Book Of The Day – The Volunteer

by Greg on August 9, 2013

Today’s Book of the Day is a Suspense/Thriller by Barbara Taylor Sissel. The Volunteer has a 4.2 star rating and is only $3.99!

“This story kept my attention the entire time. Very touching and heartfelt. I even cried near the end…literally, big tears. Can’t wait to read more of Barbara Taylor Sissel’s books!” Lisa D. – Amazon Reviewer

The Volunteer
by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Rating: 4.2 Stars
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Price: $3.99


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In the fall of 1999, psychologist Sophia Beckman is compelled by the court to give testimony on behalf of a death row inmate that results in his sentence being overturned. Haunted by secrets from her past, she avoids the media spotlight as much as possible, but soon, other prisoners’ families come seeking her assistance. One family in particular, the wife, children, and brother of Jarrett Capshaw, is especially insistent. Forty-one days ago Jarrett’s request to die was granted by the State of Texas, and he became a dead man walking, a man they call a volunteer.

Jarrett’s crimes were unusual, involving the theft of precious Mayan antiquities. Murder was never part of the plan, but murder is what happened. He pulled the trigger, and as little as he feels prepared for it, as much as he struggles with matters of the soul, he’s ready to die. It is the only way his family and the families of his victims will be free to move on. While Jarrett labors to find the words to say good-bye to those he has loved, Sophia finds herself drawn into a relationship with his wife and oldest son. It is Jarrett’s family she can’t resist and there will be a price to pay. But not even Sophia could have foreseen the outcome when the brutal truth is exposed, the unalloyed facts that, incredibly, will deliver Jarrett’s fate straight into her hands.

The Volunteer is a story about families, how they are made, and how in one single, horrifying instant, they can be broken. It is a story about mothers and the lies they tell to protect their children, to keep them from being hurt. But what happens when the truth comes out anyway and nothing and no one is spared? Sometimes the truth has the power to break your heart, and in Sophia’s case it will also endanger her freedom and threaten everything she has ever believed about her life.

Here’s what the reviewers have to say:

Another richly told story from a wonderfully talented author. Barbara Taylor Sissel weaves beautiful novels from fine, unexpected threads. Characters are complex and thoughtful. Places are fragrant and real. Conversations ring true and meaningful. Plots unfold with startling but graceful turns. This is a terrific author I want everyone to discover.


I can say there are heart-wrenching scenes that are portrayed without pulling punches, yet Sissel never loses the feel of sensitivity. The Volunteer is told in a language that is rich and flows beautifully, and it is a story that definitely gives pause for thought. 5 Stars.


This was an excellent book. The characters felt so real and the dialog did as well. I really look forward to reading any other books by this author.


I could not put this book down. The characters were so richly developed that reading was like being there with them, going through their experiences and emotions. It brought tears to my eyes. I would highly recommend this book.


I was barely able to put it down. The author is extremely insightful about the way guilt, fear and regret can ruin lives; and about how forgiveness of others and self can redeem torn lives. The lushness of this book would have had six stars from me if it were only possible. I’ll definitely read this one again and recommend it to others.

Get The Volunteer here: The Volunteer

About The Author

Barbara Taylor Sissel was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and grew up in a number of different cities and states mostly in the Midwest. She attended college in Texas and worked an eclectic collection of jobs from department store fashion model and flight attendant, to chair side dental assistant, admin assistant/personnel manager and a few others in between. She once lived with her family in Kentucky, in the Appalachian foothills, on the grounds of a first offender prison facility, where she interacted with the inmates and their families and was privileged to hear their stories that were difficult and heartrending and yet very often hopeful. It was several years later, after leaving there, when she was able to pursue a lifelong dream of writing, and not surprisingly, each one of her novels is a reflection of her prison experience. The focus of the stories is not crime per se, but how quickly and irrevocably lives can be altered in one single, shattering moment of misjudgment and how difficult it then is for family members to find their way back onto solid ground.

Her novels include:

EVIDENCE OF LIFE, 2013 (Harlequin/MIRA)

A second, as-yet untitled novel from Harlequin/MIRA will publish in 2014.

An avid gardener and reader, as well as the mother of two grown sons, Barbara currently resides near Houston, Texas.

Thank you for considering today’s Book Of The Day – Barbara Taylor Sissel and ENT appreciate it.


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