Several years ago, I read a short article in the L.A. Times about a woman who was held a virtual slave by threats to harm her family members left behind in VietNam. I was amazed that such could happen here in the United States, so I did a little research.
What I found astounded me. One government report stated there were more slaves in the U.S. today than in 1860. Today’s slaves are held not by chains, but by threats to harm family members, usually left behind in a foreign country.
This information rattled around in my head for months. I knew I would write about it. But what? How? One writer friend said it needed to be a non-fiction book. Another suggested a story based on an actual instance, interviewing someone and perhaps even a victim.
Finally, I decided it would be a fictional account. The actual truth was too heavy. Either of the approaches above would haunt me, and I suspected such a book would never be finished. So I created a completely fictional story, but one I believed , based on my research, was close to the truth.
Crystal Moore discovers a young Mexican woman , Rosa, who has been held a virtual slave because her husband in Mexico would be killed if she escaped. But from another woman smuggled into Texas, Rosa learns her husband has died. With that threat gone, she manages to escape from her captor, Hunter Blackwood.
Crystal’s grandmother takes Rosa in and gives her a job.
When Crystal and her Nana are visiting with Rosa, they find out about Lucita who is also a virtual slave to Blackwood. Lucita had a husband and two small girls in Mexico. But when her husband died, she could not provide the bare necessities for her children. Jose Rodriquez offered her the opportunity to make “big Yankee Dollars.” Jose would arrange for a job in Texas and pay for her transportation. In addition, he would take care of the children until Lucita could save the $1,500 to pay for the travel expenses. Surely, that could be done in a few months.
But once in Texas, Lucita is given a different story. She will work for Blackwood and should she leave or even tell anybody of her predicament, her children will be killed. She must stay at his massive house and is paid only a few dollars per month. She will never be able to accumulate the money to bring her girls to Texas. And others tell her that Jose Rodriquez is indeed capable of carrying out the threat.
Crystal is stunned by this revelation. And she is haunted by the plight of this young mother and her children. Crystal’s parents were killed in an auto accident when she was seven. Nothing could be done; they were dead. But Lucita is not dead.
Crystal manages to see Lucita and it becomes clear Lucita will do nothing that might cause harm to her young girls.
Crystal tries to put it out of her mind, to forget about it. But her conscience will not let her. She is plagued with nightmares and often wakes, thinking she can hear Lucita’s two young girls crying. After considering various approaches, she comes to the realization that Lucita will never be free unless her girls are rescued from Jose first. Naive and driven, Crystal travels to Mexico in an attempt to rescue the two children.
If she succeeds, Lucita and her two girls will be free and reunited.
And Crystal will have two powerful and ruthless men, one in Texas and one in Mexico, who want her dead.
A Silver Medallion is the second in the Crystal Moore Suspense series, following A Ton of Gold.
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense. His eleventh book is scheduled to release in June, 2016. Find him at his website: www.jamesrcallan.com and his author’s page on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1eeykvG