'Hush of the Night' is compelling, with realistic characters

This cover image released by Skyhorse Publishing shows "In the Hush Of the Night," a novel by Raymond Benson. (Skyhorse Publishing via AP)

An FBI special agent works to bring down a sex trafficking ring with origins in Russia in Raymond Benson's novel 'In the Hush of the Night'

"In the Hush of the Night: a Novel" (Skyhorse Publishing), by Raymond Benson

A special agent for the FBI works to bring down a sex trafficking ring with origins in Russia in Raymond Benson's latest crime novel, "In the Hush of the Night."

Annie Marino works for the FBI out of Chicago. When a car crash produces more than a dead driver, she learns the woman stashed in the trunk has a tattoo of bloody bear claws on her neck. Several women with the same tattoo have been found over the years, all suspected of being victims of a human trafficking ring. With no leads or suspects, it's been frustrating for the FBI and Marino, who wants to stop these criminals and rescue the women from enslavement and probable death.

Marino's neighbor, Jason Ward, is a recent college graduate whose fiancee's family has Russian ties. The more he questions the motives of his future in-laws, the more he begins to worry.

A young woman from St. Petersburg, Russia, is lured to the United States to pursue her dream of being a fashion model. When she makes it to the U.S., she's thrown into a nightmarish situation. She realizes that she'll have to fight if she wants to survive.

The lives of Marino, Ward and the young Russian woman are destined to collide, and their strength lies in hope and sheer will to overcome impossible odds.

Benson has crafted a compelling story with realistic characters. He doesn't focus on the graphic elements of the story, letting readers fill in the blanks.

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