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Dash & Laila


Loved it! 😍

Culturally rich, complex, and provocative. For the faint of heart, keep reading....


Dash rescues Laila and her father from a plane crash in the Sahara -- and immediately regrets it.

A YA action/adventure set in Morocco, Dash and Laila's parents have plans for them, but they are determined to forge their own destiny. But is there a stronger adversary than fate?

Recommended for 16+.

The book begins with a sharp-witted teenage voice as he abides detention fantasizing over the allure of his classmate, and evolves quickly into something that seems to have deeper implications and complexities regarding advanced topics around cultural diversity, country borders, and the conscience of killing. The tone varies from a coolness of a rebellious teenager seeking to liberate through a fictional quest through the Atlas mountains to win over the affection of his companion and subject, Laila.

However, as she is the daughter of the Minister of the Interior and he is a foreigner as they enter Morocco, it evolves into something hard to conjure from a young adult's imagination in which he confesses to killing - at one point because there was no choice, and at a different juncture expresses regret as they witness rampant murders, the severity of killings in raided villages, over a staged ransom over Laila's family's altercations.

Cultural diversity and History: The book is rich in acknowledgment of the cultural diversity from Moroccan cities across the Atlas Mountains into Algeria, and spanning the Saharan desert. The early dismissiveness of youth in regards to the significance of heritage in primitive religions, archaeology, and such later explored in vivid scenes throughout the book suggests otherwise. A spirit snake's bite as a 'bad luck omen', the tracing of ancient origins of Egyptian petroglyphs on walls, memories of plagues, ridding of slavery from a hundred years ago that has evolved into modern day sex-trafficking, and other crimes against humanity. 

Idealism, Heroism, and Romanticism of a Warrior: The portrayals and perspectives grow, evolve, and shift as the novel progresses. The gruesome accounts of the killings, helmets filled with blood, and boots to salvage from the dead take the reader on a journey more reminiscent of the front-lines of war than an epic teenage tale. Laila's intentions to emulate her father's mission of rescue in tending to the needs of refugees are understood. Whereas, it's unclear as to Dash's intentions beyond that which stem from a fictional portrayal of bravery to one that is indecipherable from fiction and realities of crimes committed, detainment, and surrounding country laws. At one point, he seems unreliable that the story had gone too far for a sound mind as it was unclear what they were defending other than the avoidance of rebel groups and her family's ransom coup. Later, there is a point of clarity that is satisfying to the reader in understanding that the narrator may no longer be conjuring fiction but accounting for the more serious events leading up to the journey. It wraps up in a surprising epilogue that is both pleasing and enlightening as to further questioning over what was real - fictional, imagined, and/or conjured during the novel. It leaves the reader with plenty to contemplate. 

Reviewed by

Author. Award-Winning Digital Curator and Social Entrepreneur. Obsessed with the intersection of innovation, arts, and culture. Relentless learner Always exploring - nearby trails or global treks. Grateful for my pup's constant prodding - forces me away from the computer screen.


Dash rescues Laila and her father from a plane crash in the Sahara -- and immediately regrets it.

A YA action/adventure set in Morocco, Dash and Laila's parents have plans for them, but they are determined to forge their own destiny. But is there a stronger adversary than fate?

Recommended for 16+.

Dash & Laila

Chapter 1

You don’t shoot a girl’s ear off without consequences. Especially when the ear

belongs to Laila, the hottest girl in the universe. While that hasn’t actually

happened yet, I am admittedly shaking at the prospect.

She came to detention today not wearing a bra. How is anyone supposed to

study in these conditions? It’s torture, if you think about it. In a contest between Mr. Mulch’s English Lit lecture and Laila? Sorry, it isn’t even close.

Not even girls speak to Laila, like ever. She is just too much. Too lithe with

coppery skin and green eyes. Even the hottest girls are intimidated. Today she is wearing black ear pods, which is so unfair because Mr. Mulch can’t see them under her luxuriant dark hair which waterfalls down her back, tied into some exotic silk scarf.

Worse is her scent, which isn’t from some commercial. It has weight, it is

profound, it makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Detention. A Saturday. It is cruel, and whatever Laila did to deserve this I have no idea. It’s not like we talk much. Maybe that’s just as well. Half a dozen sinners.

Not bad enough to call the parents, or the cops, but enough to make us suffer.

In class Mr. Mulch was still droning on about some dead writer from some place

where you can swim in the Mediterranean just like whenever. Maybe Mr. Mulch

was making it sound worse than it was, which was typical. I owe him a paper about it. Except that I’ve been distracted and distraught by hormones and dark forces.


The blank page sneers at me. Okay, it isn’t exactly blank. So far I’ve drawn a

tiny camel, a bear, a snake and several scorpions. I diligently make more scorpions who shoot fire out of their butts at the tiny humans who run away screaming and on fire. I’d be willing to run out of this class screaming and on fire, trust me.

But the main guy in the book we are reading hasn’t even shot anybody yet, but

you can tell he is thinking about it. So right now I am drawing a small passenger plane, maybe six or eight seats. It’s belching smoke like the girls’ bathroom between classes, and careening over the

Sahara desert. Should I let it land nicely and everyone goes to a pleasant lunch? Or should I crash it into some huge sand dune and then see what happens next? Maybe some people will survive. Humans are annoying that way. And Laila is definitely on this plane. Maybe I can rescue her.

About the author

Multiple award winning author Brad Chisholm is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design where he studied fine art. Kat & Maus is the second novel by Brad Chisholm and Claire Kim. The first was K-Town Confidential (Legal thriller). Brad's new book, Dash & Laila, is a YA action adventure. view profile

Published on September 20, 2020

Published by Black Rose Writing

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Action & Adventure

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