Passing the Torch

Fiction - Suspense
39 Pages
Reviewed on 02/05/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

L.L. Sanders began writing short horror stories as a hobby in elementary school more than twenty years ago. Now she lives her dream of writing post-apocalyptic erotic romances under Leslie Lee Sanders, and continues to write haunting tales of horror and thriller under L.L. Sanders. She resides in Queen Creek, Arizona, with her husband, three daughters, and a wild beast she calls her imagination.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

L.L. Sanders writes an intense psychological drama in Passing the Torch. “Good girls will do anything for their fathers,” is embedded into Mesa Kingston’s soul. After her mother abandons them, Mesa and her father would visit the family’s cottage to escape the city life and to bond. Yet, what goes on there far surpasses fishing and exploring nature. Her father’s admonition is: Anything that happened at the cottage stayed at the cottage. Mesa torches the cottage in an attempt to silence the tormenting screams. Hearing the sirens approaching, she stands, watching the place burn, patiently waiting to be arrested. In interrogation, she recalls memories from her childhood. However, what is important is what she isn't saying.

L.L. Sanders has successfully penned the elements of a thrilling short story. Passing the Torch piques your curiosity and then pulls you in with its startling book cover and opening narrative hook. As a reader, you are thrust into the setting, and immediately know something eerie is going on. It is all about Mesa, the protagonist. You sense the internal struggle of her character, not so much as what she says, but what she doesn't say. Sanders patiently guides the suspense within the plot. One of my favorite mood elements is the intriguing use of the jigsaw puzzle; it is an impressive undercurrent to the flow of the action. The story is told from Mesa’s point of view, which vacillates from past events to the current situation. This technique reveals the innocence eye of the child within the disturbed adult, making Passing the Torch a fascinating read.

Patricia Day

In Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders, the main character, Mesa, relates how her life has progressed since the age of three. She tells of tragedies, deaths, and misadventure involving her mother, her father and grandmother. Events in her short life have confused her; some have even caused her fear. Throughout the book, Mesa shares her deepest sensations. She is never quite certain whether her memories are real or imagined. Her recollections feel warped – but she does not know why this is so. Sometimes, she cannot sleep because of horrid memories, and there are always the voices. Her daddy reassures her with his constant edification and his love. Their favorite place to be together is the family cottage. This is where they can escape the rigors and routines of city life and satisfy their shared love of nature.

On one particular trip, they discover an intruder at their cottage. She is unkempt, and attempts to escape. She has to be taken care of. Mesa’s daddy tells her what she must do, and she obeys. After all, that is what she always does. Daddy knows what is best. The woman is dealt with, but the event triggers a series of offensive memories, and Mesa reluctantly realizes that her life has been a sham. The voices and screams of her past and present are revealing a world that threatens to thrust her into a new reality. It is a place of untold horror, and life as she knows it falls away and a new reality unfolds.

How this affects her, and dictates her behavior towards her father is expertly woven together to a somewhat unexpected end. Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders is a short story comprised of many deeply emotional layers. I read this book, quietly determining what had happened in Mesa’s life. The end was not a complete surprise to me, but it could well be for you. A good, but disturbing read, but thoroughly entertaining nonetheless.

Faridah Nassozi

From when she was very little, Mesa's hope was to always be a good girl to her daddy. With only one parent, she was always afraid of what would happen if her father left her, but fortunately she always felt assured of his love. Bonding with her father meant trips to their family cottage, just the two of them, secluded from the rest of the world. As she grew up, the visits to the cottage continued and with every visit memories were created, but these were not the typical memories a little girl creates with her father. Her memories were instead filled with excruciating screams from the women whose lives had been taken, their bodies buried behind the cottage. In the end, she could not take it anymore and had to destroy the place where those horrific memories were created, but not even a fire could bring an end to her agony. Something worse lies beneath the horrors.

Passing the Torch by by L.L. Sanders is a heartbreaking short story that tells of a young girl's endurance of horror at the hands of the one person whose love and approval she would do anything to keep, and her mind's attempt to deal with those horrors. The story delivered a unique plot with so much depth and a main character so compelling that she pulls you into the agony of her life and you feel her pain as she narrates her story. I could not help but feel pain for Mesa as she tried to deal with the dreadful hand fate had dealt her, struggling to put her memories to rest with no success. It is simply amazing how L.L. Sanders managed tell such a profound story with very few words and deliver such deep emotional connection between the reader and Mesa. By the time I was done reading the first chapter, I knew it was going to be an engrossing read all the way. Passing the Torch is an award-winning short story and the twist at the end is one I did not see coming.

Paula of Harps Romance Bo

I received this book as an arc for a honest review. Mesa was raised by a single father who took her to an old family cabin for father/daughter time over the years. the book starts with her 8 year old memories and different memories over the years until present day at age eighteen. She apparently knew her father murdered women and buried them there. There was a Mona Lisa picture puzzle and every time he added a new piece another woman had been buried in the back yard. The author makes the puzzle symbolic and the voices in Mesa's head are also symbolic. Are the voices in Mesa's head real? The author has written a suspenseful book and the ending will blow you away.

Patricia, Room With Books

I haven’t been a fan of reviewing short stories as I rarely feel connected to the story or the characters before the story ends, but I am certainly thrilled (no pun intended, truly) that I chose to review Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders. This is the first of her writing that I have read.

I love psychological thrillers and have since a relatively young age. I can say with a great amount of certainty that Ms. Sanders is a master at her craft if this story is any indication of her abilities.

Within these pages she has developed characters that are believable and relatable while managing to keep them steeped in mystery. The plot is easy to see through the first several chapters and I thought I had it all figured out, being the master of the fives w's (who, what, when, where, and why) that I am. Suddenly, out of left field, comes the ending and I never saw it coming!

I don’t wish to steal the thunder of this incredible short story, but I promise you will be surprised from beginning to end.

I highly recommend Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders and give it five steaming, hot cups of Room With Books coffee!

M Galbraith

I thoroughly enjoyed this short story as it left me wondering where it was all going until the end. Fantastic opening made me want to read on. At only 43 pages it certainly delivers a punch. Well done L.L.Sanders.

James Phillips

Very well written psychological thriller that draws the reader right into the story. The characters are very believable and have plenty of faults. Very emotional book with a totally unexpected ending. Highly recommend this book for most adult readers.

Marjorie Cunningham

Although I'm not an author, I can appreciate the difficulty character development can be when writing a full-length novel. This author has done a marvelous job of fleshing out the character of Mesa in very few words, which is a remarkable accomplishment and is indicative of a highly talented author. In only a scant 25 pages (on my e-reader), the author grabbed my heart and mind and didn't let go until the very last word. Engrossing psychological thriller for adults, one that I highly recommend. I'll be checking out this author's previous works. ...