Claire and Logan Keller had made an important decision; they would adopt a child. Logan was looking forward to proceeding with a graduated step-by-step process that would include investigations by social service agencies and complex, time-consuming legal proceedings. Claire was looking to get things done as quickly as possible. When Sylvia Tran from Children’s World Adoption Services contacted the couple with adoption candidate Samantha, Claire was thrilled. She was amazed that the procedure could go so fast. Samantha would move into the Keller home within three days. Logan was instantly suspicious. Things couldn’t possibly move this quickly through legal means. Logan wanted to investigate the agency and Tran. In an emotional heart vs. brain confrontation, the more emotional Claire won, and Logan gave in, per usual. Social services visited the Keller family home in the morning (to plant surveillance equipment), a lawyer appeared the same day, and Samantha moved into her new room at the Keller home within the three-day period desired by Tran. The Adoption by Greg Meritt tells the story of strange adoption procedures that are not as they appeared to be.
This was a novel recommended to me on an Amazon review site. It is for sale on as a Kindle download for USD 3.49 or it can be read free with a KU subscription.
Samantha is not only the simple six-year-old child she appears to be. She seems on occasion to be troubled and on other occasions to be a normal, happy child quite pleased with and affectionate to the Keller family. She doesn’t talk about her background, doesn’t want to, and can’t recall things even if she tries. She has a favorite doll, Thelma, with which she confides many things, perhaps secrets. She is developing an affection for Axle, the Keller family dog. Samantha seems normal and on the way to adjusting well to her new family home.
Thelma is also the name of a Keller family friend. Living a few houses away, the elderly lady had lost her husband to a stroke a few years before. After her husband reappeared to her, after his death, Thelma developed a belief and trust in all things psychic. She relied on her Ouija board. The board told her to warn Claire about a child named Samantha. Thelma didn’t do this because she knew Logan considered her crazy and was annoyed as he saw, with sadness, the descent into mental illness of a family friend. Claire was more tolerant, but Thelma decided she could wait to raise her suspicions until relations with Logan were better. After the adoption, Logan decided Thelma would make a good grandmother figure for Samantha. He reached out to Thelma and Thelma felt comfortable in telling Logan her suspicions. After giving her warning, she began to bleed profusely and died in front of Logan.
This was the first death involving Claire and Logan but not the first one surrounding the existence of Samantha. While still confined in an underground laboratory and testing center, Samantha was aware of one of the other doctors who spontaneously began to bleed profusely before dying. Samantha somehow knew Scott, a boy two years older than her, had caused the doctor’s death and now the death of Thelma as well. During the attack on Thelma, Samantha had gone into a kind of trance and began screaming for Scott and Doctor Carlson to stop. During the attack, she began to bleed from the nose. After the attack, she remembered nothing. Claire and Logan looked for help from a mental health professional who would attempt mental regression techniques to discover what in her background caused the spells. During the session in which the professional used hypnosis, the professional was assassinated, and Samantha was shot. Claire and Logan, waiting outside the session, rescued their wounded daughter and attempted to flee the doctor’s offices. Assassins continued shooting at the fleeing family and Claire was seriously wounded. Not a problem. Samantha first healed her own wounds and then healed the wounds of Claire.
And this is where the novel picks up the pace. The writing was always interesting up to this point, but it was scene setting for setting up the multiple mysteries that from here proceeded rapidly on all fronts. There is the evil Scott that Samantha was aware of in her spells of unconsciousness. He was controlled by the evil doctor Carlson. Or maybe Scott controlled the doctor. Dr. Carlson was not “The” Boss. Ben worked for a rich businessman who funded Carlson’s experiments which had resulted in the creation of Scott and Samantha. Medical technology had given Scott and Samantha powers that no one understood. The two children didn’t understand what powers they had, although Scott thought he was figuring it out as it related to him. Dr. Carlson was interested in harassing, controlling, and using the powers to control political power centers worldwide.
This is a classic evil vs. good story set in the context of medical technology subverted by evil psychotics. How can “normal” people compete and survive? The answer is addressed in this interesting “psychological” thriller. I gave the novel only four Amazon stars because, although interesting to read, there is not much of a psychological element. The developing minds and capabilities of Samantha and Scott are psychologically interesting. Development of other characters relates to their motivations to do good or to do evil for monetary or power gains. Those struggles are more routine and have little to do with a psychological element to the story