Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Johan Twiss is the author of 30 Red Dresses: Freedom Novella, an international thriller novella. Veata was content with celebrating her birthday on her own, after all, she was now eight. The young Cambodian had been orphaned at the age of six and was living with her uncle in their one-room shack. Life wasn’t always easy with him, as he like to drink and play cards and would hit her for no reason in a drunken rage. She was surprised and excited, however, when he woke up, ate the breakfast she had prepared for him and announced that they would both be going to Phnom Penh, the country’s capital city.
Veata had never been there before, and she was thrilled by this birthday surprise. Her mood was shattered, however, when her uncle left her out in a street and entered a grimy door, warning her harshly not to leave without him. Veata had been sold to a brothel, and her panicked cries were met with savage force. The other girls were sympathetic but wary as the men who ran the brothel brooked no opposition and were brutal when crossed. Her life might never have gone beyond the tawdry stage she found herself shivering on, wearing one of the red dresses she and all the other girls wore, were it not for the once-in-a-lifetime storm that rocked the city and sent muddy water flooding throughout the city and the brothel where she was a captive. Soon, she’d meet the man who would change her life forever. He would become her giant, the huge American author who had come to promote a book and left with her heart and a mission.
Johan Twiss’s international thriller novella, 30 Red Dresses: Freedom Novella, is a fast-paced and exciting story about the efforts being made to halt the human trafficking trade in Cambodia and across the planet. James Moore is an arresting figure, especially in those scenes where the aging author seems to turn back the clock and become the larger-than-life hero Veata and the other girls need so badly. I loved seeing him surpass his own expectations and self-imposed limitations and learn how he could make a difference. Twiss’s story is exceptionally well-crafted and a joy to read, and his message about human trafficking and the way each of us can be part of the solution is brilliant. Twiss’s 30 Red Dresses: Freedom Novella is most highly recommended.