A well-paced novel of suspense that veers into romance and ends like a thriller.
Lelia Freeman once lived the life of a child in the ghetto and knows firsthand the dangers of growing up in an urban jungle. Now as a strong-willed and confident adult, she works for ChildSafe, an organization dedicated to rescuing runaway and endangered children. Men in the hood want to draw her into drugs and prostitution, but she steers clear. Then the smooth-talking President Deng of Sudania visits America and is attracted to Lelia because of her local fame. The next thing she knows, his lackeys kidnap her and take her to his African nation to be one of his slaves. Meanwhile, Elijah Dune wants to kill her because he mistakenly holds her responsible for the death of his daughter. The plot is fun, even though the level of suspense doesn’t hold all the way through and the ending is reminiscent of the deus ex machina quality of the ancient Greek plays. Lelia will elicit the reader’s sympathy, while lesser characters are well-drawn and often burst with colorful dialect. Yes, one character calls Lelia “sweet cheeks” far too many times, but the other dialogue works well. Many of Singleton’s similes are delicious, such as “The muggy, humid air squeezed around her like a size-too-small bra.” The pacing is right for this type of story, with plenty of short, snappy lines, although she overdoes the short, declarative sentences. The sentence fragments, too. The story could easily have been much darker and hard-edged, but Singleton nicely leavens the tale with occasional touches of humor. Profanity is sparse and mild, the violence is not graphic, and the sex is PG at most.
By no means perfect the book is an enjoyable tale that is well worth a few hours of the reader’s time.