After being held against their will in a house used for sex trafficking, three girls plan their escape.
Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow prisoners the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammy: The youngest of the three--a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.
But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?
A coming-of-age tale of revenge that explores a friendship and the desperate lengths they will go through to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.
The Pale White by Chad Lutzke, in some respects, was an easy read. Short, strong author voice, deep POV, well-written, complex characters - a page turner.
But in reality, Mr. Lutzke told a disturbing tale of three girls held against their will for the sex by a man named Doc, that shook me to my core. Alex has been there the longest and has descended into the delusion that she is a vampire. Kammie, who has endured unspeakable horrors for all of her nine years on earth, has gone mute and bonded with a house plant. Stacia, seventeen and there for a year, has managed to hold on to most of her mental health. One day the tables turn on Doc and the girls are free to leave.
But then what? Decisions have to be made and a plan worked out. But it's easier said than done with three people in fragile states, one of whom hasn't been in the outside world in years, and other who has never experienced life outside of her four walls.
That's when this compelling story of survival, loyalty, and strength begins. I didn't expect the ending, and while it was a bit abrupt, I thought it worked.
Mr. Lutzke packs a powerful story into a relatively few pages. Well done.
I was given a complimentary ARC from Crystal Lake Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Available on Amazon here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chad lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He's had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. Lutzke's work as been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, Stephen Graham Jones and his own mother. He can be found lurking the internet at www.chadlutzke.com.
First let me say, it's good to be back at CURIOSITIES
after taking the summer off!
Second - I thought a good kick-off for the new season would be...
My Annual Rant on Censorship.
“I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases.”— Kurt Vonnegut
This September, instead of listing the most challenged books of the previous year (although I'll provide a link), I'm going to focus on why certain religious, conservative, and parent/school board groups of all backgrounds want to infringe on our 1st Amendment rights.
In recent years, To Kill A Mockingbird, was pulled from the reading
curriculum of schools in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina
and in 2019, Duluth, MN. The reason?
It makes people (code for parents & adults) uncomfortable.
I'm not talking about personal preference. That's different. Dinosaur Erotica
is a sub-genre in romance. I'll take a hard pass on those books.
Not because it makes me uncomfortable, because it's silly and
ridiculous and I'd probably giggle all way through.
Where does one go to have sex with a dinosaur? Jurassic Park?
BUT here's thing thing - I'd never tell anyone they couldn't read it. Or insist Amazon take it down from their Kindle selections.
I've always said parents have the right to monitor what their children
read, not what someone's else child reads.
Or what other ADULTS read.
(This makes me completely bonkers)
That's right, I'm talking to you folks who fight like hell to get books removed
from public libraries and college/university libraries.
Judging from the list of challenged books, most are shunned because of sex, alcohol, drugs, more sex, LGBTQ sex, transgender stories, race,
religion, and witchcraft. Oh, and did I mention sex?
Why do (some) humans shut down when something makes them uncomfortable?
What makes people squirm in their seat about certain books/topics?
Remember Jack Nicholson's line from A FEW GOOD MEN -
"You can't handle the truth?"
I think we can, but we don't want to.
What would happen if they took a long, deep peek inside themselves?
Would they find something there they don't want to admit?
That they didn't like?
Just a thought.
Are they uneasy because they aren't familiar with the characters? The topic?
Maybe it frightens them a little?
Don't worry, it's nothing a little exposure can't cure.
And here's an easy way to face your discomfort.
Even better, read a banned book!
That's the great thing about books - we learn from them. Every single one of them. Pick up a memoir, a biography, or autobiography of someone so different from you they are a complete mystery, and get to know them.
Historical fiction is a great way to learn about a past era, present controversies, social and civil reforms.
Read for fun!
Go on an adventure to somewhere
you've never been. Travel into someone's imagination and visit
a strange world.
The possibilities are endless.
When you censor books, you censor knowledge.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
As promised, click here to see the list of the most challenged modern books.
If you're an avid reader, I bet you discover a favorite of yours on the list.
HAPPY, HAPPY READING!!!