The women of the Outreach Committee all suffered at the hands of an abusive spouse, until each spouse suffered an “accident.” The abused women help arrange accidents for dangerous spouses and pass it on. Disaster looms when one staged accident goes awry, a thought-dead husband returns, and the police start sniffing around.
THE OUTREACH COMMITTEE solves the problem of domestic abuse with a simple concept: remove the abuser. The Committee is actually a small group of women within a more charitable group known as BWEF, the Battered Women’s Escape Foundation. Mora Rey founded the group after her close friend died after a severe beating from her spouse. Since that fateful day, Rey seeks out and recruits other battered women. The Outreach Committee will help remove the spouse by any means necessary, a “courtesy accident.” After the accident, the woman joins the group and helps the next woman. Rey and the women of BWEF find smooth sailing until one husband survives his accident, but awakens with no memory. In addition, a powerful banking executive is assigned to the BWEF’s board. His wife, also a battered woman, soon garners the attention of the Outreach Committee. While the amnesiac husband recovers, the banking executive suffers a fatal accident. An accident that the authorities realized may just be murder, leading the Outreach Committee into danger.
Author C.L. Woodhams created a tense and suspenseful thriller that delves into a moral quandary: is murder ever justified? Obviously, the women of the Committee believe killing the abuser is the only way to save not only the spouse, but also children. The situation is a difficult one with no easy answer. The fictionalized response THE OUTREACH COMMITTEE is a captivating one. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and out of their comfort zone. However, a dilemma arises when one of the Committee, Erin Craig, begins to feed on the energy of the kill. She even transitions from calling the events “courtesy accidents” to “courtesy killing.” Add on to that, her blood is left behind at one of the accident scenes; bring unwanted attention to the BWEF and the Outreach Committee. The story is tense but suffers from uneven pacing, which prevents it from shining as a taut suspense. Some overall issues like random character names for chapters, offset typography, and minor editing hiccups really hold back this dynamic novel.
Woodhams deftly merges drama with elements from police procedurals and legal thrillers to produce a dynamic, tense, and suspenseful read. Minor hiccups aside, the tension slowly ratchets up, then explodes in a thrilling conclusion.
THE OUTREACH COMMITTEE tackles a difficult subject with an elegant solution: murder the spouses of battered women.