Monday, January 19, 2015

Devil's Lake by Aaron Paul Lazar

Devil's Lake
By Aaron Paul Lazar

This novel is Dedicated To the women kidnapped and held hostage for ten years by that monster...I pray you are able to heal and enjoy life again. The decent people of this world are so very sorry that this fiend took you, exerted control over you, and stole so many years from you. God bless you all.

He bellowed behind her like a wounded bear, shouting from the cabin. “Sugar! God damn it, come back here.”
Immediately thought of Don Scribner, actor,
in one of his scarier parts!
RUN. RUN. RUN. Don’t stop. With feet churning through leaves and over clumps of moss, Portia headed for the lake and didn’t look back. There it was. Devil’s Lake. At least now she knew the name, and for some reason, it made her laugh. Running from the Devil to his very own lake. Devil’s Lake. Devil’s Lake. Devil’s Lake. The repetition of the name matched her footsteps. But in spite of the name that didn’t seem to match its serene beauty, she wanted it. She wanted to reach the dock, jump in, and swim like hell. Behind her, more yelling. “Sugar!” Oh God, he’s getting closer.

Redoubling her efforts now, ducking through pine boughs and over clumps of brush, she flew through the woods toward the water. It grew closer, and now she could even see a few fishing boats in the distance. If only she could get their attention. She broke into the clearing where the shore met water, felt the hot sun on her skin, and began to scream, waving her arms. She pounded across the dock, past the rowboat, and at the end, she braced her legs and dove into the cool blue water. When she broke into the air, she heard his footfalls pounding along the pier.  I made it. Giggling hysterically inside, she threw arm over arm and stroked away from him. Away from the cabin. The humiliation. The fear. Use your fear. Move! Go, go, go!

Devil's Lake
By Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron has cared enough to want to help readers understand the horror and trauma experienced by victims of sexual captivity. I applaud those efforts...

The novel is very well done and reflects the author's empathetic abilities--his willingness to open up and try to experience what has happened to another individual. In my opinion, this is one of his finest book for that reason alone. However, it is a much darker story line for him.An important aspect of this story is that he used two entirely different characters in the victim role. This was extremely important to show that, just as we all are, each individual can react to trauma in different ways. One of the victims did exactly what I always thought I would try to do. Could I have achieved it, I have no idea. We all must try to prepare for such a tragedy, but... reality is an entirely different story...
Portia hauled on the wheel and dragged the old truck around a sharp corner, wincing when the engine popped and belched black smoke. The beat-up Chevy had been running rough since she left the highway an hour ago.
 Come on, keep going. Just a few more miles. Dust clouds marked her progress along the dirt road. She glanced in the rear view mirror for the millionth time, expecting to see the police chasing her. Or him. Tears streaked
 her cheeks, and she hiccuped a few sobs. She’d been weeping all the way from Wisconsin and felt dry now, as if she had no more tears to shed. Of course, that was insane. She’d probably cry all day, every day for the rest of her life. Around yet another corner, and Cupcake slid toward her, scrabbling toenails on the vinyl seat. She steadied the little mutt, who snuggled close to her, blinking round black eyes.

 “Sorry, baby.” Her voice cracked, roughened from all the crying. Cupcake leaned into Portia, nuzzling under her arm. She stroked the dog’s soft white ears. “Good girl. You’re my good little dog.” She’d stolen the mongrel and the truck when she escaped—was it really only two days ago? Hurriedly thrusting her little friend into the front seat, she’d roared away from the cabin.

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It was two years before Portia was able to escape. She had tried, though, but every time she failed, her captor, Murphy, would restrain her even more. Most of the time, she was tied to the bed, unable to break free... But then there were the times she was forced to dress up as a nurse to care for him... and other times he'd even dress up himself... He was cruel, dragged her by her hair but had not forced himself upon her...yet...

No, more than anything, he’s reveling in the power he holds over me. That’s what he enjoys. “No lollygagging there, missy.” He laughed from his chair in the living room, cutting out yet another article about her disappearance to plaster on the wall beside him. Lollygagging? She hadn’t heard that term since her grandfather used it when she was little. Her mind wandered as she fulfilled her Cinderella role, bare knees already sore from the constant rubbing on the floorboards...
“Get back to work, you whore.” 

Whore? Now she was a whore? She painfully pulled herself back to her knees, afraid not to obey him. There, on the table by the chair, lay the scissors. Could she do it? Could she actually stab another human being? Damn right she could. 
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him shuffle back to the chair, sit heavily in it again. “I’ll be gone for a while, so make your food last, sugar.” 
She almost didn’t ask, but found the courage. “How long?”
 He smirked. “Why? You gonna miss me?” 
She didn’t say a word, just kept scrubbing, definitely not smiling. She’d have to watch that in the future. Now she could add paranoid to his list of problems. 

She summoned songs in her head, trying to block out his moans. The Beatles, first album. Yes. There they were, singing “Please, Please Me” to her. She brought up the voices of Paul and John, and focused on them. It was working. Now Murphy’s sounds were gone and she sat in an auditorium, watching the band performing their first hits on The Ed Sullivan Show. Her mother had been a huge fan, and she had grown up on all the sixties music Mom loved. Each record was scribed in her brain. Now, “Love Me Do” rang through her brain, and she heard John’s harmonica wailing throughout the hall. She imagined herself jumping in the air, screaming for Paul, her favorite. Now he winked at her, and her heart swelled. Keep it up; it's a good fantasy...

“Oh, she’s so sweet. 

She’s lying in my lap,

 just like a little cupcake.”

 “That’s what you should name  her, then.” 
 Portia genuinely smiled for the  first time since he’d taken her.
 “Yes. That’s what I’m going  to call her. My little Cupcake.”

Two long years. Two years of wishing. Of wanting. Of daring to hope. She hiccuped another sob. Bittersweet Hollow. She’d desperately yearned for it, picturing her mother’s kind face, the smell of her bread baking in the oven. She’d imagined her father quietly helping to deliver a new foal and the scent of fresh pine shavings on his wool shirt. She remembered leaning into his broad chest, feeling so safe. So protected. Every night, she repeated the farm name as a mantra before sleep, after the man tied her to the bedposts. The memories of her parents had comforted her then, and the thought of coming home filled her with a twisty sense of near-maniacal joy. Her heart slammed against her ribs, quickening with every milestone she recognized. Almost there.

When she got home, she learned that her mother was in the hospital for cancer and her father was there with her, in New York... Portia was barely able to talk, was starved and didn't even recognize the young man that was there at the farm... Boone had been friends with her since childhood... now she was afraid of him and anybody else... Boone carefully talked to her, making sure not to get too close or touch her and he was able to get her to go to her old room... Slowly she began to gain strength then her parents flew home and she was immediately lost in the comfort of their love and safety...

Things continued to improve, but Portia was still afraid. She had knocked Murphy out, but had she killed him? Finally as she was able to talk about it, two of the men went to find the cabin, but he was not there, although they found proof that he had been there but apparently had not died...

And then one day it began-- there was writing on the back wall of the barn...

Hey, Sugar. Miss me?

The majority of the novel takes place after Portia returns home. Murphy is smart, dangerous and cunning and Portia guessed that he had done this quite often. There are several incidents where the emphasis is more on the criminal and we are faced to wonder how an individual gets to the point where they start to stalk women and kidnap them. 

On the other hand, there are the other male characters in the story that do as much as they can to ensure the safety of Portia and later her sister when she and her husband come to the farm also. The book becomes more exciting and presents a totally surprising ending scenario that is guaranteed to grab your attention and hold on to what happens next!

This is not an easy story to read, except that it shows that, no matter how long, and no matter what has happened, we are able to make it through and survive, with help and love from family and neighbors... It is an important story--one that lets female victims know that there will also be someone, somewhere looking for them, hoping and trying to get them home. 

And as Aaron has already expressed in his Dedication--May God be with each victim who finds themselves in similar situations...You will know whether you will want to read the story... It is highly recommended, for many reasons...


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming releases, SANCTUARY(2014) and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA(2014).

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