Archive | December 2014

Joseph Lewis’s “Stolen Lives”

51EhiLH69vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]Joseph Lewis‘s thriller Stolen Lives explores the subject of human trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation of young boys.

Fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern, ripped from his home two years ago, has been held captive in a hideaway together with eleven other victims his age or younger. Now Stephen Bailey and his friend Michael Erickson are snatched from the street on their way home and brought to the same dreadful lair to share the fate of its inhabitants. Every boy that ends up in this unlawful prison has been carefully “selected” by his predators on the basis of his good looks and athleticism and then watched until the right moment to be abducted. Every boy vanishes without a trace. Every boy is robbed of his virtue, innocence, dignity, and health at the hands of the ruthless perverts subjecting him to unspeakable sexual, physical, and psychological abuse. Every boy is disposable, as soon as he gets ill or when he grows past his “desirable” age; then he receives two bullets in his head, execution style, and is dumped in some faraway location never to be found. None of the boys has any hope of survival.

When George Tokay, a Navajo teen living in Arizona, accidentally witnesses one of the executions and reports it to the authorities, the FBI finally has hope of cracking the case. Agents Pete Kelliher and Summer Storm, who have been trying to track down the predators for the past two years, can finally break into the criminal ring, operating in several states, and rescue the boys.

But now they have to protect George too, who has also become a prey. As the manhunt for the criminals escalates, the FBI agents realize that the perpetrators are two steps ahead of them, which points to a possible mole within their ranks. Who can you trust when everyone is under suspicion? Pete Kelliher has to keep the information privy to only a very close circle. With every passing hour the chances of finding the boys slip away, and the stakes go higher.

Stolen Lives is a fast-paced, adrenaline-laced story that accelerates your heartbeat and keeps your eyes glued to the page from start to finish. One of the most important tasks that every author has to accomplish is to create characters that the reader will care enough about to keep reading. Joseph Lewis has accomplished this task. We care deeply about the abducted boys during their ordeal in captivity and the potential victims. We admire and respect the FBI agents risking their lives in their hunt of the criminals. We want nothing else but for them to find and rescue the boys and then punish their tormentors.

Rape, especially the rape of minors, is a tough subject to write about. Joseph Lewis does it masterfully. He avoids explicit description, yet we get a vivid picture of the horror that the victims go through. That takes talent.

Stolen Lives is fiction, but it reads like true-crime nonfiction, thanks to the author’s extensive research of the subject and his experience as a professional counselor of abused children. The staggering statistics on the number of vanished and murdered children that Lewis skillfully inserts into the narration give the novel a feeling of case study.

Stolen Lives reads as a stand-alone novel, but it is the first book in the trilogy. There is a prequel to it too, also published this year, titled Taking Lives, which introduces the main characters and depicts events transpiring two years earlier.

Strongly recommend.

Nadezhda Seiler’s “Without Thinking Twice”

ResizeImageHandler[10]Today I devote this post to my own novel, Without Thinking Twice. It’s the second anniversary of its publication and, even if it’s not a bestseller, I think it deserves acknowledgement, just like all the other novels that I review in my blog. Because I put my heart and soul into this book is a good enough reason for me to celebrate this anniversary, don’t you think? 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Russian brides, Lara and Yulia, are navigating their new lives in the United States. After the initial excitement that surrounds their marriages to their American husbands suddenly wears off, the two women develop a friendship that they both hope can help them survive the clash of personalities, cultures, and expectations that now overshadow their everyday lives.

Lara, a practical woman who hooked up with her husband, Sam, on the Internet, is fairly content with her life in America—until she realizes she needs more from her marriage and life than financial stability. Yulia, a closet poet and a believer in idealistic romance, fell in love at first sight with Bill in Moscow. Unfortunately, unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, Yulia falls prey to an idealized image of her philandering husband who secretly yearns for his bachelorhood. As both women face drastic changes in their destinies, they soon realize that their worries about speaking flawless English are the least of their problems.

In this contemporary romance, two Russian women on a journey to what they once thought would be a fairy tale now must wonder if they will ever attain a happy ending.

Although Without Thinking Twice is not autobiographical, I used some of my personal experiences and observations in it. The novel challenges familiar stereotypes, gender and culture based, telling a story from the point of view of both Russian and American characters, being narrated by four people, two women and two men, whose voices, stories, views and goals distinctly differ from one another.

I was quite happy when Without Thinking Twice was chosen to be included in the Abbott Press 2013 Honorary Catalog.

The novel can be purchased on Abbott Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The e-book version is available for download for most e-readers, including, but not limited, to Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony.

Writers on Writing

What a fun little video! Sarah Negovetich, the author of newly-released Rite of Rejection, demonstrates how to write a novel in 90 seconds.

What?! 90 seconds?! Just 90?!

Well, yeah. It’s doable. Sarah did it 🙂 and Rite of Rejection is a fine novel (read my review on this blog or on amazon.com), and now she shows us all the steps.

Looks sooooo eeeeeasy! I’ve never tried to pin flashcards on a board, but I’ll try it with my next novel.

Thanks, Sarah! 🙂