That's just one of the best perks you'll receive when engaging with faith-based, speculative fiction.
A new-ish writer on the scene in those genres is Laura Aranda. Her book, Pushing Back the Darkness walks the fine line along the edge of reality. It presents a knowledgeable perspective of the world of human trafficking and sex trade industries. This novel, about these demonically influenced, world-wide practices makes for a soul-stirring read, as well as providing additional platform space for Laura to speak up and be a a voice for the captives and those freed, yet damaged, by these horrible, insanely addictive subcultures that have stealthily set up businesses and developed well-established clientele, often in our own back yards.
I wanna be careful to not toss out any spoilers in hopes you’ll get this book and experience the story on your own. It provides a look into a world many of us may have only heard or read about via mainstream news media, but in truth, it goes on around multitudes of us every moment of every day. These practices are akin to invisible monsters devouring people. Many of them, the world didn’t know or didn’t want to, but others are sometimes close kin or close friends.
Recently, a local friend related a story to me of such an occurrence within my own area, that didn’t go as planned. A young girl was rescued mere moments before being taken away and delivered as merchandise to buyers in the sex-trade industry. A man on duty at a restaurant was paying attention and noticed when the girl’s actions seemed off. He became alarmed but was careful to approach her in the short time she was unsupervised and asked if she needed help. She did, and he immediately escorted her away from danger, and her captors. She was hidden safely in her rescuer’s office. The police were notified and arrived to take her into their care.
Knowledge is power
Being aware of our surroundings, especially in public, might be the very thing that helps save someone’s life.
This book has an amazing, eye-opening plot to journey through while providing some informational tools that are applicable in real-life situations.
In keeping the spoilers at bay, I can tell you at least this much about the novel...
Dreams are often a precursor to same or similar, real-life incidents. Sometimes they deliver good tidings. Sometimes they’re a warning. Visions work in much the same way, only we’re awake when we have them.
Morgan Ann is a teen with not as many problems as she thinks she has. A rebel, she decides to run away and escape to freedom. Freedom comes with price tags she decides to ignore, instead, giving in to the temptation of an illusion. The wake-up call is deadly and she finds herself in a terrible and terrifying situation that surpasses worst imaginings she’s ever had on her What could go wrong? list.
It started with a harmless little add on a website, specifically targeting girls who wanted to make money. That, and a boyfriend with little love for her and big love for getting high, was all it took to lure her from the safety of a poor, but caring home in exchange for restraints, torture and the attempt to break her down and reinvent her into what her abusers desired her to be--human property willing to indulge their every whim.
Claire is a lawyer, gifted with professional prowess and challenged with the side-effects of supernatural dreams with a message. Lately, those dreams have developed a sinister edge, continuing to trouble her spirit long after they end. She’s been encouraged to pray about the night terrors, to seek God for help and insight on their meaning but Claire won’t do it. She’s got a dino-sized bone to pick with God already. If He’s the one behind the disturbing dreams, it’s just another reason to crank up the chill on the cold shoulder she’s been giving Him for years.
Cole Peretti is a cop, and Claire’s sig-O (Angelia-speak for significant other). Cole has his own dragons to fight, but he manages to find the time and means to help Claire with her challenges as well. I love this character not just ‘cause he’s cool but because his last name is Peretti.
And now we’re down to Daria Rainwater. All of the characters in this story are well written, but Daria? She’s my five-star-fav! Daria’s character seems to be a melding of some of the most amazing spiritual warrior-women God has graciously seasoned my life with. She’s a holy, warrior-princess disguised as a tiny, old lady with a cane.
Daria’s the sort of woman people come to when things are really bad and out of control. When they feel abandoned, hurt, overwhelmed, powerless, sick to death...
Daria has a walk with God that is somethin’ to behold. She’s deeply and divinely connected to the Way Maker. Her life is a living testament of His power, love and grace. When Daria prays, God shows up and the miraculous manifests. She’s the Creole version of Corrie ten Boom.
This story covers abduction, deceit, and pain. It also provides answers, healing, hope and strength. It’s set in Houston, Texas. Houston is a city dear to me for a number of reasons, and since reading this book, the list has grown.
Although it’s fiction, it’s a reflection of a real-life problem all over the world. Laura Aranda presents the turmoil and suffering of those involved while incorporating real-life solutions that can, and are, making the difference between life, death, freedom and recovery for victims of human trafficking.
A couple brief messages from Laura
Please invest in this book. It’s inexpensive and you’ll be abundantly blessed by the investment. Get schooled. Take notes if you need them. Knowledge is power. You can be and make a difference in Pushing Back the Darkness.
You can further connect with Laura’s work via the following links...
☙ Amazon Author’s page
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