Phoenix investigative reporter Joya Bonner is like most Americans—she knows nothing about the world of sex trafficking; thinks it’s a problem reserved for somewhere far off. Thailand. Russia.
But the reality that this is an American problem slaps her in the face when her 15 year-old honorary niece disappears in Phoenix. And a 13 year-old from her hometown in North Dakota goes missing. And there’s that pitiful dead girl in the vacant lot. As the evidence piles up that these are all part of the sex-slave underworld, Joy’s awakening chills her to the bone.
She’s sickened even more when she realizes the website that pimps use to sell these girls was created in Phoenix at the weekly newspaper New Times—by guys she knew; by journalists she admired; by men she’d defended in the pages of her own newspaper when they were attacked by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Joya’s frantic search to find the missing girls—and identify the dead child—brings readers into the real world of sex trafficking. It includes the true history of Backpage.com, that’s been called an “online brothel,” and its founders, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, currently awaiting trial on charges of facilitating sex trafficking.
This book combines a riveting fictional story with the reality that is ripped from today’s headlines. The book ends with an extensive “end notes” section that details the facts and personalities of this world—both from those exploiting youngsters for prostitution, and those who have long fought to stop it.
About the Author
Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona’s most acclaimed journalists and authors. She’s already been honored with two lifetime achievement awards as “an inspiration to the state’s media community.” She’s been inducted into the Arizona Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and honored by the ACLU as a “journalist and activist who speaks truth to power.” She’s won a regional Emmy for her television work and was named the nation’s best columnist in a city magazine for her work at Phoenix magazine. She twice won the Don Bolles Award in Investigative Reporting for her work at Phoenix New Times.
Jana is known as a tenacious researcher and lyrical writer. Her debut non-fiction book, “The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd” was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award as one of the nation’s best mysteries in 1992. Her children’s book, “A Squirrel’s Story, a True Tale” won numerous awards here and abroad. Her first historical novel, “Cattle Kate,” was named one of the best books of 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly. With “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot,” Jana continues exploring the world of fiction with her character, Phoenix investigative reporter Joya Bonner.
To satisfy her journalistic soul, Jana combines a fictional story with real-life incidents she’s covered in the past. In her first Joya Bonner book, “Funeral Hotdish,” it was the problem of Sammy “the Bull” Gravano and his Arizona ecstasy ring and how it affected Joya’s safe, secure hometown in North Dakota that buried one of its children from a drug overdose. In this new book, Joya takes on the world of sex-trafficking. As the book was going to press, federal officials shut down the “online brothel” known as Backpage.com and its founders—Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin—were arrested and are awaiting trial on multiple counts of facilitating sex-trafficking.
This is a particularly poignant story for Jana to write, for a dozen years before Backpage was created, she was partners with Mike and Jim in owning Phoenix New Times. She left and sold her interest to pursue other journalistic options. As she says in the Epilogue, “I write this book with a broken heart.”
He’s a special forces operator, a trained assassin. He marries into an organized crime family. Not an ordinary crime family, but one with a tradition and specialty in murder for hire.
About the Author
Howard Weiner is a recent addition to the literary genre of fiction. Writing mysteries, thrillers, crimes—with a touch of romance—an approach described by one reader as “one bubble off.”
Many authors sharing the genre have characters whose fortune is determined by others. They literally have dodged the bullet that otherwise would have killed them. Weiner’s characters make their own fortune—good or bad—and they live with the results.
Weiner’s own experiences are blessed with no small number of noteworthy characters and events. He brings these slightly off-kilter individuals to life, complete with their own stories and dramas. Like the child prodigy in his first novel, “It Is Las Vegas After All”, who comes to the starting edge of adulthood and then loses the approval of his doting parents, the sponsorship of one of America’s great institutions of higher education, and gains the enmity of his girlfriend’s father—an international arms dealer—to become a home-grown terrorist operating on U.S. soil.
A survivor of rich, nuanced bureaucracies in the public and private sector, Weiner writes about characters whose career choices and decisions are morally questionable. A student of personal behavior in complex circumstances, Weiner brings these often cringe-worthy characters to life. Some are amoral, others immoral in a narrow slice of their lives, yet they otherwise look and act like people we all know from work or even childhood. Like one of the female leads in his novel, “Serendipity Opportunity”, an out-of-the-box thinker who flunks most of life’s basic relationship tests, yet she is someone you never want pursuing you in the cause of justice. There’s a former foreign security official who uses his protected status as a witness for federal prosecutors to provide cover for his own mayhem and murder in Weiner’s third novel, “Bad Money”.
Many of Weiner’s stories are born out of real life events: The mix-up in luggage claim at the airport in, “Bad Money”, the chronic high school slacker in “Serendipity Opportunity” whose one stroke of good fortune creates his opportunity to perpetrate a complex series of frauds, or the brilliant student in “It Is Las Vegas After All” who uses his prodigious talents toward an evil end.
As a former federal official, Weiner can neither confirm nor deny having the highest security clearances in classified security programs. Yet, his knowledge of the dark web, criminal organizations, and security organizations takes stories from the popular press to the next level.
One hundred twenty-five years to the day after Jack the Ripper committed his first gruesome murder, a young woman is killed in a picturesque Spanish town. As if the eerie timing isn’t enough to unnerve Commissioner Carrillo, the murderer has mimicked the Ripper’s grisly method almost exactly.
Soon more women are murdered and their bodies horrifically mutilated. Tips and accusations fly wildly, sending the commissioner and his fellow officers chasing after suspects who might be innocent. Adding to the confusion, the killer is creating his own trail, carving mysterious signs on the bodies of his victims and texting the commissioner puzzling messages.
When the murderer reveals who his fifth victim will be, Commissioner Carrillo’s blood runs cold—he now has a personal stake in solving the atrocious mystery. Who is this villainous fiend posing as Jack the Ripper? Can he be caught before he commits his final murder?
About the Author
Carmelo Anaya has published ten novels, including three previous books starring Commissioner Carrillo: The Yellow Earth, The Guardian of My Brother, and Baria City Blues. He lives in Almeria, Spain, where he works as a lawyer and a criminalist.
Oliver Kaufman is an author and the founder of theworldwithin.org, a website dedicated to self-awareness, self-healing, growth, and the exploration of one’s own inner, conscious world. He currently lives in Redmond, Washington, in the US.
Exiled and alone in a strange land, Rhinemaiden Gwen is still traumatized from her capture and torture by mortal monster hunters. To exorcise her demons, she doles out vigilante justice on mortal criminals—until former cop turned private investigator, Kwame Johnson, stops her in her tracks.
Captivating and enigmatic, Kwame is more than another mere mortal, and he’s just beginning to understand the nature of the special sense that helps him track down missing persons. Gwen can help him reach his full potential, but can she trust a man who was hired by the monster hunters to track her down?
“One of those rare books that will have you laughing and sighing and crying, touching your heart just as great music touches your soul. A must read!”
– Debbie Herbert, USA Today bestselling author of the Dark Seas series
Series: Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2
Worlds collide and sparks ignite between Princess Ilsa and her diamond-in-the-rough mortal scientist, Paul. But can they survive monster hunters, a rival scientist with a grudge, and a dark force that could destroy mortal and elemental alike?
“Fast-paced and clever, this is a book for all mermaid lovers!”
– Bama Girl, Amazon reviewer
Series: Southern Elemental Series Book 3
Serafina is forced to fight against a conspiracy to resurrect the Phoenix. Uniting three of her kind could disrupt earth’s elemental balance, unleashing a fiery apocalypse. Can she trust the seductive, mercurial Sylph prince Bruce to help her, or will her fire doom them both and all they hold dear?
I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent my childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. We loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.
Those days of frog chasing sparked my interest in biology. I am a working scientist by day, but I never lost my love of telling stories.
I write contemporary fantasy, fantasy romance, and contemporary romance. My stories feature unlikely heroes and heroines who face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, two children, three cats, and my very active imagination.