book review,  Books

Lone Star Book Blog Tour: Searching For Pilar (Review & Giveaway)

Today on the blog I’m covering a book that, living in Dallas along what I’ve discovered is a major highway for human trafficking, I approached with some trepidation. However, between a truly gripping story line, believable characters and a fast pace, this debut novel by Patricia Hunt Holmes kept me turning pages – even when the pages got tough to read.

Read on for more about Searching for Pilar and enter the giveaway for a chance at a copy of the book and more!

Genre: Contemporary Suspense / Thriller
Publisher: River Grove Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 320 pages

Scroll down for giveaway!

Pilar, an innocent young wife and mother, is abducted during a fake job interview in Mexico City and forced into sex slavery in Houston. Can she survive the horrors of a world-one which many good Americans don’t see or ignore-long enough for her brother Diego to find her?

Searching for Pilar breaks open the secretive and dangerous world of sex trafficking, while exploring human nature and our connections to each another. Sex trafficking might sound like something that only occurs in third world countries but the reality is far from that misconception. The work of Stoddard Law Firm has shown sex trafficking continues to leave a streak of distruction even in places like Atlanta. The character of Diego is an accurate representation of someone intertwined heavily with the world of sex trafficking. Diego’s guilt transforms him from a rudderless youth into a man of purpose, and courage. While he searches, Pilar finds a strength that could save herself and a young girl who needs her. The themes of family, love, faith and the law intertwine in this action-packed tale of the Bayou City.




“Patricia Holmes fictionalizes the heartbreaking reality of cross-border sex trafficking in her novel, Searching for Pilar. This cautionary tale should be required reading for high school classes to foster awareness, understanding, and ultimately solutions to this horrific epidemic.” —Joanne F. Phillips, author of Revenge of the Cube Dweller.

“In Searching for Pilar, Patricia Hunt Holmes makes us aware of the terrible nature of sex trafficking in the context of a fast-paced, exciting Houston story that moves from affluence and glitz to barrio cantinas and the federal courthouse. The charitable, can-do nature of Houston is reflected in the wide cast of residents who help a young man on an extremely dangerous mission to find his kidnapped sister. This book will be an added weapon in our fight against sex trafficking.” –Sylvester Turner, Mayor, City of Houston


Searching For Pilar was a powerful, terrible look into the world of sex trafficking as it follows a young mother abducted and forced into this world. I tip my hat to author Patricia Hunt Holmes simply on the amount of research that needed to go into this book, as I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it was to process what these women endure.

The variety of ways that she and the other girls abducted with her in Mexico is an eye opener. As she is taken from Mexico to Houston, we see where trafficking coexists alongside impressive sky scrapers, and money, and businessmen, and the horror of this reality is shocking.


In the small windowless rooms in the back of these clubs, the men never stopped coming. There were old men and young men. Some were white, some were Hispanic, some were black or shades of brown. During sports season, athletes came to the club. Pilar tried to get the American men to talk so that she could learn more English and prepare for making her way home, should she escape, but most of the time she was too tired to try.


Pilar is a remarkable character for the strength that she possesses and the kindness she shows for the other girls that suffer through this ordeal with her. The strength of her faith never wavers as she hopes against hope for a way out of her situation – unlike many of the other girls she encounters, she never gives up hope that she will escape, even though she fears she wouldn’t be able to return to her family for the shame that she feels would be brought on them.

The pain, brutality and inhumanity of Pilar’s situation is balanced by the near herculean efforts of her brother Diego to locate her. The path he takes, and the unrelentless searching is a testament to the ties that bind family.

The book brings to light so many other issues related to sex trafficking – how the girls are treated should they escape (and well as their ability to cope with all they have been through), the way that these girls are looked at wrongly, when they are truly victims of circumstance.

The strength of Searching For Pilar is in the author’s characterizations – she does a wondrous job of bringing the characters to life. Where the bad guys could easily becomes cartoonish in stereotype, she makes them terrifyingly real. There were a few scenes that were difficult to read, and the description felt a bit awkward in the first rape scene – but I can’t imagine how difficult it was to write, so I quickly moved past it.

The book sets a steady pace and despite the difficult subject I found it hard to put down.

This is an incredible debut novel, and one that needs to be read. I think you’ll find it quite eye opening, as well. I know I hugged my sweet girl a little tighter when I finally turned the last page of this book.


Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP. She was consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers in Houston, and awarded the highest degree by her peers in Martindale Hubbell. She was a frequent speaker at national public finance and healthcare conferences. Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.


Patricia has been a member and board member of social service organizations in Houston that focus on helping women, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red. She was a founding member and first board chair of Houston Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants. For the past five years, she has been taking writing workshops with Inprint, associated with the outstanding University of Houston Creative Writing Program. She began to write Searching for Pilar in a workshop after learning that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the country.

1st & 2nd Prizes: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + Mexican Necklace
3rd Prize: Signed Copy of Searching for Pilar + $20 Amazon Gift Card
(Open to U.S. Residents Only)



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One Comment

  • Kristine Hall

    Another great review. Sometimes for change to happen, we have to read those books that make us uncomfortable and are tough to get through. This sounds like one of them. Thanks for the post.

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