GUEST POST – Laura Elvebak
THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF Seeking Summer Reads Week!
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Guest Post With the Author
First I would like to thank Shannon for having me as her guest blogger.
The Niki Alexander mysteries first hit the book shelves in 2008, and Niki continues to champion the cause of troubled teenagers trying to survive on the streets. Niki is an ex-cop turned counselor for a teen shelter. In dealing with teens, she is determined to prevent them from becoming victims. In the first book, Less Dead, a sixteen-year-old has been abandoned by her father on the Houston streets, and wakes up one morning in a park next to the body of a murdered councilman. In the second book, Lost Witness, a child is found next to the body of a drug mule, creating a war between two brothers, one in Houston and one in Mexico.
In A Matter of Revenge, Niki tackles the evil of pedophiles who prey on the easy targets of street kids. The dangers that face runaway or throwaway teens as they struggle to survive are real and horrific. When two children take it among themselves to act against evil rather than to succumb as victims, Niki steps in to help them.
Pedophilia is a sensitive subject but it can’t be ignored. Sexual predators pervade the underbelly of Niki’s world. They lurk on the streets where she lives to find their victims. To research Niki’s world, I visited Houston’s Covenant House and the Street Church to talk to as many kids as I could find. Not surprisingly, they found me. What struck me was how savvy most of these kids were. To survive they have to be aware. Some go back to their homes. Others can’t or won’t because sometimes their home is just as dangerous as the street.
As the title suggests, this story is about fighting back and to not be a victim. One twelve-year-old boy and an eleven-year-old female runaway invade a rich man’s home and risk their lives to find the evidence needed to expose a pedophile and child pornographer. Niki gets involved when the boy is shot while running away from the house, and the girl she has been asked to find disappears.
But this story is also about the importance of family and home. Every street kid has a reason he or she runs away, or gets tossed out for behavior problems, or abandoned, sometimes by death of both parents. Problems at home can sometimes be resolved, and Niki believes that should be the first attempt at a solution. She also doesn’t expect the answers to be easily resolved.
Niki had her own issues growing up. Her mother died when Niki was very young and her father remarried. She made up her mind not to accept this stranger and ran away, only to find the street wasn’t compatible to her needs, and even dangerous. She left home again when she was old enough to be on her own. By then her parents’ marriage was falling apart and soon her stepmother left.
While searching for a way to help her young charges, Niki’s estranged stepmother, whom she hasn’t seen for seventeen years, shows up on her doorstep. Niki has to come to terms with her own childhood memories and is forced to separate truth from fiction. Getting to know the woman she rejected as a child brings a greater understanding of what family can be about.
About the Author
Laura studied writing at UCLA, USC, Rice University, and Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. After taking a directing class in Houston, she co-wrote, directed and acted in a one-act play. She optioned three screenplays to a local production company, and co-wrote a script for the 48 Hour Film Project.
She is the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries, Less Dead, Lost Witness and A Matter of Revenge. Niki Alexander is an ex-cop turned counselor for a teen shelter. Her standalone, The Flawed Dance, takes place in Philadelphia in the late sixties, about a young woman fleeing from an abusive lover and hides in the demimonde world of go-go bars and mobsters. Laura is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters-In-Crime, The International Thriller Writers, and The Final Twist Writers and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Good Reads, and Amazon Author Central.
Website URL: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog URL: www.lauraelvebak.blogspot.com
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/lelvebak
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lauraelvebak @lauraelvebak
A Matter of Revenge buy links: