The age of the 13-year old female protagonist in my novel, THE TRAZ, has raised the eyebrows of some readers unfamiliar with street life. It seems people hear in the news about child prostitution, child porn, run-aways, and juvenile crime but don't connect those news items to real children. It's easy to close our eyes to such things and pretend such events are happening in an alternate universe or, at the very least, in foreign countries an ocean away.
However, the kids in those headlines are quite real. Youngsters do get involved in street life for various reasons, not the least of which is often the lack of parental guidance. It was not long ago that the body of a young lad was found in a burnt out stolen vehicle not far from where I live. It took police a long time to identify the 14-year old victim because no one reported him missing for several weeks. That is sad...and real.
It isn't only children with questionable parenting that are at risk. Problems common to all teens can cause some to seek out a life of crime. Some teens simply like the rush they get from engaging in illegalities. Others are depressed, trying to escape bullying, seeking to belong. Most have no idea of what they are getting into.
It's about the year young Katrina spends with THE TRAZ, a criminal biker gang. It's not preachy. It just tells her story. Bluntly. Complete with the coarse language of the street. It tells how a brilliant, beautiful and wealthy child gets sucked in by nefarious adults...and how it becomes impossible for her to escape. It tells of drugs, and weapons, and a murder. By book's end, the chrome on those exciting Harleys is a lot duller than when Katrina first clamoured on one.