KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
A Mex Anderson Novel
BY PEG BRANTLEY
Not Thailand. Or the Philippines. Or Russia.
Rich or poor, black or white, girls disappear across this country every day, pulled into the nightmarish world of prostitution and drugs.
Mex Anderson is back, tasked with finding three missing girls before it’s too late. Three girls. Three girls who could live in your town, your neighborhood, or in your own home.
Jayla Imani Thomas is fifteen. A smart kid from a poor part of town who has to fend for herself. Jayla is headed for college and a better life than her mother had.
Alexis Emily Halston is seventeen. Money provides everything she wants or needs except functional parents. Alexis has the world by the tail and she knows it.
Olivia Emma Campbell is twelve. She’s a middle child who dreams of being a veterinarian when she grows up. But right now “Livvy” just wants someone to notice her, maybe even to love her.
Caught up in a cruel system fueled by lust and money, all three young women must find the courage within themselves to survive. And Mex must come to terms with his own loss and face his demons head on—or he might not have the strength to save them.
When Research is Devastating
Since I write what I feel and not necessarily what I know, I’ve done a lot of research for each of my books: from working dogs to organ donation to depression to Santeria. I’ve investigated locations from Colorado to Louisiana to Monterrey, Mexico. Most of the research was intriguing (though I have to admit bringing Santeria voluntarily into my knowledge base scared me).
I found a vacant building right next to Mile High stadium (which gets renamed so often it’s good the old guard never stopped referring to its original moniker) where the Denver Broncos and their fans gather on many Sunday afternoons. I called a restaurant in Slidell, Louisiana to find out whether they had booths. They didn’t. Details. They can make or break a story.
But the research for my new release, TRAFFICKED, about did me in. The human suffering I found in the all-too prolific material had details I’ll never be able to un-learn. Details that weren’t simply to flesh out a scene. Some of them I used in my story in a fictional way, some of them I quoted to open chapters (I think I did that so it wouldn’t just be me who had to face the reality). And some of them I let sink into some deep recess of my mind.
What I came away from the research on human trafficking is this: I write fiction. I make the story up and at the end of the day I can move on to my next story. But the men and women who live this reality, who fight it and who reach out to the victims every day, don’t leave the horror behind. Their next story is the next victim. The next perpetrator. And the sad truth is that there’s always a next.
I think maybe that’s why it’s been so hard for me to let go of this story and move on to my next one. I’m feeling a little haunted.
TRAFFICKED will take you into a fictional world from a base of reality. It will open your eyes, provide real data, and if I did my job right, introduce you to characters you’ll care as much about as I do.
If you’re inclined to move forward in any way, don’t ignore the resources listed at the end of the story. One of my fantasies is that this little book might find its way into the hands of a young girl who’s alone and afraid, and she’ll see the list of places to help. You can be part of those if you choose.
A Colorado native, Peg Brantley and her husband make their home southeast of Denver, sharing it over time with the occasional pair of mallard ducks and their babies, snapping turtles, peacocks, assorted other birds, foxes, a deer named Cedric, and a bichon named McKenzie.
With the intent to bring credibility to her stories, Peg is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, participated in the Writers’ Police Academy, has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry Permit, studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her books.
Links to Peg’s website, blog, books, etc.
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Thanks, Peg, for sharing your book with us!
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