Chaparral Press recently released Ashley Warren’s debut novel, Survivors’ Dawn.
Folks, you need to download this novel and read it right now, because Survivors’ Dawn deals with a sensitive and important subject: the crisis of sexual assault on college campuses.
I know what you’re thinking: who the heck wants to read a novel about sexual assault? I’ll give you three reasons:
1. Great characters.
Brooke Flanagan, Lauren Le, and Nikki Towers–all young college women–are strangers with different backgrounds at the beginning of the story. By the end, having worked together in a harrowing struggle for justice, they are best friends. It was this story of the three different women that drew me in from chapter one.
Colin Jordan, a charming blue-blooded senior, is evil personified and easy to hate. You will despise Colin. There were times when I wanted to jump inside the novel to pummel him senseless. Colin—and others like him—deserves the worst kind of punishment.
On the other hand, Brooke’s mother, Karen, is easy to love. Her reaction to the crisis in her daughter’s life brought a tear to my eye. I can only hope I would react in a similar way if put in the same position as Karen Flanagan.
I liked the police detective in the story: Abhinav Sharma. His steadfast determination to bring a criminal to justice reminded me of my friend Lieutenant Rico Carrillo of Austin’s finest.
2. Great plot.
This is a terrific novel. Warren has woven the tale into the fabric of a suspenseful crime story, and it is a real page-turner. The story is structured in four parts. The first three deal with the assault and aftermath of each of the heroes. The fourth part brings them all together in an exciting and hopeful ending.
3. Critical acclaim.
Survivors’ Dawn has an average reader rating of 4.8 stars and recently won the B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree award. Here is a quote from a book blogger:
“I liked the way the author brought the lives of these young women together through a time of difficulty and how the young women grew into individuals throughout the novel.” – Books For Books
Having said all of that, the novel does deal with a tough subject, and the author includes this trigger warning up front:
No in-the-moment scenes of sexual assault appear in the novel, but the story concerns that topic, and those actions are portrayed in the thoughts and dialogue of the characters.
A contemporary novel, Survivor’s Dawn wrestles with issues of privilege, sexual assault, and the responsibility of academic institutions to protect their students.
I give Survivors’ Dawn an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Disclaimer: Joe Robbins is a fictional character. Even so, his opinions leap from the keyboard unbidden, and thus, out of necessity, the author and the publisher disavow any responsibility for his words.