BETA (A Mallory Petersen Mystery by Stephen L. Brayton is the first novel in the Mallory Petersen series of thrillers. In this new mystery thriller, Mallory Petersen, a fourth-degree black belt with her own taekwondo school gets into bone-chilling scrapes, one after the other, with thieves, police, and especially underworld scum and their vicious guard dogs. These scenes are breathtakingly fast, Mallory’s taekwondo technique, expert and authentic. And just when we think Mallory will succeed in wrapping up the case, there are more exciting twists.
Fast-action scenes are offset by the poignant, searing commentary and scenes involving the plight of a kidnapped eight-year-old girl.
The story begins when a woman hires Mallory to find her kidnapped daughter, Cindy McGee, a child forced into the dark world of pornography, rape, drugs, you name it. The trail soon leads to the Quad Cities, where Mallory partners with a delicious-looking Detective Lawrence Cameron to continue her search for the kidnapped girl, and, along with more action and daring, there is the promise of romance.
Mr. Brayton’s writing has a distinctive voice. His characters are fresh and plentiful. I especially liked three of his minor characters: Mallory’s grandmother, the oily Edward Brougham, and the likable snitch, Willy. Themes include grief and loss surrounding child pornography.
Make no mistake, the subject of BETA is child pornography–sexual exploitation for profit, slavery at its bleakest level. If you have avoided books dealing with this perverse but pervasive underworld in the past, know that in BETA the author handles the subject with tender sensitivity and poignancy.
And the tale of our children’s exploitation needs to be told. Child pornography is one of the fastest growing industries on the internet.
In the quote below, the author switches from the voice of Mallory Petersen’s first-person narrative told in the past tense of storytelling to third-person omniscient. Because he uses the present tense, we feel like we are there:
The girl sits very still in the cold room. Her mind is fuzzy and her eyes can’t focus very well. She wants to forget the last few hours, the feelings, the pain, the sickness in her stomach. Mercilessly, the memories return again and again, distorted, blurry, but all too real.
`Mallory’ in Old French means `Luckless.’ You’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself whether or not the name suits Mallory Petersen, but if you enjoy non-stop thrillers, the fine writing of an unputdownable story, then you won’t want to miss BETA. It’s available at Amazon.
About the Author. Stephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association.
During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy based story and a trilogy for a comic book. He has written numerous short stories, written a paranormal mystery, entitled NIGHT SHADOWS. Sequels to NIGHT SHADOWS and BETA are in rewrite/revision stages.
Copyright © 2011 by Stephen Brayton
Published by Echelon Press