Dark Side of Valor

Available February 7, 2012
Simon & Schuster/Strebor
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Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

2012 Forward National Literature Award Winner

Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living.  As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crack houses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles.

When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in an evil conspiracy.  Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.

Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties.  Vengeance is his passion.  Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Mother Land to collect a debt.  A debt that demands one payment.  Death.

Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.






Chapter Excerpt

Pain played just below the surface of Lelia’s stare.  Sadness, despair seeped from her stiff body, stroked Joella.

Joella opened her mouth, then closed it.  No amount of talking would ease the look fixed on Lelia’s face.  Joella knew better. She’d seen that same look reflected in her own mirror.  She’d lived in the same hell many times herself, almost didn’t get out.

Life, cruel and hard, must have whipped up on Lelia, made her draw inside herself like a cornered hare drawn inside its burrow. Best thing to do was leave her be, for now.  A burrow was the safest place for her.

Joella was an expert on safe burrows.  They made life endurable, harbored your mind, saved you from going mad.

A lifetime ago, they were the only way she’d survived.  She used to fill her burrows with rainbows, magic dragons and pretty horned horses.  All the things her daddy used to spin tales about before he’d tuck her into bed. She hadn’t needed safe burrows when Mama and Daddy were around.  But all that vanished when they left.

For a while, Grandma Dell was all she had.  Until Cousin Daryl came sniffing around, hard on his luck.  Evil took the form of that hard-on-his-luck doper.

Joella thought hell was missing her parents.  Cousin Daryl had other thoughts of hell. He shared them with her daily.

Open-handed cuffs across the face, kicks to the ribs.  The thrashings.  Still, no hell he executed terrorized her more than the darkness.

Cousin Daryl always locked her alone.  In the darkness.

Grandma Dell tried to stop him, but he hit her, too, forced her in her room.

Joella could still hear Grandma calling through her bedroom door, begging him to stop.  She still felt fire scorch her skull from his fingers clenched in her hair, still remembered half screeching, half choking on fear as he drug her to the barn. Taught her her lesson.

Sprawled on her stomach, her back ripped raw. Tears puddled mud under her cheek.  Dirt and sweat throbbed in her busted lip.  Blood and bile sullied her tongue. Unable to move, she lay in the blackness, hushed her sobs, scared he’d hear.  Scared he’d come back to teach her more lessons. Those were the times her safe burrows surrounded her, pressed insanity to the fringes of her mind.

One night she ran away from Cousin Daryl while he was sleeping off a high.  She’d helped Grandma Dell to Granddad’s old truck, and drove off.  Her feet barely reached the pedals. They hit a couple of ditches, but they’d made it.

A family friend in the next county took them in.  For a few weeks hell disappeared. It resurfaced when Cousin Daryl tracked them down.

Joella took off, never looked back.

Some nights Cousin Daryl still found her, stole into her dreams, locked her in darkness. Memories of Daddy or Mama didn’t keep him from hurting her, remembering Grandma Dell’s kind words didn’t hold him at bay. Only Lelia’s soft voice broke through the death dream to save her.

Now Lelia needed saving.

Her friend knelt in front of the candlelit muffin. Zombified, she stared at the burning wick.

Comfort was the only thing Joella could offer.  She shrugged the rough quilt off her shoulders, wrapping them both in it.  She rocked like Grandma Dell used to do.  It felt like forever.  The hardwood dug into her knees, the candle burned, she kept rocking.

For once, Lelia needed her.  No matter what, she’d be Lelia’s light, ’cause no one should be left in the darkness.





A well-paced novel of suspense that veers into romance and ends like a thriller.

Kirkus Review



Lelia Freeman was raised in neglect by an alcoholic single mom, who had a parade of men enter their dumpy apartment. When she turned sixteen, Lelia had enough and ran away from home to live on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Although not easy she kept herself clean of drugs and prostitution. Centenarian Ma Ella and her friends at her church take Lelia off the street providing the teen with sustenance for her body, mind and soul.

Lelia feels strongly the best way to pay homage to those who saved her life was to become a rescuer of runaways. Thus Lelia becomes the director of ChildSafe Shelters. Successful and prominent, Lelia joins a Washington task force looking into the orphans of war in the African nation of Sudania. However, this assignment proves dangerous when Sudania president Mawein Boll Deng makes her his prisoner. Mercenary Elijah Dune is the best bet to rescue the rescuer, but he carries the baggage of her one failed mission, his daughter.

This is an exciting romantic suspense starring two people connected by their love for his daughter and their guilt over their failure to protect his child. The story line is fast-paced with the East African war torn background vividly horrifying. Although there is too much stereotyping especially of the people of Sudania, fans will enjoy the Dark Side of Valor; wondering whether the angry lead male will risk his life to save the woman he holds culpable for what happened to his daughter.

The Mystery Gazette/Harriet Klausner



I’ve been trying for several days, to decide how to go about this particular book tour/review. Is this novel going to become a classic? Probably not. Will it be on a top 10 list? I’m guessing , no. Will masses be lining up to purchase it? Nope…and that’s a darn shame, because if I had to rate DARK SIDE OF VALOR, on a scale of 1 – 10, I’d give it a 12.

Folks, this is what a good book is all about.
• Great Plot
• Well Developed Characters
• Fast Moving
• Gripping
• Suspenseful
• Filled with Detail & And an ending that will leave you satisfied, yet wanting more.
All this – without gratuitous sex, foul language, or graphic repeated violence… just for the sake of violence.
Alicia Singleton’s DARK SIDE OF VALOR proves that there are still authors that can write a story that stands on its own legs…not resorting to “flash and filth”!

Bravo Ms. Singleton…I look forward with great anticipation, to your next book, and I thank you for the honor of allowing me to be a part of your tour.

Libby’s Library



A Spellbinding and Intoxicating Must Read!Singleton deftly crafts a most interesting and complex storyline. She writes with the most magnificent prose that locks the reader in–hook, line and sinker. As I turned the pages, I was often wondering what would happen next and was pleasantly surprised at each outcome. It was as if the chapters left me on the edge of my seat, hungry to engross in more of the story. Not only were action and drama prominently present throughout the story, but a hint of romance that leads to an overall intriguing novel.

Readers, who love to be challenged, entertained, and to read a story that will remain with them long after the final page is turned, will not want to miss this novel! If I could give this novel more than 5 stars, I gladly would. Singleton has definitely solidified her place as a strong, emerging literary voice with this debut novel.

Angelique, Apooo Book Club

A Single Saga Brought To Light. I completely lost myself within this book. Emotions ran rampart as I found myself caught up in the moment where tears flowed freely and allowed me to interject myself wholly into Lelia’s pysche for understanding. The compelling nature of this story is underlined when Lelia refuses to give up her aspirations of a better life despite having to witness and be party to the despair that controls her mother’s life. With continued consternation, Lelia decides to run away from home and discover that life on the street is more than she bargained for. But like others who embrace an idea and turn it into a defined signature, she challenges and thrives to beat the odds that for some reason seem to elude her no matter what choice she makes for the good.

What I liked about the author’s choice in her writing style was the way in which she captured your attention to want to keep the book in your hand. In doing this she allowed each chapter to end with a cliffhanger type effect to entice one to not abandon this tale. To add intrigue to this storyline was the introduction of different scenarios sending the heroine to such outposts as Zaire, where she meets the protagonistic Elijah Dune, a lothesome man with a mean steak of hate and a revengeful disposition. Ironically, this pair end up unwittingly fighting a battle side by side a dual enemy with pretentions of past and present dire straits that has the power to destroy them both. Albeit, Lelia holds on to show why the Dark Side Of Valor is not an oxymoron, but a way to a justified means. You will not be disappointed in reading this book!

Alvin C. Romer, The Romer Review

I read Dark Side of Valor a couple of weeks ago and it has stuck with me. It’s one of those books that long after you have read the last page, you will find yourself thinking back to this suspense novel and all the emotions that you felt while reading. Alicia is an amazing author with the ability to open readers eyes. My advice is to pick up this book and set aside enough time to read it straight through. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!




In this debut suspense novel, Alicia Singleton creates authentic characters, then embroils them in a chilling, complicated story. Her language is vivid: as rats crawl along tenement baseboards, readers will shiver, feeling the depths of predatory evil and compassion Lelia encounters. Throughout the course of this haunting novel, Singleton reminds readers of the human instinct to do the right thing, despite the personal cost.

Ellicot Bay Book Shelf Awareness



Alicia Singleton has written a compelling story that highlights the pain behind the lives of street children and abused and neglected children all over the world. The reader will cheer for the heroine who attempts to assuage their pain, while learning more about what goes on in their world. This book is recommended for readers interested in social justice, an exciting story and tales of those who rise above their background to make a new life.

Booksie’s Blog



A Heroine To Cheer For!A fast paced novel, the reader is immediately pulled into the story. Ms. Singleton has created characters that not only make their way into reader’s hearts, but will stay there long after the final page has turned.

Donna Bolk, Award Winning Author


By far one of the best suspense novels. Ever!!!Bravo! Alicia Singleton sweeps the reader away in her debut novel. It’s hard to believe that this is her first. Dark Side Of Valor is by far one of the best suspense novels I’ve ever read, and Ms Singleton is without question an exceptional writer. From beginning to end, she grips her reader’s attention and holds it until the very last dot on the last page. I would love to see Dark Side of Valor on the big screen.

The story of Lelia Freeman’s journey to triumph over her hideous past is both suspenseful and heartwarming. The fearless child advocate learns from her own experiences as a runaway how to survive even the jungles of Zaire. This story takes on many unexpected turns and twists that will intrigue the reader to no end. Dark Side of Valor will remain in your heart forever… It is a must read–most definitely top shelf.

Donna Patton, We Are Fearless


Fantastic Read !This book catches your attention from the very first page. The author ends each chapter with a cliffhanger enticing the reader to read on and on. Strong black women is the theme throughout this book as well as how in an instant your life can dramatically change. Alicia Singleton writes a novel that draws attention to the problems of teenage runaways and how love and kindness can turn a life around. The main character, Lelia, takes many paths in her life but it is her determination, persistence and faith that makes this character shine throughout the book. The “Blue Mug Buddies” of Refuge Church Ministry highly recommend this book especially to young adults. It is only through the grace of God that keeps us.

Cheryl Walker, Blue Mug Buddy Book Club


Singleton creatively weaves words of intrigue in this, her debut novel. The reader will move effortlessly from page to page to uncover cleaver plots that beg the question, ‘What happens next?’ Powerful prose from an anointed, emerging literary voice.

Tonya Marie Evans, FYOS Entertainment, LLC


Alicia Singleton’s debut novel is a definite page-turner that touches the heart.

Chandra Sparks Taylor, Author/Editorial Consultant


Dark Side exposes a shining star in Alicia Singleton. Although the topic of teenage runaways and homeless youth might seem a little “dark”, Alicia Singleton nonetheless depicts this story of triumph with grace and style. Alicia’s first novel is a poetic depiction of the horrors of life on the street and the pain associated with broken hearts and lost hopes. This tale spans from the east coast of North America to the Ivory Coast of Africa and begins with the story of a young girl who decides her dreams are too precious to waste in a broken down New York apartment with her alcoholic mother. She eventually finds herself living on the street, fighting off the predators that feed on young girls for sex and money. The story transposes into one of change and triumph when the main character, Lelia, turns her life around ten years later to work with runaways and homeless youth. Eventually Lelia becomes entangled in an international plot by an African leader fueled by his own greed and at the expense of hundreds of African youths. This book is very well written, drawing its reader in more and more with each twist and turn of the story line. With a dramatic surprise ending, Alicia Singleton has made a lasting impression with this first novel. A must read for book clubs and avid readers. Bravo.

D. Hamilton






© Copyright Alicia Singleton