Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.
After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of town, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?
Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.
She glanced at the sheet of goldenrod paper, expecting to see an advertisement, but the headline brought her to a full stop. And when she saw the two headshots, the cheerful clamor around her receded as if this piece of paper had carved out a dark and lonely space of its own. After skimming the Spanish text, she turned to the English section to make sure she fully comprehended. Under the words, REWARD FOR INFORMATION, the text read:
The Arbor City Mayor’s office has authorized a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for the death of Imelda Perez.
On Monday, October 4, at 2:00 a.m., the nude body of the victim, aged 16, was discovered near the corner of Southbridge and 8th Street. The Medical Examiner has ruled this death a homicide.
Also, approximately 2 hours later, the body of a second victim, an unidentified white female approximately 20 years of age, was found at the side of the Interstate near the 18th Street on-ramp. These incidents may be related.
Anyone with information regarding this crime, or who saw either victim earlier in the day is urged to contact one of the following:
Arbor City Police Department: 555-2677 (555-COPS)
Citizens’ Crime Alert Line: 555-8477 (555-TIPS)
Bridges Multicultural Teen Center: 555-4357 (555-HELP)
All information will be held in confidence.
Kendra rushed to catch up to the Bridges man. “Excuse me, I might have some information about Imelda.”
The man ran his eyes over her. An eyebrow went up. Was he questioning what a Caucasian, middle-class looking young female in her twenties could possibly know about the life of someone like Imelda? At another time, Kendra might have challenged his narrow perspective, but this wasn’t about her.
The man asked, “Do you have any knowledge of her activities on October 3rd or 4th?”
“This girl—she went to Standard High, is that right?”
Imelda dead! The immediacy of the death hit her like a punch to the gut. And the second girl’s photo rang a bell; was she also enrolled last spring in the Special Ed. program? If so, like Imelda, she’d been truant more often than not.
The man sensed her distress and asked, “Are you all right, Miss?”
Kendra nodded as she straightened. “I just—I knew her.”
“You a friend?”
“I’m a teacher. My name’s Kendra Desola. She was in my Vocational Skills class. How—”
“Someone strangled her, then dumped her on the street like a piece of trash. If you know who she hung out with, that might help us find who did this to her.”
Mickey Hoffman was born in Chicago, and attended public schools where she acquired the strong suspicion that some of her teachers might be human. She wasn’t able to prove this fanciful thinking until much later, when she became a high school teacher herself.
Before landing in the halls of academia, she worked in a variety of jobs, including computer typesetting and wholesale frozen fish sales.
The author is also a printmaker and painter and resides on the West Coast with her long suffering mate, eight marine aquariums and a very large cat. Mickey is also the author of School of Lies, the first Kendra Desola mystery.
Click here to read the first chapter of: Deadly Traffic
Click here to read an interview with: Mickey Hoffman, author of Deadly Traffic