Trapped - review
Trapped is a solid debut urban fiction novel from author Maria Hernandez. Although it was released a few years ago, it's soon to be followed by a sequel. Trapped 2 is out in January 2018 and can be pre-ordered now from MCT Publications.
Maria Hernandez was born and raised in East Harlem, New York. The Taft Projects on 115th Street, where she grew up, is the setting for Trapped. Maria's familiarity with this setting, and how much of herself she injected into the main character Angelina, gives the story a realism that seeps through at almost every opportunity.
That thought made her realize Betrayal was the only thing keeping them together.
Angelina is a middle-aged woman, living with her mother, and focused on her career. She's not been lucky in love and her past is overshadowed by a missing father - something which turned her mother to drugs and drink, equally affecting Angelina. Her mother is elderly now, and sober but that past still haunts them both. Angelina clearly cares for her mother but there is a fierce independence that sits between them.
Things heat up when Daryl enters the story. He's an up and coming local author. He has a shady past but he's honest with Angelina about it and the two of them hit it off. They are both what the other needs. Daryl is the gentleman Angelina needs, and she is the business minded woman he needs to help take his books to the next level. Things get heated, too, with a healthy serving of raw sex. But things don't stay rosy for long. Betrayal, in the form of affairs and murder, comes between them. Angelina is trapped. She has to stay strong and avoid slipping into her own battle with drink. And she has to knuckle down to find a way out with her dignity intact. But whatever you do, don't underestimate Angelina.
Both characters felt genuine and were wielded well. When I interviewed Maria Hernandez, I asked her about how she injected herself into her work because I got the sense that she had really put a lot of herself into this debut novel.
The writing in Trapped had clearly been proofread and edited well. This allowed Maria's creativity to shine and I was able to match the pace of the story without distraction or confusion. The plot moved forward with enough excitement to keep me interested throughout, reaching a climax that I hadn't really seen coming but which had me looking forward to how Trapped 2 was going to pan out.
I also enjoyed how Trapped had a focus on the urban fiction publishing business within the story. As an author I was probably bound to enjoy that but I think it would be enjoyable to regular readers too. It certainly was a change from the well trodden plot lines of the genre.
I rate Trapped as four stars. It lured me in with credible characters and an authentic setting. Maria Hernandez has exceeded expectations for a debut novel. I will be picking up Trapped 2 when it's released in January, and I urge Maria to not leave it so long between books again.