Finalist, Award of Excellence in Mainstream with Romantic Elements Category
Finalist, Book Buyers' Best Award in Mainstream wiht Romantic Elements Category
"I am in awe of the author for having the courage to address such sensitive issues and for expertly putting them together to create this masterpiece. Told from multiple points of view, this has an engrossing storyline which is at once thrilling, heartbreaking and mysterious with occasional humour injected in between."
- Musings of a Bibliophile
"You WILL NOT be able to put this book down once you have started! The way things go in this book will keep you turning page after page waiting to find out just what happens! "
- Undercover Book Reviews
"It's a really amazing story, once you start you can not put it down. With great intelligence and sensitivity, the author touches on really delicate issues as racial hatred, bullying, teenagers with problems of alcohol and drug abuse, and pedophilia."
"This was an intense and brilliant work and highly recommended for everyone."
Through some twists and turns that I was totally surprised by, the book makes an effective point that an atmosphere of hatred and mistrust poisons everyone, not just people from any one specific group.
A mix of emotion, action, mystery and suspense that digs at the heart of all things “off” and bares them for readers. In some ways a ‘what would I do” in similar situations, we also see the reaction from all sides Followed with a sobering epilogue that should, if nothing else, encourage people to listen and learn from one another...
When a Muslim high school student is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, her school counselor gets involved to clear her record in this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller.
When Lily Simon finds cops in the lobby of the high school where she’s a guidance counselor, she’s not surprised: cops and adolescents go together like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. But when the cops take Jamila, a Muslim student, into custody for a crime she didn’t commit, Lily’s high school becomes a powder keg.
Police think Jamila is responsible for a hit and run, and since she’s not talking, they have no choice but to keep her as the main suspect. And since the victim—a young soldier recently returned from Afghanistan—is lying unconscious in the hospital, the whole town is taking sides on whether or not Jamila’s arrest is religious persecution. Determined to find the truth, Lily teams up with a reporter to uncover what really happened the night of the hit and run. But Lily didn’t expect to find such a tangled web.
Yolo County Courthouse
725 Court Street
Lily Simon shifted on the seat, trying to find a comfortable spot. There wasn’t one. The hard chair wasn’t the only thing that was going to make this a grueling day. Reliving everything would suck. Not as much as the burn treatments on her hands. Not as much as having her world turned upside down. Not as much as being more alone than she had ever felt in her life. But it would still suck. She’d been over it a million times. With the cops. With the lawyers. With the school officials. With the press. This was the last time, though. This was the time that would stick a stake in its heart and kill it dead.
At least, that’s what she kept telling herself.
District Attorney Max Fitzsimmons rose to his feet. “Objection, Your Honor. Ms. Simon was a witness for the prosecution. Defense had an opportunity to cross-examine her at that time.” He was a nice-looking guy. Tall and dark with a mop of blond hair that was just messy enough to be adorable.
“Your Honor.” Karen Longmont, attorney for the defense broke in before Judge Kezerian had a chance to even open his mouth. “My questions exceed the issues brought up by the prosecution. It would have been inappropriate to ask them at that time.”
“Inappropriate?” Fitzsimmons burst out. “This is inappropriate. It’s grandstanding. Pure and simple, Your Honor.”
Judge Kezerian banged his gavel and glared at both the attorneys. “I appreciate that feelings are running high regarding this case, but the two of you need to stay calm.”
He let a few seconds pass while everyone simmered down, then said, “I’ve ruled on this. I take note of your continued objection, Mr. Fitzsimmons, but it is what it is.”
Longmont turned to look at Lily. Lily took a deep breath and readied herself. She had sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It had taken her a ridiculously long time to figure out what the truth was. She had no idea how she was going to explain it to the twelve people sitting in the jury box or to the child sitting at the defense table. She glanced in that direction for a moment. That’s all it took to break her heart.
Longmont stood up from behind her table and walked toward Lily, on the witness stand. She looked good. A couple of the times that Lily had met with her preparing for today, she had looked tired. Not today. Today she looked cool and calm in a suit with a belted blue jacket and a black skirt that hit right at the knee. Professional, but approachable. Pretty, but not quite TV pretty. “Hello, Ms. Simon. How are you today?”
“Fine, thanks.” Lily’s voice cracked on “Fine,” her mouth suddenly dry. It had actually been a while since she’d felt fine, but she figured that wasn’t the whole truth they’d made her swear to tell. She took a sip of water, surprised that her hands weren’t shaking. She felt like she was vibrating inside and that everything—her hair, her hands, her feet—should be flying in the air.
“Can you begin by telling us about the events of January twenty-seventh of this year?” Longmont asked.
Lily took a deep breath and let it out slowly, centering herself, readying herself, trying to focus. It felt like it had begun a century ago, but it was less than a year. She closed her eyes and put herself back on January 27. It was a Friday. It had been cold and foggy all week and she was looking forward to ending up on her couch with a glass of red wine by the end of the night. Then she’d walked into the school office and seen the cops.