Please join us in welcoming author Cody Kennedy today, to celebrate the release of his new novel, Thárros. Enjoy Cody’s guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a signed print copy of Omorphi and a signed print copy of Thárros.
It’s Release Day for Thárros!
A very special thank you to all the wonderful folks at The Novel Approach for hosting me for the release of Thárros! I have celebrated the release of every book on The Novel Approach. EVERY.ONE. So much so, it’s an official tradition and I owe Lisa a debt of gratitude for perpetually accommodating me. It means more to me than I can put into words. Thank you, Lisa! It’s great to be here!
Thárros is one of two sequels to Ómorphi and is book two in the Elpída Series. Elpída is the Greek word for hope. Ómorphi chronicles Christy’s escape from a world of abuse, his move to the United States, his meeting Michael, and their fledgling relationship. While the story centers on Christy’s slow struggle to begin to live again, it also deals with coming out, hostile teammates at school and, eventually, the kidnapping of Christy by one of his past abusers and Michael’s daring rescue of him. Thárros chronicles their slow recovery and return to normalcy after the kidnapping, prom, graduation, and the trial to prosecute Christy’s kidnapper.
The trials to prosecute child abusers are brutal for victims. Every ounce of the victim’s life and the abuse suffered is put on display to an infinite degree not only for all to see, but also for all to judge. Sadly, fewer than 10% of abuse and rape cases are prosecuted, and no matter the evidence put forth, the likelihood of success in such prosecutions is less than 50%. The trauma a victim endures to prosecute an abuser is double that of the initial crime(s). Why double? Because the victim relives every moment of the initial crime(s), as well as a new perpetration, that of injustice. What occurs in a courtroom is complicated, bound by rules that may appear nonsensical to the outside world, most importantly: has nothing to do with justice. I’ll talk more about this throughout the book tour. As such, we who advocate for abused youth often do not look to prosecute abusers, but to arrive at a settlement of matters through an agreed-upon sentence and restitution, if any.
The story of Ómorphi is told through Michael’s eyes. Michael’s perspective continues through Thárros to a degree, but we begin to see things through Christy’s eyes for the first time. It is raw and heartrending, and represents but a fraction of how victims of long-term abuse feel about themselves. In Thárros, Nero has been honest with Christy and Christy understands the likelihood—rather the lack of likelihood—of success in prosecuting Yosef Sanna. Michael doesn’t understand the bad odds until he is at trial, and the below excerpt tells you exactly how he feels upon learning of it.
“Thank you for answering my questions, Michael,” Mr. Gordon finished.
Judge Anthony, who’d all but ignored Michael throughout his testimony, offered a brief, courteous smile, and he felt a flicker of encouragement.
“Mr. Charleston? Do you have questions for this witness?” Judge Anthony asked.
Mr. Charleston stood. “Not at this time, your honor.”
No? No? How could that be?
“Subject to recall,” Mr. Charleston said.
Michael had no idea what that meant, and he looked at Nero, who remained mute.
The judge glared at Mr. Charleston as if he’d done something majorly wrong. Then she turned to Michael. “You may step down, Mr. Sattler. Subject to recall.”
Nero motioned Michael to step down from the witness box.
When Michael took the two steps down from the box, his legs wobbled and threatened to buckle. He hadn’t realized he’d been shaking throughout his testimony, and he felt like the lamest witness ever. He walked on rubbery legs through the low gate to where his parents waited with everyone else.
“Fifteen minute recess,” Judge Anthony said. She stood and left the courtroom without further comment.
Michael looked at Nero. “Why no—?”
Nero put a finger to his lips and motioned for everyone to follow him from the courtroom. When they reached the hallway, Nero turned back and spoke in low tones. “You’ve been dismissed subject to recall, which means he can recall you to the stand after Christy’s testimony.”
“He’s hoping Christy’s testimony will controvert yours.”
Michael frowned and thought hard. “Why would it?”
“Okay. What happens now?”
“When we return it will be Christy’s turn to testify.”
“Okay. Can I go check on him?”
No? No? What the hell? “Mr. Santini, he’s scared. I’m not sure he’s going to make it through this.”
“If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”
The callousness of Nero’s words caused Michael’s spine to ignite like a Roman candle. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“If he doesn’t make it through his testimony, it’s a testament to how traumatized he is,” Nero said calmly.
Michael tucked his chin in disbelief as he boiled. “What? Like you stick him up there only to prove Yosef ruined his life and he breaks? Like some sick kind of pin the tail on the donkey?”
Nero gave him a hard look. “You want Yosef put away for life, do you not?”
“Yeah, but not at Christy’s expense. He’s hanging on by a thread!”
Nero’s eyes hardened even more. “It’s Christy’s very expense that will give the judge the opportunity to enhance the sentencing.”
“Opportunity? Like it’s a maybe?”
“That’s all it ever is in circumstances such as these, Michael.”
“Such as what?”
“Circumstances in which sexual abuse is alleged, particularly sexual abuse of a male victim.”
Michael gaped at Nero. “You have to be fucking kidding me!”
“Michael, keep your voice down.” Mac put his hand on Michael’s shoulder in an attempt to calm him, and Michael shoved it away.
“Let go of me! Yosef didn’t only rape Christy over and over again from the time he was five fucking years old! He beat him! He starved him then made him eat the unthinkable and lick up his own blood! He didn’t let him sleep for days! He burned him! He branded him! He broke his bones! He fucked with his mind! His dick and balls are scarred from what Yosef did to him! Can you imagine that pain? Can you? That bastard tortured Christy in every way conceivable for thirteen years, and it’s a wonder Christy isn’t insane! And the best he gets if he testifies is a maybe? Torture him some more for a motherfucking maybe? Why don’t you just sign Christy’s death warrant, Mr. Santini!”
“Michael, that’s enough!” Mac boomed.
“Fuck you! Fuck you all!” Michael took off down the hallway, tears blurring his vision. He wanted to see Christy. He wanted to salvage the vestiges of the person he loved more than anything in the world before the world tore his pretty Christy apart. How dare they torture him more for a fucking maybe!
We’ll see much more of Christy’s perspective in book 3, Elpída, and his infinite courage continues as his hope builds against all odds. Thank you for reading Thárros and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a signed print copy of Ómorphi and Thárros!
About the Book
Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear,
not the absence of fear. ~Mark Twain
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.
Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.
But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.
Now available at Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner Press, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Omni Lit/All Romance eBooks!
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About the Author
Cody is an award-winning author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Among many other awards, Omorphi was a runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and Slaying Isidore’s Dragons was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Cody does respond to blog comments and emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.