Title: One Child Alive

Series: Rockwell and Decker

By:  Ellery Kane



Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


One, two, three. She counts the bodies dragged from the burning beach house, smoke rising from their cotton pajamas, and remembers a fourth; red hair, freckles, clinging to his mother’s legs, begging to watch the fireworks a while longer. “Where’s the little boy?” she whispers…

In the ashes of the Fox family’s seafront vacation home, Olivia Rockwell can barely hold back her tears as she wonders who in the close-knit town of Fog Harbor could destroy such a warm, loving family. Then she spots a little green toy soldier in the sand and follows a set of small footprints along the beach to an abandoned lifeguard hut. Inside, she finds the youngest Fox child, Thomas. The only survivor…

Holding his trembling body close, Olivia promises to keep him safe. She knows the agony of losing family at such a young age. But the second Thomas catches sight of Detective Will Decker’s sliver police badge over her shoulder, the little boy’s scream pierces the night. Could the family have been targeted by someone sworn to protect them? Is anyone safe if the police themselves are the primary suspect?

Unsure who she can trust, Olivia keeps hold of the tiny horseshoe charm she finds at the scene and follows the trail deep into the web of lies surrounding this seemingly perfect family. But just as a tip-off from a local lighthouse-keeper puts the killer within reach, tragedy strikes: little Thomas is snatched from his bed.

Up against a calculating monster who seems to know her every weakness, Olivia must dig deeper than ever before to find this innocent child. But when one twisted killer becomes two, can she stay alive long enough to save him? (Goodreads)


One Child Alive is the third book in the Rockwell and Decker series. I have been reading this series by Ellery Kane from the first book and cannot give enough praise for this series. As psychological thrillers go…I am finding this story (and the series) totally captivating. The evolution of the relationship between prison psychologist Olivia Rockwell and Detective Will Decker is a slow burn from book 1 through book 3. I am finding that quite satisfying. Additionally, the growth of other recurring characters in this series has continued to further enhance my interest. 

One Child Alive begins with Olivia watching the fourth of July fireworks with her sister Emily (in fairness – Olivia is trying to drag Emily to the car to go home before the fireworks display is over) when she notices smoke coming out of a sports utility vehicle on the side of the road. This can’t be good! What ensues is Olivia trying to rescue the lone occupant, who turns out to already be dead by a single gunshot to the head. Decker hears the call over his radio so quickly goes to the crime scene. From here, another call comes out and another crime has been committed – at the home of the deceased. So what we have is the Fox family (husband, wife and two of their kids) dead, while the youngest child (Thomas) has run away after seeing his family killed. When found, he is frightened of Will, leaving only Olivia to comfort him. One must ask (okay – I asked myself) why would Thomas be afraid of Will?

The tangled web that ensues to uncover the killer (or killers) of the deaths of the Fox family is very much a tangled mess. It is slow going to identify all the potential suspects, especially as Peter Fox was a prominent Santa Barbara defense attorney – who undoubtedly has ruffled some feathers in his time. Why two crime scenes, why kill the whole family, why?  Left with lots of questions and lots of suspects – Will and Olivia begin to unravel the web of lies and deceit as they get ever closer to the truth of what (and more importantly why) this has happened. During the process, there is still danger for Thomas. This certainly added to my emotional response throughout the reading of this story. 

As the story progresses, we see the previous resolve to remain plutonic friends between Olivia and Will slowly evaporate – all I can say is – about time! But in all honesty – I have enjoyed that they were cautious and considerate of their working relationship and the fact that they each have mega baggage still to work through. And – what has happened is again – a step but a small step – but acknowledging that something is there seemed huge. 

Additionally, the relationship between Olivia and her sister was strained, but eventually they were able to work things out (see what talking to each other does ☺). Unfortunately, their pursuit to find out the truth about their father’s death in prison does not advance much in this novel. Guess that leaves the door open for another book. 

I got many chuckles from JB (still calling Will “City Boy”) as well as concern when he has a significant medical event. You could really see the concern Will has for his partner, regardless of their continual bantering between them. I came to appreciate JB’s tenacity as the story went on – caring for his partner the same as Will had done for JB. Though I must admit – I will never think of Twinkies in the same way again.

Most importantly, I was not able to unravel the mystery until the end, which is satisfying when I read stories in this genre. If you enjoy crime thrillers with many interesting characters and plot twists, then you will enjoy One Child Alive by Ellery Kane.  I shall be waiting for the next installment of the Rockwell and Decker series (with fingers crossed that there will be another).