Monday, March 23, 2015

Straight Reading from the Library: Return to Sender by Mindy Halleck

This is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mindy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. Additionally, Goddess Fish Productions will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.


1955 ~ Father Theo Riley never wanted to be a priest, nor a killer. The former boxing champion and Korean War veteran gave up more than a career when he went into the Army. He lost the only thing he ever wanted: his love, Andréa Bouvre. Friends thought Theo entered the priesthood to mend his broken heart or atone for the massacred orphans he couldn’t save in Korea. However, the truth is much darker and more damning, tied to a blood debt and family secret that has haunted Theo since he was a boy. He drinks to forget he ever had a life of his own—waits for death, prays for mercy, and hopes for a miracle. He gets all three when a child goes missing, another shows up on his doorstep, and the love of his life drives back into his world; the seaside hamlet of Manzanita Oregon. Theo’s dream reunion with Andréa becomes a nightmare when a serial killer who considers himself a holy man targets the town and everyone Theo loves. Drinking days decidedly behind him, Theo and some old warriors set out to send evil back to hell and a few good souls to heaven in RETURN TO SENDER.


Mindy Halleck shares a suspenseful look at a small town and a family in the 1950s who has seen more than its share of death and suffering. It is told, in first person, from multiple characters viewpoints, but the author clearly labels each change, which helps keeps any confusion at bay. There are also several divergents in time as the characters look back at times earlier- these are also labeled before each segment.

It's more suspense than mystery as there is no wondering who the "bad guy" is...he's actually one of the point of view characters. However, the suspense as the final climax of the book draws near had this read eagerly turning pages. I could so see this as an edge-of-the-seat kind of movie. I love historical suspense movies and this one would make an excellent one!

The characters are not perfect. They are all flawed, all real, and you really pull for them to overcome the issues they have and the fears that stop them from pursuing their happiness. Their backstory is clearly drawn and you see how they become the people they are today--and the story also shows us as readers how decisions we make carry long-lasting implications for our lives.

Thanks for a good read! I'm glad to have found a new author at the beginning of her career and I look forward with interest to her next offering. 4 stars.


It rained hard the night we evacuated the children from their orphanage, harder than I’d seen, even on the Oregon Coast. The smell of wet dirt, trees, and napalm. That’s the smell I remembered most, the chemical and petroleum of burning napalm. We scrambled with the kids up Korea’s dominating T’aebaek Mountain—the mountain was nearly the same height as Neahkahnie but had limestone caves tunneled deep within. Massive stalagmites hung heavy throughout the corridors. Ancient bamboo-roped bridges built across chasms linked the vast rooms of the caves to one another. It was otherworldly. But the surviving nun knew the place, the Karst Caves, and said we’d be safe. Water spouted from innumerable cracks and seeps; the sound of rain and falling water was everywhere.

We clawed our way up the hills and out of the valley of death. The CCF had entered the war that week and were as ubiquitous as the rain. The NK were ruthless and bloodthirsty and wanted those kids—and now us—dead. The kids and dedicated nun were too vulnerable for us to abandon for slaughter, so we, my buddy Lieutenant Peters and me, abandoned our orders instead.


Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest author, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story, The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer's Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel Return to Sender. Halleck blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community. In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily married, globe-trotting beachcomber, antiquer, gardener, proud grandma, and three-time cancer survivor.
  Mindy’s AMAZON page: ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1421806103&sr=8-1
Twitter @Mindyhalleck
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I like the intriguing cover the most!

  2. I loved the excerpt. I loved the blurb. I think I will love this story,

  3. Thank you MomJane for your feedback. Please do read and enjoy Return To Sender. Cheers, Mindy Halleck

  4. Thanks, Straight From The Library, I appreciate your review and feedback on my debut novel, Return To Sender. I'm SO happy you could see it as a movie, as I could while writing it. I get that from a lot of readers. Now if i could just hear that from Hollywood. Ha! Thanks for hosting. Cheers, Mindy

  5. Great excerpt sounds like a great read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  6. Very good excerpt, the terrible weather conditions, the chase by the NK and their last stand situation makes me quite anxious for them.

    1. Thanks Jess1, and yes, it was a dangerous situation in Korea, trying to help those orphans. Sad history there. be well, Mindy.

  7. Last day of the tour and I have to tell you how much I've enjoyed following you, learning about you and your books. Hope to see you on tour again in the future.

    1. Thanks for following Karen, I wish you much happy reading. Cheers, Mindy