
I’m sure it is riveteting and an edge-of-your-seat read but I don’t think I could handle it with having a child in elementary school. They do lock down drills every month and I was there for one and it was kind of scary. It is sad that they even have these types of drills.