Endangered Species By Michael Altieri

Endangered Species is a mystery novel based on, an all too real problem facing us now in the U.S., human trafficking ring.  The story revolves around the disappearance of a young 16 year old girl from Arizona.  The girl’s mother is told she has a sister from a previous marriage that is a well known retired homicide detective turned private investigator who she calls to help find her daughter.  Brenda is the detective we follow as she investigates the suspects and pieces together the clues leading to a dramatic and jaw dropping ending.

I could not put this book down.  I am writing this review after staying up all night reading this book because I could not put it down to go to bed.  Human trafficking is an issue near to my heart as I work in a ministry that reaches out to ladies caught up in the sex industry.  I applaud the author for realistically portraying how these girls end up in these situations and what happens in these situations.  This may be a fictional work but it is the reality for millions of ladies worldwide every day.  There’s no shying away from sex in this book but it is handled appropriately; the real thing is far worse than how it is portrayed here.  They mystery story plot was excellently developed and executed.  I like mysteries that let me follow along logically but still have some plot twists to them and this fulfilled that criteria.  This is simply a five star phenomenal read for me!

The only minor criticism I could think to give this book is that I wish the author had used Brenda’s PTSD more in the book…people with PTSD usually struggle at least at times through their lives and I think it could have been used more in the story.  The personalities of the characters were developed and memorable and I enjoyed them but I do have to say I didn’t find myself in love with any particular character.  I did picture the main character, Brenda the detective, and her boyfriend as similar to the relationship on the TV series Castle in their relationship which brought it more to life for me. It may be perhaps that I was so drawn into the plot I missed the little details that show their character instead of telling it that make us fall in love with characters.

I loved this book though and I’m glad I picked it up.  I wasn’t aware it involved human trafficking when I did pick it up as a mystery book.  I can’t applaud the author for putting this information into a well written mystery story that can reach people who may not necessarily care to know about the topic or think it is a non-issue because it doesn’t happen here.  Even among resources that educate people about human trafficking the particular angle this story takes is a unique one in that most people aren’t aware that girls will recruit other girls into the ring in order to get money and have a higher status than the girls they oversee.  It is a page turning midnight oil reading book that you won’t be able to put down!

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