Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster


A near-corpse hiding in her back seat, whispering of a teen missing for seven years.

A split-second decision to protect him.

A sweatshop owner who will kill to get him back.

The near corpse of a stranger had no idea where he’d been, how long he’d been there or who had kept him captive. But one thing intrigued journalist Lisa Jamison even more than his story: recent memories of a woman named Chandra Bower.

Seven years had passed since Chandra disappeared from Seneca Springs without a trace. Police investigators still compared DNA records whenever an unidentified body appeared, hoping to at least bring her family closure. Lisa still chased down leads from desperate family and friends, being careful to hide her investigations from an editor who thought she’d become obsessed with a woman who was clearly dead.

But this man had just seen her, sewing designer clothes in a dark, filthy basement with about twenty other men and women under horrifically inhumane conditions. And the sweatshop workers all had one thing in common: All were people of color.

A split-second decision to help the man takes Lisa on a race against time. His captors want him back, there is evidence someone on the police force might be involved and the man knows that if he were recaptured, they would torture him until he revealed the names of the two people who helped him escape: Lisa Jamison and Chandra Bower.

Lisa promised her teenage daughter she would stay away from the dangerous stories ever since her job had nearly gotten them both killed two years before. But she no longer has a choice. She must keep the stranger hidden while she gathers enough evidence to turn the case over to city police or the FBI. At least three lives—her own, the stranger’s and Chandra’s—depend on it.

My Thoughts

This is the second in Duffy Foster’s Lisa Jamison series and I am calling this out as a series to watch for readers who appreciate really, really good crime fiction.

I sometimes have trouble getting through some crime fiction that incorporates troubling topics like those here. However, Never Broken is just the right length, with just the right amount of description and revelation for this tired old mystery reader.

The author’s experience as a crime reporter adds authenticity to her voice as she builds an intricate and shocking plot, leading to a nerve-jangling climax. The main character, Lisa Jamison, is fleshed out a bit more here, as are are other characters…leading to a developing relationship and stake in the series for the reader. The exploration of the horrifying world of human trafficking and modern era slavery seems well-researched and is certainly stomach-turning. This might be triggering for some readers, but the author handles the topic with honesty and some restraint.

In my review of the first entry in this series, Dead Man’s Eyes, I compared the author to Scottoline and Evanovich. I stand by that comparison and recommend this fresh voice in crime fiction.

Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Thanks to the author for the advanced copy