Piercing the Darkness
by J. J. Nichols

"That part makes me a hero: doing the right thing for the right reasons despite the consequences."

Detective David Silver’s line of work isn’t pretty. He focuses on missing children cases, a result of the impact a kidnapping in a neighboring community had on him as a child. While in the middle of one such case, Silver uncovers a network of child sex-trafficking resorts, where high-profile and wealthy people purchase young boys for exploits. When Silver is told to stop investigating by federal agencies, he takes it upon himself to rescue the abductees from one particular island called Ganymede Resort. His one-man rescue mission, however, might prove hard to pull off, as certain people in power don’t want to see him succeed.

Alternating between the viewpoint of Detective Silver and one of the abducted boys, this novel is a thrilling, twisted read with a satisfying conclusion. Partially based on the author’s experience in law enforcement, the novel provides a realistic representation of the horrors of child sex-trafficking without getting too graphic. There is strong detail, characterization, and emotional portrayal throughout the story, with the most interesting character being Joey, a kidnapped boy who ends up at the Ganymede Resort. As Joey practically grows up on the island, he struggles with the many complicated and conflicting feelings he has about surviving such a place and the actions he takes. Readers will empathize with Joey for the difficult position he’s in.

The author succeeds in writing a gripping, realistic story. Politics are at play, but not in a cheesy, world-conspiracy way. While Detective Silver’s quest to rescue the abducted boys leans towards a vigilante-style, it’s still grounded in police work and detective work. An additional nice touch is the list of resources at the end of the book which can help readers who feel moved to support organizations working to end child-trafficking.

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