Separated at the Border - a Novel
Michael Walsten, author
In Separated at the Border, Diamond Herrera, a 24-year-old freelance journalist and Jason Taylor, an ex-Army Ranger and journalism professor team up to fight human trafficking and abuse at a privately-run immigrant youth detention facility in the Florida Everglades. Along the way, Di and Jason are forced to take on a Miami-based gang and a corrupt facility administrator while skirting the law and dodging a suspicious Broward County Sheriff's detective. Separated at the Border tells the story of a young woman's quest for professional and personal fulfillment while searching for a solution to the plight of incarcerated and abused immigrant children.
Walsten’s gripping debut humanizes the Southern border crisis by focusing on two Honduran refugees: 15-year-old Antonio Vazquez and his seven-year-old sister, Isabella. With their father murdered by the MS-13 gang and their mother missing, the Vazquez siblings hope to start a new life in Houston with their aunt. But once they cross the border, the two are separated. Antonio ends up at Florida’s Everglades Detention Facility, whose head, Rebecca Cross, has been selling some of the children sent to her to a Dominican gang that has expanded into human trafficking. That corruption comes to the attention of an idealistic fledgling journalist, Diamond Herrera, who’s outraged at the federal government’s family separation policy. When Diamond learns how Cross is treating her charges, she contacts her old journalism professor, Jason Taylor. Jason’s skills as a former Army Ranger come in handy when Diamond persuades him that direct private action is needed to rescue children. Never mind the clichéd romance that develops between Diamond and Jason. Fans of timely topical thrillers will be pleased. (BookLife)