Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Excerpt: SEARCHING FOR PILAR by Patricia Hunt Holmes

SEARCHING FOR PILAR
by
PATRICIA HUNT HOLMES
Genre: Contemporary Suspense / Thriller
Publisher: River Grove Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 320 pages

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Pilar, an innocent young wife and mother, is abducted during a fake job interview in Mexico City and forced into sex slavery in Houston. Can she survive the horrors of a world—one which many good Americans don’t see or ignore—long enough for her brother Diego to find her?

Searching for Pilar breaks open the secretive and dangerous world of sex trafficking, while exploring human nature and our connections to each another. Diego’s guilt transforms him from a rudderless youth into a man of purpose, and courage. While he searches, Pilar finds a strength that could save herself and a young girl who needs her. The themes of family, love, faith and the law intertwine in this action-packed tale of the Bayou City.

PRAISE FOR SEARCHING FOR PILAR:
“Patricia Holmes fictionalizes the heartbreaking reality of cross-border sex trafficking in her novel, Searching for Pilar. This cautionary tale should be required reading for high school classes to foster awareness, understanding, and ultimately solutions to this horrific epidemic.”  --Joanne F. Phillips, author of Revenge of the Cube Dweller.


“In Searching for Pilar, Patricia Hunt Holmes makes us aware of the terrible nature of sex trafficking in the context of a fast-paced, exciting Houston story that moves from affluence and glitz to barrio cantinas and the federal courthouse. The charitable, can-do nature of Houston is reflected in the wide cast of residents who help a young man on an extremely dangerous mission to find his kidnapped sister.  This book will be an added weapon in our fight against sex trafficking.” –Sylvester Turner, Mayor, City of Houston




Mexico City
Chapter Three Excerpt from Searching for Pilar
By Patricia Hunt Holmes

     “I need to go to the Colonia Tabacalera, near the Monumento a la Revolución,” she told Diego.
     “I know where it is. It’s on the western edge of downtown.”
     Diego parked opposite the monument. “Um, do you need me to go with you, Pilar?” he offered, while he glanced at his watch.
     Pilar could see he was worried about having time to watch the professionals. She said, “I have directions. You can drop me off and pick me up here. At 4:00 p.m.?”
     “Are you sure you don’t mind?” Diego asked, his face brightening.
     “I don’t mind,” Pilar said, although she was terrified of walking on the streets of Mexico City alone and she hesitated before she got out of the truck.
     “Bueno!” he said. “Nos vamos esta tarde. We will meet again this afternoon!”
     Pilar stopped at a taco stand with a faded yellow umbrella for a quick bite to eat. The taco seller tried to start a conversation, but she just smiled. She kept checking her watch and fumbled for change to pay him.
     Pilar surveyed the neighborhood. It was filled with centuries-old, once-elegant homes. Office and apartment buildings had replaced some of the houses, but everything looked run down. Salsa music blared from a cantina down the block where two women in very short skirts and high boots stood outside talking to a group of men. The people sitting at the other tables did not look like her mental picture of business people. A dark young man dressed in jeans, sunglasses, and a black leather jacket with tattoos on his neck and hands stared at her. It made her uneasy. She avoided making eye contact. She wished she had asked Diego to stay with her, but she had no way to contact him. She didn’t want to stay where she was with the dark man staring at her.
     Pilar saw a shabbily dressed woman about her own age standing nearby, staring at the people eating at the tables. She looked hungry. A thin little boy was crying while he held tight to her hand. The pair made her remember why she taken the desperate steps she was taking. She wished she had some pesos to give the woman, but her purse was empty after buying lunch.
     At 12:55, Pilar found the building. It was a nondescript old concrete office building with several coats of red and black graffiti on the outside of the ground-level floor. She had never ridden in an elevator, so she took the stairway, although it had an unpleasant smell. Telling herself to be strong, she finger-combed her hair, said a quick Hail Mary, and straightened her crucifix. She entered suite 435.
     The only thing in the room was a row of five metal folding chairs lined up against the wall. Pilar hesitated, then took a seat and waited for something to happen.
     Shortly the door to the hallway opened again and a petite, pretty young girl with curly brown hair and hazel eyes came into the room. The girl smiled nervously as she sat down. Pilar guessed she was thirteen years old. I wonder why her mother is not with her?
     The door to the inner office opened and a tall, attractive woman with a stylish black suit, high heels, and auburn hair pulled back into an upsweep stepped into the reception area. She was the most sophisticated woman Pilar had ever seen, straight out of a telenovela. She wore a thick silver chain around her neck. Big silver rings covered her fingers.
     “Señora Chavez?” she asked.
     “Sí, señora,” Pilar spoke up, standing quickly.
     “Won’t you come into my office? I am Alma Diaz. It is good to meet you.” She motioned for Pilar to sit in a large overstuffed chair on the other side of her desk while she looked Pilar up and down, an approving smile on her face.
     Looking around, Pilar observed two gray upholstered chairs, a small wooden side table, a bookcase, and a desk. Paper shades covered the windows. Picture frames sat on Alma’s desk, but they were turned the other way, so Pilar could not see what she assumed was Alma’s family. The bookcase held very few books. A framed map of Mexico City provided the only color on the wall. A small vase with red roses sat on the desk; their sweet smell helped calm her nerves.
     “Perfect,” Alma said, smiling. “We are glad you came to see us. Can I get you something to drink? Café? Cocoa?”
     “No, thank you. I just ate something.”
     Alma’s brow wrinkled slightly. “Perhaps later,” she said. “Let’s get to know one another, shall we?”
     “Do you have siblings?”
     “Oh, sí, two brothers, Diego and Carlos. My older brother, Diego, drove me here today, and I am meeting him at the monument at four.”
     “How perfect,” Alma said. “You have a big brother to watch out for you.” 


Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP. She was consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers in Houston, and awarded the highest degree by her peers in Martindale Hubbell. She was a frequent speaker at national public finance and healthcare conferences. Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.

Patricia has been a member and board member of social service organizations in Houston that focus on helping women, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. She was a founding member and first board chair of Houston Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants. For the past five years, she has been taking writing workshops with Inprint, associated with the outstanding University of Houston Creative Writing Program. She began to write Searching for Pilar in a workshop after learning that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the country.


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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY
THREE WINNERS! 
1st & 2nd Prizes: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + Mexican Necklace
3rd Prize: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + $20 Amazon Gift Card
(U.S. Only)

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