Monday, September 26, 2022

A Social Worker’s Perilous Journey to Avenge Her Sister

Carla Damron

Advocate for human trafficking survivors pens thriller with a message of awareness and vigilance.

Award-winning author and social worker Carla Damron, named by NAMI as an Outstanding Mental Health Professional of the Year, uses fiction to address social justice issues, and her latest release is no exception. Emotion-driven, The Orchid Tattoo (Koehler Books, Sept. 30, 2022) is one part of Damron’s work as an advocate for human trafficking survivors and people with mental illnesses.

Her previous work includes The Stone Necklace, winner the 2017 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Best Novel, which led award-winning author Pat Conroy to say “this is a novelist to be read again and again.”

In The Orchid Tattoo, social worker Georgia Thayer can balance her own mental illness with the demands of an impossible job. Mostly. But when her sister vanishes in the dead of night, her desperate quest to find Peyton leads to a multi-tentacled human trafficking network. 

When Georgia learns that her sister was brutally murdered trying to help a young victim called “Kitten,” she picks up where Peyton left off, and travels a treacherous path to expose the kingpin of the Estate, a luxurious brothel servicing rich and powerful men, and rescue his victims. 

Kitten is determined to escape. She won’t be trapped like the others. She won’t sell her soul like Lillian, victim-turned-madam, feeding the dark appetites of international business moguls and government leaders. 

Aided by Kitten, Georgia maneuvers to bring down the Estate and expose its dark secrets, but her efforts place her--and the very few people she allows to get close--in grave danger.

Carla Damron is a social worker, advocate and author whose last novel, The Stone Necklace (about grief and addiction) won the 2017 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Best Novel and was selected as the One Community Read for Columbia SC. Damron is also the author of the Caleb Knowles mystery novels and has published numerous short stories, essays, and op-eds. Damron holds an MSW and an MFA. Her careers of social worker and writer are intricately intertwined; all of her novels explore social issues like addiction, homelessness, mental illness, and human trafficking. In her spare time, Damron volunteers with the ›League of Women Voters, Sisters in Crime, Palmetto Chapter (President), her church, and Mutual Aid Midlands. Find out more about her at

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