At night, death squads roam the slums of Guatemala City, where no homeless child is safe. Alex Sifuentes lives there in a shelter for orphaned kids, his dream of a better life dashed, when a murderous squad kills his little brother and targets Alex. Forced to leave, he flees with a coyote who smuggles him and other kids into Houston, Texas. Alex is indentured to a cantina owner who will use him any way she pleases, but during a police raid he escapes, finding his way to an exotic shaman who shelters immigrants. Under the shaman’s protection, Alex forms unique bonds with a hardnosed reporter and federal agent, both of whom are committed to ending youth sex trafficking. Since Alex was once in a Guatemalan street gang, he assists the agent’s investigation by joining a gang involved in the crime. Thus, begins another treacherous journey, this time in the United States, a place Alex once considered to be the promise land. A saga of fierce friendships and uncommon courage transforms Alex and those who help him as he starts his new life in America, just a step over rio. This mystery novel, written by Martha Braniff, is based on her work with abused and neglected children and child immigrants over the past thirty years and on actual crimes researched through federal agencies. STEP OVER RIO won the Writer’s League of Texas Mystery/Adventure Novel Award.
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Author: Martha Everhart Braniff
Category: Book – FICTION_MYSTERY and DETECTIVE_GENERAL Book – FICTION_SUSPENSE
Martha Everhart Braniff lives and writes from her Houston, Texas home, and has been a tireless and lifelong champion of the underprivileged. For years, she worked as a nurse at Ripley House in a community health program serving a mostly Hispanic neighborhood. After creating the first art program at the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center, in 1984 she founded Child Advocates, a non-profit organization serving abused children. Her work has given her a special empathy for “saints and sinners”that is reflected in her poems and stories which have received national and regional recognition. Articles about children caught on the dark side of the juvenile justice system have been published in several important journals and newspapers.