Douglas, AZ (PressExposure) April 18, 2007 -- Two issues continue to dominate the American domestic social/cultural agenda, and thanks to the unthinking words of Don Imus and another border trip by President Bush, both are once again on the front pages. Race in America and the struggle over border security are both issues with no easy answers, about which plenty of sound and fury are spent but with little understanding demonstrated.
In June, Jove Books, a division of Penguin/Putnam, will publish a novel that examines both issues in the context of a suspenseful race against time. Major plot points of Jeffrey J. Mariotteâs supernatural thriller MISSING WHITE GIRL include victim Lulu Lavenderâs involvement with a border crossersâ rights group, and the possibility that a border vigilante group is connected to her disappearance. Border issues are examined from the points of view of the vigilantes, the social justice crusaders, and Mexican border crossers themselves. No other recent fiction has addressed the issue so directly, but for the author, who lives within a dozen miles of the Mexican border in Arizona, itâs a matter of close, personal concern.
In the thriller, Lulu Lavender (the mixed-race daughter of a black father and Latino mother) has been stolen from her home. Her captor leaves behind only the bodies of her family, brutally murdered in the night. With the resources and attention of the sheriffâs department consumed by the high profile, media-magnet case of a missing white teenager from a wealthy family, it falls to sheriffâs lieutenant Buck Shelton and the small staff of his rural office to investigate Luluâs disappearance.
The Lavender familyâs nearest neighborâOliver Bowles, a college professor with secrets of his ownâbecomes Buckâs prime suspect. But Oliver is not what he seems, and his suspect becomes one of his only allies on Buckâs terrifying excursion into the literal and figurative darkness of Arizonaâs storm-drenched southern border.
The investigation leads Buck into a world of bizarre powers and ancient struggles with tendrils reaching into the present, of border vigilantes and human rights advocates, drug dealers and femmes fatale, of the lust for power and glory and the violent impulses within the human heart.
With echoes from the distant past illuminating todayâs headlines, MISSING WHITE GIRL is at once absolutely topical, dealing with border and immigration issues and the modern phenomenon of the missing white girl, and timeless in its depiction of supernatural horror and the effects of unbridled power on those who wield it.
Under the name Jeff Mariotte, the author has written more than thirty novels and dozens of comic books, including some of the bestselling titles of modern times. Mariotte has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, the International Horror Guild Award, the Scribe Award, appeared on national bestseller lists, and earned the highest praise from readers and fellow writers.
MISSING WHITE GIRL is a breakthrough book in every sense, thematically compelling and compulsively readable. Googling the phrase âborder issuesâ brings up a cool 51 million hits, so the topic is on everyoneâs mind, from the halls of Congress to the house next door.
The MISSING WHITE GIRL website, with an interactive map, activities, sample chapters, photographs, and more, is online at http://www.jeffmariotte.com/missing.html.