Alicia Singleton, author of Dark Side of Valor and a Philadelphia native, embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born. Alicia resides in Maryland with her husband and son. What comes next is our take on Alicia debut novel Dark Side of Valor.
A Brief Summary:
Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.
Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death. Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts.
This book was a fun read and certainly a promising work from a talented writer. The storyline is filled with deception, action and romance, with the developing relationship between Lelia and Elijah as a parallel sub-plot. While Elijah’s character plays an important role in the story, we don’t get much information about his past. Instead a significant part of the book, especially early chapters, is dedicated to Lelia, how she grew up and how she coped with the challenges of her difficult life.
The story starts with the past: Lelia is a young girl who has escaped from the house and now lives on the streets. A quick fast-forward takes Lelia to the present time where she is the director ChildSafe Shelters. We didn’t quite understand how Lelia made it to an apparently important position and this seemed like a hiccup to us. Overall, as mentioned, this is an entertaining read.