Book rating as per the author: PG-13 (questionable content for children under 13)
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Independent Author Index (IAI): What is your book about?
Loree Lough (LL): On a steamy spring morning, Dusty Parker–part time pastor, part time search and rescue team leader, and full time administrator of a home for troubled boys–joins the search for a missing teenage girl. He partners with volunteer and inner city teacher Grace Sinclair, and what they find bonds them in ways neither could have expected.
As they begin to build a life together, a visitor from the past causes Dusty and Grace to open their hearts still further. But a threat looms over their seemingly perfect world and, in one terrifying night…
IAI: How did you pick the topic for A Man of Honor?
LL: The First Responders series (A Man of Honor is book #3) was written to honor the brave men and women who consciously walked into danger on 9/11 to find and rescue strangers, buried in the debris at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania farm field.
IAI: How is A Man of Honor different from other books that cover the same or similar information?
LL: All three books feature characters deeply impacted by 9/11 in stories that pick up ten years after the tragic event, and focus on the lasting physical, emotional, and spiritual impacts their experiences caused.
IAI: What do you like most about writing this book?
LL: Every one of the 200+ first responders (and/or family members) interviewed for this series asked me NOT to tie up the endings “with a pretty red bow.” I managed to highlight the haunting after-effects of that history-changing day and keep my promise to them.
An excerpt of A Man of Honor:
A Man of Honor by Loree Lough
A few minutes into the search, a soft voice said “Mind if I follow you?”
Dusty took one look at her–young and wide-eyed–and wondered why he always got stuck with the newbies. “Does Jones have your contact info?”
At least her to-the-point answer gave him hope she wouldn’t hammer him with inane chatter. “Move slowly, and stay a yard behind me.” So I can keep an eye on you, he thought. “If you see anything, point it out, and DO NOT touch it.”
There was something in her trembly tone, in her big, worried eyes that told him she had a link to the missing girl. He started to ask about the connection when the toe of his boot hit something. One hand up to stop her, he took an knee and parted the weeds…
…and revealed a glittery high heeled shoe. Six inches to its left, he saw the mate, and a few yards ahead of that, the once-pretty young woman who had worn them to her prom.
Rising slowly, he radioed his location as she whispered “Oh, God. Oh, no….”
The Operations Leader’s voice crackled through the radio. “Roger that, Parker. Keep a clean scene. I’ll point the cops your way.”
Dusty reholstered the handset, then inspected his partner’s face. “You okay?”
She swallowed. Hard enough that he heard it. “I’m fine.”
But she wasn’t, as evidenced by her wavering voice and ashen complexion. One hand gripping each of her forearms, he held her steady as she sunk slowly to her knees and sat back on her heels.
Five seconds of brutal silence ticked by before she croaked out, “Her name is Missy. Melissa Logan.” Eyes closed, she lifted her face to the grey clouds overhead. “She’s one of my students. English. And Art History.”
Jones and half a dozen search and rescue team members jogged up. The OR groaned as he got an eyeful of the teenager’s broken, bloody remains.