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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.