Through the Fire: Raj Lowenstein
Expressing the idea that someone is considered hated, evil and has defiled others. Would you face every challenge that comes your way and would you fight for the person who needs you to nurture and protect them? Michael Braun is deaf and petrified after being brutally attacked by someone from her past. But, waking up in the bed of Detective Daniel Hartman is a shock and surprise to both of them. Not sure of her surroundings or the man’s face that is staring at her thinking she knows him yet not realizing he’s the brother of her friend David and his husband Kelly, she immediately forms a bond with him. Not knowing anything about her or how she came to be there, Dan realizes that the responsibility for her safety and care are his. Can he accept her and her fears? From the start you can feel the tension dissipating and the heat rising as they slowly and carefully get to know each other. But, someone is watching their every move someone named Catfish whose wife has no idea that her husband is a diabolical killer just like his father.
The prologue sets the scene and the ton for the reasons why this man is do disturbed and learns the definition of what his father calls an Abomination. Two children severely tortured and defiled this man justifies in his sick mind that they must be eliminated. But, one of his captives escapes and the police come and they are taken away to be with their grandparents and the father feels disgraced and now in the present Cat Fisher aims to rectify what no one did in the past, namely his father which is rid the world of the Abomination: Could that be Michael and her brother Sean? Are they the two children from the prologue and how does Sean know when he speaks to Michael of the TTY system that this lunatic might have found them?
Michael and Dan began their relationship and share it with his fellow officers and his family but something would eventually change it all when truths would come out in a harsh way. Realities are what you make of them and Michael lived for over 30 years in fear that the truth about her past would come out in the present and she would lose it all. Every step of the way she second-guessed his love and whether it would last. No matter how he tried to protect and understand her she never told him about her past or about this sick man that was her father’s half-brother and how he defiled her and wanted her love but in a sick and perverted way. His wife never realizing she was married to a man who was delusional. Anger raged within Catfish as he remembers the past, the two days of beatings for the Abomination and then losing both children when they were saved but were they ever really free?
A catfish is defined as someone who pretends to be someone they are not. They do not use social media to create false identities but they pursue deceptive online romances but in this case, Catfish pursues Michael within his own warped mind. Getting to hear the killer’s voice and the way he uses others to torment Dan as the hooker is taken and forced to repeat word for word or be punished what Catfish has made her memorize. Then a blind boy is next and forced to do the same but first this sick man believes that defiling this young child is okay but will he remember it after the drugs wear off? Meeting with the profiler was difficult as she remembered little of what happened in the past yet when focused on everything she just might be more than haunted but faced with the harsh reality of who she was and what she decided to become. Her past is revealed, her parents dealing with her choices but somewhere along the line Catfish resented and hated her called this young girl the Abomination and wanting to end what his father wanted to in the past and kill her in the present. As Ron the young blind boy relates that the man’s accent was deep Georgia and tells in his own way what happened when he completed what he said how did he know that he complied? How did he know to call this boy and tell him he and his friend Kev were fine?
David and Kelly were two men who were married and best friends with Michael including their triplets who like Michael were deaf and all used American Sign Language to communicate. All could sign and Michael as the story relates at times you can tell she could lip-read to understand what others were saying. This novel brings to light how important it is to accept the gay community, those with disabilities and those that choose to be someone other than who they were born.
The scenes between Michael and Dan are breathtaking and warm yet you can feel the uncertainty within her as she fears he might leave her for good. With her brother coming and Sean buying her a huge penthouse to live in and for him when he is in town, we learn that he’s a famous basketball player and has many companies that want him as their spokesperson to endorse whiter products like Nike. But, when Sean realizes how this madman might have found them and no one realizes that he entered the penthouse and placed surveillance equipment and manages to get into places that should have had better security, the reader fears for Michael’s life as this man knows no boundaries and fears no one.
Dan and Michael get away for the weekend and he asks her to marry him but when an envelope is delivered to the station he literally freaks out and the scene between him and Michael says it all. Fear, anger, rage, lies and feeling betrayed is his first response as someone is close by when Michael reenters the penthouse and the end just might justify this man’s means if someone does not get there in time.
Face to face with this killer and hearing his rants, raves and his justification for wanting her dead will she give up? Will she give into this man or will Dan save her in time proving that he truly will do anything to have her in his life including walking Through The Fire to come out in the sunlight? A story that could be ripped right out of the headlines and not far from fiction but could be fact Michael is a strong character, Dan is her equal and match but will they survive or will they drift apart? Author Raj Lowenstein reminds us of the importance of tolerance, acceptance, understanding, supporting the gay and transgender communities and that everyone is entitled to be whomever they chose.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
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