Hey Lee -
Thanks so much for reading the book and for the thorough review. You pretty much nailed my personal thoughts as well.
1) the perpetrator was a bit sensational. So often, as we know, the perpetrator is just so happens to know (and is often related to) the child. I decided to make this guy a bit more bizarre/extreme in the first book to get a larger audience interested in the series. Future books will be more common scenarios. Couldn't agree more w/ your take.
2) As for Chase, I tried to bring his story into this book more (better background and understanding of what he was going through) but it wasn't working. It was dragging the pace of the book down too much. I decided to start the next book with Chase as a character so a reader can see how this ordeal affected him. Joanna (Cal's ex) will be dealing with the children Cal has helped, which will hopefully be the mechanism for me to be able to explain what a child like this goes through after the abuse ends. While this might be a bad example, in 007 movies, Q has a scene in each to show off his gizmos. Each of my books will have a scene or two that checks in with these children (in Joanna's recovery program/center) as they navigate recovery. Hopefully this will allow me to do some educating about the long-lasting effects. That's the idea.
My next release will be 2 books. I'm going to try something odd by introducing two parallel books. The reader can choose which book 2 they want to read (or both if they wish). One book will keep Cal going on his current path - the other book will take Cal in a different direction. Readers will pick how they want the series to unfold. My goal is to show how a survivor can go in different directions as they manage their past (yes, as you probably figured out, Cal is a survivor, but that won't be exposed for a while).
Anyways, thanks so much for the feedback. Means a lot.