Kacsandi’s debut is a religious thriller centering on human trafficking and sex slavery.
“How long will it take to feel like a normal human being?” So wonders 20-something Rachel. When she was 13, Rachel was “sold as a slave for a shipment of cocaine and more.” Now 23, she’s a rescued survivor of the twisted cult that kidnapped her. She’s a journalism student, a budding novelist in regular therapy, and a member of the Sudbury Lane Church, whose staff has been helping her reintegrate into society. Rachel has embraced Christianity—“Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were now an actual part of Rachel,” we’re told, “and she a part of them”—and Kacsandi’s narrative does the same: it’s as thickly populated with supernatural beings as it is with normal humans. The “heavenlies” (cherubim, angels, a supernatural council called the Guardians, etc.) form a shadow cast of agents and counteragents, working the mystical side of human trafficking and sex slavery just as diligently as the mortal characters. And although Rachel is the main focus, Kacsandi skillfully expands the cast to include both pure-hearted heroes and refreshingly three-dimensional bad guys, including, in one of the book’s many well-done humorous turns, a murderous Mafioso named Blitz who meows to his victims right before he kills them. FBI agents and slave-camp commandants get equal time and attention, and the subject of human trafficking is presented in great and well-researched detail, even as the focus is largely on the larger battle of good vs. evil. Although Kacsandi’s insistent Christian callbacks (she assures readers at the outset that “if you were the only person on the earth, Jesus would still have died to set you free,” and a similarly fervent tone is struck throughout) might be a bit off-putting to non-Christian readers, the confident blending of gritty police procedural and C.S. Lewis–style Christian mythos will very much appeal to fans of Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.
A tightly controlled, entertaining religious adventure in which the downtrodden triumph with a little help from friends in the highest of places.