Traffic Stop: Human Division
By: Stacey Cahill
About the Book
In the placid village of Liberty, Nebraska, everything on the surface is simple. It’s a tight-knit community and the streets are safe. From the outside, families like the Kennedy’s are perfect exemplars of their little community.
Otis Kennedy, the patriarch, serves as the small town’s legal kingpin and good-old-boy extraordinaire. His son, Layne, is a dedicated mortician and single father doing his best to make ends meet for his daughter, Marley.
Marley, however, breaks this mold. A loner by disposition and privy to dark secrets that would destroy her family’s reputation, Marley is disillusioned with the world; her only light in this darkness is her twin brother Seth, a spiritual chimera that acts as her literal guardian angel.
Marley knows the truth; There is a rotten vein that runs through her family, through her town, through society itself: Human Trafficking. Otis, when he’s not at Elk’s Club meetings or on the gold course, acts as legal counsel for a human trafficking ring. Layne suffers every day to forget the death of his first love, Marley’s mother, Lupe.
And when Marley gets caught up in the darkness that pervades her family, it is only the Kennedy’s efforts and her ancestral Mayan ties that can pull her through the abyss.
(2023, paperback, 302 pages)
This book ships in 7-10 business days
5 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
You won’t fall in love with the characters in this book, but they will probably keep you up at night. After meeting some of them, you might feel like you need to take a scalding shower, to listen to some of the counsel they’re given, and to feel grateful if your life story doesn’t match up with Marley’s. It honestly took me a minute to wrap my head around Seth’s character as his is not one I’ve encountered in any other book I’ve read. The story is developed partly through Seth’s sometimes limited and sometimes insightful perspective that propels the story. His character has limitations, but don’t we all only see our side of the story? Debut author Stacey Cahill has managed to weave together many different perspectives in addition to Seth’s. She presents a disturbing reality check into how trauma has written versions of itself, unbidden, into the lives of these characters. The simple thought that “hurt people hurt people” barely scratches the surface here. She does not sidestep the uncomfortable, or even unbearable, showing readers a more complex rendering of the issues – pride, substance abuse, grief, lust, dishonesty – that culminates with human trafficking. Cahill has built characters who aren’t lovable, but they certainly feel authentic. After a few weeks, I still can clearly picture Otis’s car ride with Rob. I can imagine Marley noticing for the first time a lock on her bedroom door. I hear echoes of Linda Lynn’s poignant conversations with Layne Kennedy. While this book shows how damaging one’s choices can be, it also presents the opportunity for healing. Though some of the characters have caused irreparable damage to others, no one is beyond redemption.
November 11, 2023 One of my favorite things about reading a great novel is the picture it paints in my mind, draws me in, and captivates me; How I see and feel about the characters and the emotions that are invoked. I realized shortly after beginning Traffic Stop: Human Division that I would have to re-read the novel right away. I knew there were intentional things, and important details I must be missing, but I couldn’t stop reading to figure them out. I HAD to keep going because I HAD to know what happened next! Amongst the tragedies, there are so many lessons the reader can take away and apply to their own life. Lessons of healthy coping and resolution. Lessons of boundaries, self-love, and honesty. Ultimately, I came away from this novel with an understanding we too can face whatever storm comes next. This novel is a masterpiece. It’s captivating, riveting, and a story the world not only needs to hear, but is going to love. I have told those in my circle that although your topic is an entirely different subject matter than that in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Traffic Stop: Human Division is just as Epic. I am amazed by how you wove the events into a healing tale. What an incredible accomplishment. Tomorrow I will begin again, Part 1: Joyride Dawn Holbein Cromer, Kearney, NE
November 16, 2023 Dear Future Readers, I was captivated by this dynamic novel that carefully guides the reader through several perspectives of individuals involved in intergenerational trauma and human trafficking. The story also brings hope as well by detailing the steps taken toward healing through counseling and family support. The characters have experiences, thoughts, and feelings that many of us can relate to, bringing them to life off the page. I found myself glued to this novel, intrigued by the characters, and with an invested interest in learning how their stories ended. Michelle Allen, Photographer
"Because the author provides a deep dive into each character during their journey together, the reader is able to sympathize with severe generational abuse associated with Marley, Seth, Layne, and Otis. Stacey Cahill weaves the importance of talk therapy throughout the story and provides the reader with a level of comfort and understanding one would typically find impossible when discussing such difficult subjects. There is a great spiritual aspect to this story; in combination with sound counseling practices, these are the only things that could possibly explain drastic changes in the characters over time. Traffic Stop: Human Division" is a deep dive into the minds of both victims and perpetrators and masterfully highlights the importance of accepting help to work through all of life's traumatic events." Bailey J. Koch, Ed.D
November 7, 2023 Review: Traffic Stop: Human Division This story centers around the effects of grief, spirituality, abuse, addiction, and the connection they each have with the human experience. Each character is complex in their own right but shows the type of growth that we would all strive for. The parallels between spirituality and the physical world are a focal point throughout the storyline and give readers a refreshing example of how those who are no longer with us are still influential in how we live our lives every day. Layne, Marley, and Otis are the physical beings that are guided by the spiritual presences of Seth and Lupe with all five characters maintaining intricate relationships with each other. Throughout the story, readers are presented with viewpoints from each character, giving more perspective into their actual thoughts and feelings regarding the past and present issues that they are being faced with. This creative approach causes readers to slow down and truly begin to empathize with each main character throughout some of their most intense situations. If readers go into the story without receiving the storyline with true intention, they may get lost in the different viewpoints that are offered. It is my opinion that the challenge should be accepted by readers to get a full understanding of this family dynamic. The description of the Nebraskan seasons was a welcomed chance to truly imagine the physical environment the characters were experiencing at any given moment. Readers can follow along with the seasons and weather changes that affect moods and everyday life for Midwesterners. A severe thunderstorm was the backdrop of one of the most pivotal parts of the story when a life was lost and caused a permanent void in each character. The same type of thunderstorm was experienced by Marley many years later and instead of causing pain/loss, it was used to show her growth through all the painful things she had experienced. Overall, the connections built between the reader and characters open the door for all parties involved to truly recognize and accept the importance of growth and forgiveness. Congratulations to Stacey on your first novel. We thank you for bringing more light to the issues that are discussed throughout this story! Tryna Kelley, Systems Analyst Healthcare Information Technology