“Port of Refuge” No Refuge for the Reader


Port of RefugePort of Refuge by Garrett Dennis picks up where Port Starbird left off, as Storm Ketchum works to recover from a hurricane that set his house adrift. Deciding to buy a houseboat, he sets up  home along with his girlfriend Kari, back in the small fishing town of Avon, North Carolina. Soon after their move, Kari gets word that her great-aunt has passed away after joining a Wiccan group. The funeral strikes Ketch as strange, especially since the group seemed to have spiked the punch with drugs and knew they were piping in something foreign through the air vents. When the family learns that the aunt has left all her estate to what is looking increasingly like a non-Wiccan cult, Ketch decides to investigate further by planting a video bug in the church to record and watch their autumnal equinox ceremony.

At this point, the book goes off the rails. Ketch gets caught by that head witch, who has another witch dose him with ether and then drugs him with rohypnol, ecstacy, and viagra, after which she proceeds to lead a gang rape of him in graphic detail. Ketch also is given graphic photos of his rape to use as blackmail to keeping him quiet. He is slightly shaken up from the rape but not badly and goes back with two friends to the church two nights later to observe the ceremony from his phone as it receives the signal from the spy device. What they witness is horrific, the orgies being the least crude event.

On Amazon, the publisher described this book as a “light and quirky island mystery.” I’m sorry, but there is nothing light or quirky about gang rape or a disgusting cultist ceremony. The book gets even worse from there.

The other thing that really upset me about this book is the way not just Ketch, but the narrative voice, treats his rape. He feels a bit uncomfortable but immediately brushes it off and completely moves on with his life. Despite the severity of the evil action, the word “rape” is used exactly one time in the entire book. He does feel a little awkward around Kari, but she merely says something to the extent of, “You didn’t cheat on me because it wasn’t your intent,” and immediately the two have wild sex in the shower, just three days after his ordeal. As a society, we don’t treat rape of women nearly as seriously as the issue deserves, but rape of men, especially by women, tends to be treated as a joke. I felt that this book just helped to promote that dangerous stereotype.

As a result primarily of the rape but also of the other things done by the cult, I give Port of Refugeone star.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.

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