Deadly Traffic: Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.
After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of town, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?
Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.
Welcome, Mickey. Congratulations on your new book! What is Deadly Traffic really about?
Deadly Traffic deals with the issue of immigration fraud from both sides: those who profit from bringing them in and the illegals themselves. The book is a different take on the subject, seen from the eyes of a high school teacher with students from immigrant families caught up in the illegal trade.
What inspired you to write Deadly Traffic?
I was inspired to write the book after reading some nonfiction books about contemporary domestic slavery and human trafficking.
Tell us a little about your main characters.
Kendra Desola is a high school teacher with a compulsive personality and too much curiosity. She also thinks she can and should help every one of her students after they get into trouble. In this book I introduce Win Ni, a young man with more charm than is good for him. He’s smart but his morals aren’t quite as strong as his desire to become rich.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I don’t have any particular writing techniques. I do outline but it isn’t a fixed list. It’s more like one of those puzzle games in a frame where you can slide the pieces around until the entire picture emerges.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
The message in Deadly Traffic is that on hot button issues like immigration, we all like to think we have a strong grip on right and wrong, but when it’s down to working reality, things are often not as easy to decide.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
What colors my writing is my long stint as a public high school teacher. Deadly Traffic, and School of Lies before it, include many scenes from real life with important aspects changed to protect the guilty and for the convenience of the novelist.
What do you like to read?
I read several genres. My personal taste in crime fiction runs to traditional mysteries. I usually stay clear of books with serial killers and a lot of gore. I love books by British novelists like Elizabeth George, Reginald Hill and historical novelists like Sansom and Franklin. When I read books by European authors I have to use the dictionary—not because they’re writing “British” but because their vocabulary is expansive. I also read a lot of fantasy and science fiction. In nonfiction I like to read about history, explorations and inventions but will read politics and current events books as well.
Where can people learn more about your books?
I have a website, www.mickeyhoffman.com where you can read excerpts from my two novels. There’s a link to my blog from there.
Mickey Hoffman was born in Chicago, and attended public schools where she acquired the strong suspicion that some of her teachers might be human. She wasn’t able to prove this fanciful thinking until much later, when she became a high school teacher herself.
Before landing in the halls of academia, she worked in a variety of jobs, including computer typesetting and wholesale frozen fish sales.
The author is also a printmaker and painter and resides on the West Coast with her long suffering mate, eight marine aquariums and a very large cat. Mickey is also the author of School of Lies, the first Kendra Desola mystery.
Click here to read the first chapter of: Deadly Traffic
Click here to read an excerpt from: Deadly Traffic