Cover Image: Never Broken

Never Broken

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Member Reviews

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster is the second in the series but can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.

Lisa Jamison, a journalist is just getting to her car, and inside she finds an emaciated man, Saul, who had just escaped from a sweatshop. He tells Lisa her story and she is intrigued and wants to help him and learn more and expose the owners of this sweatshop. She takes him to her friend Dorothy's home and enlists an ex-doctor friend to take care of him.

As Lisa digs into Saul's story she remembers the girl that he tells her about, Chandra, who disappeared seven years ago on her way to the store. Never to be seen or heard from, Saul's story is that she is still alive and in the same sweatshop that he escaped from. The only problem to his story is that he does not know where it is, he was too intent on his escape to pay much attention along with his condition did not allow for many memories.

She slowly gets the story from him and is determined to expose this trafficking of people for the needs of men who want only to make money off of these people.

Lisa enlists the help of her boss and a fellow journalist. Their search leads them to danger that they may not escape. Lisa is running against the clock to solve this mystery. Will she be able to solve it in time and still be safe?

I read the first book in the series, A Dead Man's Eyes, and really enjoyed it, so I felt that this book would be as good, and I was right. I loved Lisa and Dorothy's characters. Lisa has a daughter Bridget, she is not as much of the main character as she was in the first book but she definitely contributes to the story. 

If you like a good mystery, then this series is for you!

I give it 5 stars!

I received a copy for review purposes only!
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This was a great mystery that kept me turning pages.  
Many thanks to IBPA and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I read Dead Man’s Eyes, also by this author, and loved it so much that I immediately picked up this book.  Pleasingly, the author is consistent in her ability to tell a compelling story with strong characters with whom the reader can really engage,
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Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster

Published: April 12, 2022
Level Best Books
Pages: 224
Genre: Women Sleuths
KKECReads Rating: 4/5
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Lori Duffy Foster is a former crime reporter who writes and lives in the hills of Northern Pennsylvania. She is the author of A Dead Man's Eyes, the first in the Lisa Jamison Mysteries Series, and an Agatha Award nominee. Lori is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers, and Pennwriters. She also sits on the board of the Knoxville (PA) Public Library.

“She could live with that.”

Lisa has mostly recovered from the chaos that exploded in her life two years ago. Bridget is thriving, Dorothy is living her dream, and life is settling down. Until Lisa finds a malnourished man in her backseat, who begs her to help him, suddenly, she finds herself caught in a dangerous and secretive business, and this time there might not be any survivors. 

I am enjoying this series! I enjoyed getting to know Lisa more, and I found her emotional depth in this novel well done. 

I liked that the book alternated between Lisa and Dorothy as the narrators, and we got to know Dorothy more in this book. She is such a beautiful character. Her past is tragic, but her heart is pure, and she is amazing. 

I love that this series focuses on rare cases. The plot for this book was disgusting, terrifying, and well-executed. It’s scary to think things like this happen today, and I found the presentation was authentic. 

We meet Fred, another reporter who works with Lisa, and I hope he becomes a series regular. I like him, and I like how well he and Lisa worked together. Their chemistry was natural. 

I also love the idea of Patrick, and I am looking forward to getting to know him more in the next book. This series has a lot of potential, and I look forward to reading them.
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This was a good read. The story had a lot of tension that kept me reading and I felt like the storyline was really relevant to what America is currently dealing with. I felt the characters were all really well done and I enjoyed getting to know them. There were all relatable on some level. I felt like the author did a really good job with the dialogue. Overall I really enjoyed this one and look forward to reading more books by this author.
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Never Broken, the second Lisa Jamison novel, takes us into the dark world of sweatshops and slave labor.

Lisa is an investigative journalist who latches on to the inhumanity of an underground enterprise and won’t quit until she tears it all down. I love her tenacity, but I’m not sure I’d want to be a close friend or family member because they’re all in danger when she starts poking the hornet’s nest.

Pacing is a gradual build, as we sink deeper into the nightmare of human slavery. I appreciate that the author shows the reality of this issue, reminding us that this stuff is happening everywhere, perhaps even in your city right now.

The author sprinkles in enough of the backstory from the first book so that this one can be read as a stand-alone.
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Lisa Jamison is an investigative reporter determined to get to the bottom of whatever story she is writing. A new story arrives when the emaciated body of a man named, Saul sneaks into the backseat of her car.  He convinces her that he has escaped a sweatshop where he and about 20 other people have been kept for years as slaves.  There is a lot of suspense and emotion wrapped up in the story as Lisa digs deeper, getting too close for comfort.  It is a heartbreaking story and hard to read in parts. Human trafficking is still a reality in our world today making this book a good wake-up call for all of us to be aware.
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Lisa Jamison has had a hard life but is pulling it all together and has become an investigative reporter. There's definitely something to investigate when a nearly dead man, Saul climbs into the backseat of her car. Why is he there, and why does he appear to be nearly starved to death? Lisa believes his story and sets out to catch the criminals. While at it, Lisa uncovers a human trafficking ring, and they really don't want her investigating.  Lisa tries to keep those she loves out of harm's way, but that's easier said than done.
I'll be looking for her first book in this series, A DEAD MAN'S EYES, and then reading more by Lori Duffy Foster. I was the recipient of an ARC copy however the viewpoints are my own, Other than the receipt of this book, I have not been compensated in any way.
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When the author approached me to read/review Never Broken, I had to think about it. When she emailed me, I was very behind in reading and reviews. But, I have a thing where if I start a series, I will finish it. That and the blurb, which interested me, were ultimately the main reasons I decided to accept the invite. I am glad that I did.

Never Broken had an exciting plotline. This book takes place two years after the events of A Dead Man’s Eyes. Lisa is a journalist covering a story in a very seedy area (that is about to be revitalized) when she discovers a sick man hiding in the back seat of her car. Saul tells Lisa an interesting story about illegal sweatshops and the mysterious people who run them. But her attention is caught he mentions the name of an African American woman who had disappeared years earlier. Deciding to investigate, Lisa needs the help of Dorothy to keep Saul safe. What Lisa finds during her investigation shakes her to her core. Can she oust the sweatshop owners and save the workers, including Chandra? Or will she have to choose between her job and her family?

Never Broken is book 2 in the Lisa Jamison series. Readers can read this book as a standalone. But, I do suggest reading book 1 to understand Lisa’s backstory. It is gone over, very briefly, in Never Broken, but it is more in-depth in book 1.

The main thing that I liked about Never Broken was that the author was able to take me into how investigative journalist does their job. I had a rough idea of how they did their job. But, I never knew how much work went into it. A good majority of the book was Lisa chasing down leads, casing the neighborhood where she thinks Saul came from and talking to the people in the community. I also didn’t realize how dangerous it could be. At one point, Lisa got run down by a car because she was coming close to where the sweatshop was. That sent chills up my spine and made me thankful that I didn’t pursue my high school dream of being a reporter.

I loved Lisa in this book. She was quick on her feet, and her intuition was incredible (chefs kiss here). She was also still a devoted mother, and when things started to get hairy, her first thoughts were of her daughter and how to keep her safe. She was also human. The horror and pity she felt when she first saw Saul was palpable. I also got why she didn’t trust anyone she worked with. She was almost killed by a fellow reporter, one she considered her friend, and she didn’t trust anyone other than her editor. So, I got why she was hesitant to bring Frank with her on interviews.

What do I say about Saul? He was a wonderful human being. The strength (mental and physical) that he showed throughout the book was terrific. Of course, he was damaged. Wouldn’t you be if you were forced to work in a basement and treated as less than a human? I loved seeing him open up to Dorothy and begin the healing he needed.

Dorothy was the other main character in Never Broken. She was mentioned a few times in the first book but never was made into much of a character. Well, in this book, she was one of the main characters. My heart broke when she realized she felt so protective of Saul because of an unspeakable loss she had experienced years earlier. Saul reminded her of her son. She was also a bad b*tch who wouldn’t give up Saul, no matter what.

The secondary characters fleshed out this book. They brought an extra depth to the storyline (not that it needed it). I was disappointed that Lisa’s daughter was brought down to a secondary character. She had no place in this story (other than helping Dorothy with Saul a few times). But, as the book went on, I got it.

The mystery angle was terrific. I was genuinely kept on edge about who was the sweatshop owner and who was behind Lisa’s assaults. The author did throw out some red herrings throughout the book. I thought I figured it out when an arrest was made. Then the twist came, and I was like, “Wait, what?”

The suspense angle was also excellent. I wanted to know if Saul would make it. I also wanted to know if Lisa would figure out where the sweatshop was and who was operating it. The author did a superb job of keeping me glued to the book.

The end of Never Broken was a bit anti-climatic. The author wrapped up the storylines in a way that satisfied me. She also showed the aftermath of everything that had happened. I did like that Lisa got a little bit of happiness at the very end, and I wonder if that will morph into something for book 3.

I would recommend Never Broken for anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and no sexual situations. There are also scenes of modern-day slavery, a forced abortion, and talk of rape.
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I love the first book in the series and I was anxiously awaiting meeting these characters again.  From the beginning, the story hooks you in.  The story reads like an old fashioned journalist/investigator story from a time when journalism was much more lively than it is now.  That’s OK.  This is the kind of story that made me want to become a journalist when I was a kid.  Sometimes it seems a little farfetched.  That’s OK.  I wish there had been more of some of the characters who really made me love the first book.  I hope the next book in the series branches out and develops them more.
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This is the second in the Lisa Jamison series; I didn't read the first one but that didn't hamper my ability to follow the plot. Unfortunately, as I had done with another requested book this past month, I took a chance on this and it didn't pay off. When I read that it was an investigative journalist crime fiction without reading through the whole description I jumped right in (and I loved the cover). I saw this book mentioned on another blogger's site highlighting this month's mystery new releases. I should have done my homework first. 

The writing style in this book is really very good and that is why I finished it. Again,--and I dislike having to mention this in my reviews-- it is definitely a case of  "it's me, not you".  I had no idea what the mystery would entail in this story because I only read the first few sentences of the book blurb. 

NOTE TO SELF: You need to carefully read the full blurb when choosing a new to me author, even if that risks me having the entire suspense or mystery uncovered before I read it. 

It sounded like a missing person cold case and I really enjoy those. But the plot got darker and more detailed rather quickly. After the last few years of headline stories recounting the crimes against Black individuals by White supremacists I did not feel I could handle this book well.  I kept to it though, and read it all, but there were big chunks of it that I didn't enjoy. 

I read: 1) to either have an enjoyable few hours with a book  or 2)  to learn interesting facts I didn't know.

The Dilemma, and why it's difficult to give a star rating:

the writing style -- I would enjoy it with another plot besides this one, but I won't take a chance on the next book in the series 4/5

my enjoyment reading it-- I couldn't adequately enjoy the main plot at all, though the places that talked about the relationships between Lisa, her teenage daughter Bridget, her ex-boyfriend, and her good female friend were entertaining. 2/5

rounded to 3/5
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A good tale told well with some interesting characters but some that were fairly unsubstantial. I thought the book slowed down a bit in the middle section but a decent ending. Not fantastic but worth the read.
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The second of the Lisa Jamison investigative reporter series, Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster is a mystery thriller. Lisa is writing her latest feature article on an urban renewal project, when a homeless man is discovered hiding in her car. She is startled with his allegation that he has escaped from an illegal sweatshop and decides to investigate. Once again, her quest for the story places her daughter and friends in danger, as the underworld owners of the slave textile industry will stop at nothing to protect their enterprise.  Despite the threats and mounting danger, Lisa continues to pursue her leads, culminating in a tense, action packed finale. An enjoyable and realistic tale of journalistic endeavour and a hero who won’t quit, makes this a three-and-a-half-star read rating. With thanks to the Independent Book Publishers Association and the author, for an advanced copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.
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Never Broken is a crime thriller by Lori Duffy Foster [release 2022]. The story covers events in the life of a journalist named Lisa Jamison, as well as criminal activities and detective tasks. Lisa comes across a homeless, half-starved, and stinking black man in her car. She has to make quick decisions that put the lives of many in danger and may save many more. The first decision saves the life of Saul, the homeless man who had suffered for a decade under a racist anarchist. He and twenty other people had been abducted, shackled, beaten, and forced to work in a basement with no payment, meager meals, and almost no sleep. Alex creates enemies that what to silence her so that they keep their despicable businesses running.

I enjoyed the plot of the story. It was entertaining and carried me away to the world of the protagonist. I found all characters were well-developed with nothing being forced between them. The dialogues used felt natural. I enjoyed the investigative skills of Alex as well as the FBI characters.

I did not spot anything to dislike. The story had a sequential flow with some flashbacks, the book was well organized, and each event was unique even in the same setting.

I rate this book 5 out of 5. I felt that the book elaborated on the title including emotions that felt real, and created events that were gripping. The main character was lovable and showed strength. She was easy to relate to and a role model in some circumstances.

I recommend this work to people who love detective books, crime thrillers, mystery, and artistic works that present a new dimension to the story.
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Never Broken.
  By Lori Duffy Foster. 

A well written Mystery/Suspense 
Thriller. My favorite kinda Books. 
Thank you Lori Duffy Foster. 
For this Early Read.  This one will keep you on the edge of your seat. 
Looking for that sweatshop. 
Crime stories. Are my go to books.

Coming April 12th 2022.

Lisa Jamison.
 Journalist finishing up in a shady area one were she should be keeping a better eye out around her surroundings, this downtown area isn't always the safest. 
Soon leaving finding she has a passenger. Not that she's expecting one. Things surrounding her new passenger go very wrong .Lisa  soon finds herself in a few tight spots.

Saul, 
Once he was a man who worked had a place of his own.
Then one day. Everything went Dark. 

Dorothy, 
Lisa's best friend. 
Has lost so much after the loss of her son, and husband. 
Dorothy runs a retreat for folks . A place to go and relax. 
Her place is a place most can just Relax. 

Thank you 
Lori Duffy Foster 🌹🌹
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Thank you NetGalley and Independent Book Publishers Association for the copy of Never Broken. The story was different from any book I have read, and at first I was intrigued and I enjoyed the POV of a journalist. The story was not easy to read and might be upsetting to more sensitive readers. 
I’m not sure when I started to lose interest. Maybe more about Saul would have kept my interest, because he was the best character in the book by far. The characters other than Saul and Dorothy  just seemed one dimensional. 
The book certainly picked up for the last 20% or so, which was pleasantly surprising. I thought that instead of hearing someone tell Lisa previous events, I wish we had been able to “see” them happen. And at one point near the end the book got unnecessarily preachy, and I didn’t enjoy that. It wasn’t that I disagreed, it just had no place in the book and seemed thrown in to show racial sensitivity. 
If you are looking for a good story this book might be for you.
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Never Broken, by Lori Duffy Foster, is a fast paced suspense that gives us a glimpse into human trafficking and slavery in the United States and the destruction that it causes.  The flow of the writing kept me hooked and the main characters were well fleshed out and interesting.  Even the ending wrapped the whole story up nicely, including all sorts of details that are often missing at the end of most novels.
Saul has no clue where he’s been being held or for how long.  All he knows is that he's been a slave, forced to work in absolutely inhumane conditions.  On the night he escapes he's lucky enough to hide in journalist Lisa Jamison's car. 
She's ready to help him especially after he mentions that he was enslaved with missing person: Chandra Bower.
It's been 7 years since Chandra disappeared while on her way to the store and her family has refused to give up hope.  Lisa has continued to follow any leads even after her editor ordered her to give up the search.  Now, Saul tells her that Chandra is being held captive by the same monsters that had held him.
Lisa is in but she must be extra careful with who she trusts.
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NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

Trigger warnings: slavery, human trafficking and sweatshops

This book will take you on an emotional and mental journey. I had not read the book prior to this one but intend to do so. This novel is a stand-alone, one sitting read. Expect shocking moments and heartfelt ones as well. An amazing story.
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Lisa Jamison takes no prisoners. The investigative reporter and protagonist of Lori Duffy Foster’s second novel seems to find the worst of humankind and will stop at nothing to bring them to justice.

This incredible novel begins with Lisa encountering a man so physically broken, she isn’t sure he will live. What he reveals to her is horrific and almost beyond belief: he’s was kidnapped held as a slave in an underground sweatshop run by white supremacists for over ten years. And, he’s not the only one. Lisa investigates and realizes his story is true. As she helps the man, Saul Jenkins, to heal, she not only puts her own life in danger but also that of her daughter and her best friend.

This novel is truly un-putdownable, with each chapter compelling you to read the next.
Beautifully written, dramatic, and exciting to the end.
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Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster is a mystery/suspense novel. It's the second book from the Lisa Jamison series.

In this novel, reporter Lisa Jamison puts herself in a risky situation once more. After finding a bloodied stranger in her car and listening to his story she had no other choice but to get involved. What was supposed to be a quiet investigation turned quickly into a cat and mouse chase. The closer she was getting many of her friends were getting hurt. By the end, her only hope was to survive like the previous time.

It's an incredible book. It began with a bit of a shocking scene and a very interesting revelation. The plot is captivating filled with so much suspense it had me holding my breath several times. The progress of the story is steady with lots of information. There are so many characters here that are all very likable. You need to pay attention all the time if you don't want to miss anything important. The criminal subject that the author touched here was slavery which after so many years is still
happening. There were a few scenes that were a bit sensitive and kind of gruesome. If you get triggered by abusive scenes be careful.

I was lucky enough to have read the first book as well so I can safely say that this series is from those that are getting better with each book. I loved this one and I will rate it with 5 stars.
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