Always Watching — "The Rayne Tour" Series
This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in "The Rayne Tour" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Sixteen-year-old Shaley O'Connor's life is filled with bodyguards, paparazzi and excitement. Her mother is a famous singer, and Rayne, her popular rock band, is named after her. Shaley's world changes when she discovers Tom Hutchens, the band's stylist, murdered in a dressing room. After the murder, an anonymous sender leaves her a white rose, symbolic of the love once shared between Shaley's mother and the father she never knew.
Len Torret, a photographer willing to do anything for a story, slips a picture of Shaley in Shaley's purse. On the back of it is written the message “Always Watching.” Shaley becomes convinced that Len is stalking her, especially after he pulls the hotel fire alarm and stages an evacuation in order to capture Shaley on camera. Though Len is arrested, soon he is released. The band then travels to Denver, and in the hours before the band's next concert, the case takes a dangerous turn.
When one of Shaley's bodyguards, Bruce, is killed in the hallway outside of her hotel room, she sees the other bodyguard, Wendell, with blood on his hands, and she tries to escape from him. Jerry Brand, one of the band's bus drivers, rescues her by pulling her into a storage closet. Just when Shaley thinks she's safe, Jerry pulls a gun on her and admits to the murders of Tom and Bruce. Sent by an unnamed source and motivated by jealousy, he eliminated anyone who got too close to Shaley. Wendell, who it turns out had tried to save Bruce's life, arrives with the police. In the struggle that ensues, Jerry is shot, and with his dying breath, he tells Shaley he was, in fact, sent by her father.
Shaley and Rayne are not believers. However, Shaley has a clear sense that she is missing something valuable in her life. Carly Sanders, one of the band's back-up singers, is a Christian. She is a solid lifeline in the midst of the tragedy, offering prayer and comfort when Shaley is on the brink of despair. Carly speaks openly with Shaley about her Father in heaven and assures Shaley that she is not alone in her grief. Shaley asks why bad things happen, and Carly admits that she doesn't know everything. Instead, she shares her own story of redemption and encourages Shaley to rely on God for strength. Although Shaley does not immediately accept God's salvation, Carly's gentle and persistent faith stirs her to contemplate the truth behind the claims of Christianity.
Other Belief Systems
Rayne and the rest of the band look to fame and publicity as their source of happiness.
The book avoids profanity, although the derogatory phrases stupid child and shut up appear once. Scum is used to describe the paparazzi.
There are some frightening images in the novel. Shaley discovers Tom's bloody body and sees that his face has been horribly disfigured by the gunshot. The paparazzi are somewhat violent at times, especially during a scene in the mall when they demonstrate what they'll do to get a good photograph. In Denver, Shaley is recuperating in a hotel room when Bruce is shot. She discovers him with a gaping wound in his chest and kneels beside him as he dies. Later, she sees Wendell, his hands covered in Bruce's blood. She is taken hostage by Jerry, who wields a gun and threatens to kill her. He is shot by police in a short, yet violent rescue.
Shaley's mother, Rayne, was pregnant with Shaley at age 17.
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Body art: Some band members have tattoos or piercings.
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