If you are disturbed by my writing because it resembles your behavior, it’s time to reexamine your behavior rather than criticize my writing.
A coalition of religious and corporate leaders band together to institute a new era of Reconstruction—herding the populous into dystopian communities controlled by cult leaders who regulate their religious, political, and ideological views.
With privacy being a thing of the past, A.I. technology track citizens’ every move, and anyone defying sect rules is mobbed, shamed, and gaslighted into submission.
Three best friends, Madeline Brown, Jazmine Wilson, and Jacques Dunbar are ensnared by the leaders of New Life of Hope, a religious cult with ties to underworld figures, The Troop, shadowy enforcers of the Circle of Nine, a secret society with power and reach across the globe.
Leaders of New Life of Hope will stop at nothing to indoctrinate the trio into their religious sect. The friends fight back with grit, strength, and wit, determined to expose the fascism sweeping the country.
Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite on 01/22/2023
A gated community taken over by a coalition of religious and corporate leaders has control of almost all the inhabitants and plans expansion. Jazmine Wilson is the single holdout and her friends, Madeline Brown and Jacques Dunbar, quickly become ensnared in the New Life of Hope leader's plan of domination and control through every kind of Artificial Intelligence tool available. The NLoH, a coalition of religious and corporate leaders, intends to build a new era of cultism to regulate group members' religious, political, and ideological views. Aside from the religious leaders, a second arm of the cult, The Troop, are enforcers of a secret society with power and reach across the globe known as the Circle of Nine. The cult leaders, however, have badly underestimated Jazz and her cohorts who fight back with grit, strength, and wit, determined to not only exact payment for crimes against them but to expose the fascism sweeping the country.
Cult's Prey is an inside look into cultism and the deepening divides among political and racial prejudices, and religious indoctrination across all spectrums of American life. Based on true events, Mary Longley displays a deep understanding of the racial, misogynistic, and religious prejudices that plague society in this fast-paced and dramatic story of the social structures that, without a strong public defense, could easily slip into dystopia. Longley's characters, both protagonist and antagonist, are as true to life as currently populate the United States, making the events in Cult's Prey all the more realistic while serving as a mirror of society at large. A fascinating story and a cautionary tale not to be missed.
February 19, 2023
Longley’s engrossing latest novel offers a glimpse into a dystopian future in which the masses are controlled by cult leaders who regulate their religious, political, and ideological views. A new era of Reconstruction has begun. A.I. technology is tracking peoples’ every move. Anyone who defies the sect rules is punished harshly. When Jazmine Wilson becomes a target of the leaders of the New Life of Hope, a religious cult with ties to underworld figures, her best friends Madeline Brown and Jacques Dunbar know they must find a way to get her out of the difficult situation. The heart of the story lies in Madeline, Jazmine, and Jacques’s relationship with each other. Longley does a good job delving into her protagonists’ psyches, particularly Jazmine’s: Her shrewd observations about a woman struggling to gather her courage in the face of unexpectedly trying circumstances register beautifully. Longley beautifully uses elements of SF and dystopia to explore cult mentality, the misuse of religion and power, and how easy it’s for the common man to fall prey to such fraudulent practices. Amid all the organized religion drama, this is really the story of the power of friendship, courage in the face of impossible situations, unity, solidarity, and self-discovery. Entertaining and engrossing.
Cult’s Prey opens with a seemingly-ordinary morning in the commonplace world of Maddy. She's embarking on the second phase of her life, which includes exercise. But something has gone awry in the process, because her friend Jazz has become immersed in a new church that mutual friend Jacques believes has all the makings of a cult. The three friends are not immune to its draw, either, as events prove.
As Maddy, Jacques, and Jazz find their lives entwined and changed in unexpected ways, they build both resistance to and connections with the cult and each other that challenge their perceptions of cults and religious fervor:
“How dare this cult play games with my livelihood? How can people who claim to be doing God’s work, do so many hateful things to others? This is about the zealots’ thirst for power and control,” Jacques railed.
The cult targets the three friends in different ways, and as its methods and purposes emerge, readers receive a thought-provoking discourse not just on cult attractions, but how New Life of Hope actually represents a growing tide of repression and fascism in America.
The underlying social and political commentary is presented through the changing experiences and perceptions of the three friends, who find themselves in an unexpected struggle internally and externally at a time in their lives when they should be relaxing and exploring other options.
Mary Longley is skilled at contrasting the changing lives and perceptions of each character. Maddy faces challenges to her university job and her future, Jazz finds herself drawn ever deeper into a spiritual conundrum, and Jacques explores the angles and oddness of behaviors which increasingly indicate that the population around him is being drawn into the cult by nefarious means.
Jacque's own observation captures the changing atmosphere of this engrossing story in a nutshell: “I might sound like a broken record, but this whole thing is Get Out meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” said Jacques."
The result is a rollicking ride through changing belief systems, organized underworld activities, and the evolution of a police state that replaces freedom with fear.
Important lessons, these, for modern times; making Cult’s Prey an attraction not just for leisure readers, but discussion groups looking to open dialogues about cults, followers, and methods of cult conversion that fly under the radar until they are too apparent to be denied ... and too strong to resist.
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The coming-of-age story of three seventeen-year-old African American best friends in 1960s Harlem, blossoming into womanhood and navigating the racial and political unrest sweeping the nation. Butterflies is a heartwarming story of love, family, friendship, and resilience.
Ode to Harlem
They migrated north, looking to leave behind those dusty trails and the banality of that tired ol’ separate and unequal and found themselves in a vibrant town called Harlem.
The cotton there was a club where the precious voices of Ella and Louis blew the roof off the segregationist policy with talent too rich to deny.
There would be a renaissance where Langston reminded the status quo that, I Too, Am America and Zora’s Eyes Were Watching God whose eyes were watching all.
Here the uncaged like Maya penned Africa and the fiery voice of Malcolm extolled African.
Preachers ruled the roost with an iron fist of morality.
Parents worked hard to make ends meet and when things got Bumpy those in that life controlled the streets.
Harlem’s Mr. Smith was Mr. Powell, who went to Washington, activating his activism in the capital city built by his forefathers.
In Harlem, three young women came of age,
Learning from family
Here in Harlem, they became
Violet could not believe her eyes. Right there in Harlem, in an abandoned lot near a rusted-out car, surrounded by weeds, was a black and gold butterfly fluttering around in the sunshine. She stared at Cecily who was gently placing the butterfly in a glass jar.
Cecily, the cheery optimist, was right. You could find beauty anywhere if you were willing to look for it.
The Book of Poetry and Short Stories