Escape to Redemption by Peter Parr
Josie only had the gun to frighten Curtis Rook, but his son disturbed her. One startled reflex and now he’s dead. Josie flees to Poland leaving her boyfriend Snaz to take the rap. A reformed criminal offers her refuge from the police and the chance to begin a new life, but she cannot hide from her guilt. As the stakes rise, Josie begins to realise that only her own forgiveness can set her free. Fast-paced and original, Peter M. Parr’s contemporary take on Crime and Punishment challenges traditional ideas about guilt and redemption, and the meaning of forgiveness.
Peter M. Parr works part-time as a civil servant, which gives him time to indulge his passion for writing. He facilitates workshops to encourage people to reflect on what truly matters. He lives in Hastings, East Sussex, overlooking the sea. He is a Quaker and student of ‘A Course in Miracles’.
Josie is a spoiled brat and learns something about her mother. She decides to teach Rook a lesson but when she threatens him with a gun she accidentally shoots and kills him and injures his son. Fearing the consequences, Josie runs away to Poland and plans to let her “boyfriend”, Snaz take the fall. Snaz quickly figures out that Josie is going to let him be blamed for the murders and plans on getting arrested just to blame her. But Josie can’t live with the guilt of what she has done and the thought that Snaz will be blamed.
I admit that I couldn’t stand Josie. She was such a brat and the plan to threaten Rook, what in the heck was she thinking? But I will say that as we follow along with Josie she does impress me. There is a lot of thought on her part and she does become a better person. Snaz on the other hand, he thinks because he is lower in the social scale he deserves to take the blame for the death. But as you read on, he just gets worse and worse.
I enjoyed this story, it does make you think. If you were in Josie’s position what would you do? How would you react? And how would it change you? The book is well written and had me thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. This is one book that I recommend people check out.
I received Escape to Redemption for free from Virtual Author Book Tours for free in exchange for an honest review.
Josie felt shy to ask for a glass of water, so the sour taste of the vinegar-drenched herrings lingered in her mouth. The others spoke in English, trying to include her in the conversation, but their efforts only made her feel more left out. She hadn’t heard of the writers they talked about, never mind read their books.
If anything, Kogut sounded the most enthusiastic: ‘We create our own experience,’ he declared to nods from Helena. ‘What you think, you become.’ Their hostess agreed with everything he said, interrupting only when she didn’t understand the meaning of a word. Ola also appeared to be a convert, coming up with clever answers when Kogut turned devil’s advocate to challenge her in jest.
Josie found herself warming to Roman more than to the women. He said very little and she assumed all their new-age talk must be above his head too. But when the conversation turned to people dying in Malawi because they had no clean water, he chimed in as animated as the rest. Josie could only nod: they all knew far more about it than she did.
She finished her herrings before any of the others, and the next course – steaming-hot sauerkraut with wild mushrooms – too. No doubt they considered her ignorant. She didn’t understand why Kogut had brought her here, unless he took pleasure in showing her up.
Her mind kept returning to what he’d said outside. We are Spirit. What did he mean? She stared at him, the dancing flame of the candle between them, and she felt a growing urge to confront him. We’re all Spirit? Well if he really believed that, why did he live in a mansion and have people to cook and clean for him, and Adam to drive his Merc? Or perhaps he’d set up the whole evening, but why would he? Not to get her into bed with him, surely, when he could have chosen a hundred more obvious ways.
Josie waited for a break in the conversation, but she couldn’t get a word in while Ola offered her solutions to the world’s problems. She spoke like a proper little oracle, like the world’s leaders simply had to follow her suggestions and everything would be sorted. Josie couldn’t help but smile when Ola spilled some greasy cabbage from her fork onto her plush velvet dress.
When Roman brought the carp from the kitchen and set a plate in front of her, Josie recalled the live fish in the bath at Pete’s family’s flat: the ripples it made in the water, the languid movement of its fins. Pete and his family would be having their meal too, an empty space at the table where a week ago she’d sat.
Josie had hoped Pete might change her and show her another way to live. She’d allowed herself to get close to him because a part of her did want to change. Instead she’d ended up hurting him twice now. She’d been kidding herself, to imagine a relationship with someone so different could ever have worked.
Helena borrowed her daughter’s plate to cut the meaty fish into small, bite-size chunks for her. The emeralds in Ola’s earrings looked real. Weren’t they wasted, on a girl who couldn’t see?
‘You are not eating,’ observed Kogut.
‘I’m not hungry,’ Josie said. ‘I’ve had enough.’
‘You’ve been very quiet, Josephine.’ Ola spoke to her for the first time since they’d sat at the table. ‘Tell us about yourself.’
The invitation jolted Josie. ‘Like what?’
‘Do you study?’
‘No. I went to drama school, but I left it after a year.’
‘So do you work?’ Ola pressed.
‘I do some modelling.’
‘Oh, really? What kind?’
‘Magazines. Fashion magazines.’
‘What colour is your hair?’
‘Oh, but it’s much darker than yours is, Ola,’ said the girl’s mother, returning her plate. ‘Bardzo ostry—’
‘Vivid,’ Roman translated.
‘Almost halfway towards red.’
Josie realised, if she did stay in Poland, she’d have to dye her hair to avoid being recognised. Maybe black would suit her.
‘… Josephine is very beautiful.’ Helena interrupted her thoughts. ‘Don’t you think so, Arkadiusz?’
Kogut took a long moment to reply, until Josie looked at him. ‘Yes, she is. Very.’
Ola struggled to capture an obstinate piece of fish on her fork. ‘But of course, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.