Portrait by Tao Nguyen

Sunday, March 5, 2017


As a preteen I had the whole collection of Nancy Drew books. I'd settle in with one of her mysteries and read for hours, fascinated by the way a young girl about my age pieced clues together. That's why I featured female Detective Viola Hendricks in "White Dunes." What begins as a case to bring down a corrupt judge leads to several murders. Detective Hendricks doesn't stop digging for evidence until she arrests double-crossing thugs in the small desert town of White Dunes, California. As secrets are revealed through a combination of dogged sleuthing, coincidence, and fate, unexpected events emerge. Lives are changed in ways persons living on both coasts never could have predicted.

Page 133 "White Dunes"
Detective Viola Hendricks stood outside with her partner, Manny Santos, and a search team.

“Hello, Mr. Fielder. Good to see you again,” Manny said and the men shook hands. “We’re here to do an evidence search. Here’s your copy of the warrant.” He handed it over.

Josh glanced at the warrant. “Everything looks in order. Come inside, boys.” Josh nodded to Viola. “And you, too, Miss? I didn’t get your name.”

“Hendricks. Detective Viola Hendricks. And for the record it’s Mrs., not Miss.” She walked past him.

Just then Viola came into the room and heard the question. She shook her head making her short curls bounce. “You guys will never make detective if you don’t improve your observation skills.” She walked over to the collection of fossils. “This is what I mean.” She picked up the phony rock and turned it over, removed the plug, and pulled out the contents. “In less than a minute I found the safe combination and I’ll bet one of these keys unlocks that door in the floor. Sharpen your skills, boys.”

I began writing "White Dunes" after I saw a news report about young girls on Seattle's street corners being pandered for decades. Often, it's a trusted relative or other adult responsible for getting underage children of both genders into the sex trade. I think this problem is so important I had to write about it.
Yet "White Dunes" is primarily the tale of a kidnapped 12-year-old girl (by her father) and the longing she has for her mother, whom she believes died. The core of the story is about the special mother/daughter relationship that endures over time and distance. No obstacle or lie can destroy their bond. Neither time, corrupt justice, criminals, nor murder will stand between them.

It's a book about never losing hope, and the kindness of people who reach out and lend a helping hand in even the darkest of times. As one reviewer on Amazon wrote: "The author has woven a tapestry of the best in people and the worst in people and show us how strangers can help each other. And, oh, the sweetness of revenge when it is well deserved. The characters will stay with me even though I've finished the last page."

“White Dunes” is available for purchase as an ebook and paperback. Free download on KENP.

Leslie Bratspis, Author

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