By: Roberta Gately
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 2012
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: November 1, 2012
Roberta Gately pulls the curtain back in her latest novel, The Bracelet, and enlightens the reader to the hideous and inhumane business of human trafficking. Thirty-year-old nurse Abby Monroe sets out on a journey and life’s experience she may never have had, had she not lost her nursing job in Boston or been dumped by her boyfriend, Eric. Desperate circumstances call for drastic changes and suffice it to say, Abby goes to extremes when she responds to an employment ad for an overseas assignment. She is on her way to a UN clinic in Peshawar, Pakistan where she will be evaluating an immunization program—not exactly the most desirable place for a fair complexioned, honey blond, American beauty.
On the last leg of her journey to Pakistan, Abby sets out from her Geneva hotel, pre-dawn to take one final run. What she didn’t know was it would end in murder. Ms. Gately is specific in building a scene of peace and tranquility in the early morning hours only to rip the rug out from under the reader’s feet. In the next scene, screams are heard, a body is cascading downward and the mind’s eye zooms in on the first clue: a brilliant and ornately bejeweled, gold cuff—The Bracelet. Ms. Gately notes Abby’s frustration when she has her share specific details about the tragedy with a call to her best friend, Emily in Boston and a visit to the Police in Geneva. However, not only was a body never produced; but the notion of the mysterious bracelet was questionable as well.
Once in Peshawar, Abby cannot shake the fact that nobody believes her account of the murder she is certain she witnessed. However, Gately redirects the reader for the time being and moves forward on another course. She introduces a new character, Najeela Siddiqui, administrative assistant at the UN Staff House. Gately successfully achieves the element of the diversities between Western-cultured, Abby and Pakistani Najeela. In spite of their cultural differences, she does a tremendous job in establishing an instant connection between the two women. It is when New York Times reporter Nick Sinclair is introduced that another facet to the plot is uncovered. On the surface, Sinclair is on assignment to do a cover story about Abby and her UN services in Peshawar. However, there is a dirty, tightly-kept secret that festers globally and Sinclair’s mission is to expose it. With his Pulitzer winning writing abilities and a fair amount of adventure, it’s time to blow the top off the dirty secret once and for all.
Things never are what they appear to be on their surface and Gately is the master of spinning just that. She has managed to write an intriguing work of fiction and at the same time a compelling story that perhaps isn’t all too far from reality in many respects. She is compassionate in her address toward the many innocent unknowns throughout our world who have fallen prey to the inhumane crime of human trafficking that generates billions of untracked dollars on the black market. However, she does not lecture. Gately’s thought-provoking insights in The Bracelet deliver a clear message of her compassionate view of the subject matter. Gatley has hands-down passed the age-old litmus test of an accomplished writer in that, a writer writes what a writer knows - without question, Ms. Gately knew her topic and therefore, she wrote a fantastic book.