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A cast of characters, trapped by a web of lies and secrets impacting their lives.


Victims of coincidence and circumstance try to find their way through triggered memories. When a twisted plot of fate weaves their paths, will long-buried secrets bury them? The first of three dramatic thriller novels, Requiem: Origins' shows just how dangerous secrets can be.

The world can be a cruel place, full of people out only for themselves. In Requiem, Taveyah LaShay treats readers to a cast of callous characters focused on keeping secrets and get their ways, which sends them crashing into each other.

At the center of the story is Paul, a rich albino Black man passing for White. He is selfish and manipulative, keeping his wife Sandra and mistress/secretary Madisin on their toes. When he is faced with losing one of them and a medical crisis, he begins to make some irrational decisions that endanger the people he loves.

Madisin is tired of waiting for Paul to leave his wife. When she pushes him too far, he pushes back. She has to face some serious consequences for trying the wrong man.

Verdell was unfortunate enough to be born into a family full of heartless men, who leave him to the wolves. If he doesn't let his fangs out, he will certainly get eaten alive.

Verdell's cousin, Dhorian is pretty much a pawn bumping around in the story's plot.

The pacing between subplots impacted the suspense in Requiem. The few intense moments punctuating the overall plot kept me interested enough to want more fleshing out before the story moved on.

LaShay uses an omniscient voice to tell a layered tale of lust, betrayal, and death. Consequently, I was challenged to get vested in any character too deeply, but there was enough there for me to want to find out what happened with Paul and Verdell. I like the contrasts between these characters and what brought them to be the men wreaking havoc in the lives of those around them.

She provides some "oh snap" moments integrated into a load of information, which is not unusual in urban-centered fiction. LaShay serves urban fiction readers well by giving them a mix of diabolical characters and those made so by circumstances.

Readers looking for a quick suspense lock-down read during the current pandemic may enjoy Requiem's complex and fast-paced plot and villainous characters.

Reviewed by

I have a B.A. in Historical Studies and Literature, an M.A. in Liberal Studies, and an AC in Women and Gender Studies. I am an adjunct instructor, writer and content editor. I have a strong background in literary criticism and have been reviewing books for several years.


Victims of coincidence and circumstance try to find their way through triggered memories. When a twisted plot of fate weaves their paths, will long-buried secrets bury them? The first of three dramatic thriller novels, Requiem: Origins' shows just how dangerous secrets can be.


Every tragedy has its origin. And this one is no different. It starts with an inseparable bond between cousins who grew up more like sisters. Annemarie and McKenzie did everything together. As young girls, when they weren't in school, singing in the church choir, or running the Jupiter dirt roads to the water banks for turtle eggs to sell, they filled their time braiding each other's long thick hair on their grandmother's shotgun smoking porch planning to share their future. They wanted to go to the same schools, drive the same cars, get married on the same day to brothers, and would make an exception for cousins, so they would never be too far apart. They even wanted to have home births and have their babies share the same birth date. So far, everything that they had planned for came true.

West Tampa, winter 1987, now both twenty-five, they lay in adjacent rooms, in their grandmother's shotgun home, fighting for their lives and the lives of their firstborn, with only the help of their midwives to assist them through the cold and the pain. Their husbands, who were both away in Uncle Sam's war, were brothers and weren't due to come home for at least another three months. They could hear each other 's moans of agony and pain echoing through their grandmother's house as they were directed and coaxed to push through the ring of fire. The pinewood shiplap in the old house seemed to inhale and exhale with each contraction. The birthing process felt like forever before two new sharp cries echoed off the walls. Even though exhausted, Annemarie was eager to check on her cousin, so they could share their newfound joys and feed their newborns together. She had her midwife assist her to the wooden wheelchair that her husband, Verdell, had made her before he left. Placing a baby in each arm, Annemarie rolled down the hall, anxious to tell McKenzie about her twins. But the closer the midwife pushed her to McKenzie's closed door, she began to panic. Once in the room, instantly, Annemarie sensed something was wrong. She didn't hear a baby. Only hers were cooing. Through the weak firelight, she saw a baby lying flat on her cousin's exposed breasts, eyes wide facing her. She could see the death that swam in them. Annemarie searched her cousin's face for confirmation of the terribleness that she already knew in her heart. McKenzie let out a low and gut pulling roar that seemed to shake the room. Her midwife rushed over to take the stillborn. McKenzie fought to keep the baby in her arms, using the warmth from her body to attempt to wake him. When that didn't work, she tried to feed him. His body remained limp and unresponsive. Now in tears herself, Annemarie looked at her own two baby boys. She knew right away what she had to do. She grabbed one and placed it on McKenzie's chest and nuzzled the other to her own. At first, McKenzie turned her face away, not touching the newborn on her chest. The warm and squirming little body grabbed at a long-braided plat that hung down in McKenzie's face and tried to nurse the end. The light in McKenzie's eyes brightened a little as she looked down to see Annemarie's baby laying on her chest. His toffee color, full head of slick black hair, and almond-shaped eyes looked very similar to her features. Quickly glancing at Annemarie, McKenzie was confused at the beautiful baby boy on her chest and the other baby boy, who was just as handsome, if not more, in her cousin's arms. Annemarie quickly explained that God blessed her with a baby for each of them, that she had not fed him yet, and if McKenzie wanted a baby, he was as good as hers. With both men off at war, Annemarie needed to spare her cousin from heartache. What harm could there be in giving a twin and keeping the secret? She and Verdell couldn't afford two, and she couldn't stand to see her favorite cousin, her sister, in despair. The boys were fraternal and wouldn't be hard to play off as cousins she reasoned. One brown-skinned the other just a tad darker. They only shared a birthmark shaped like a crescent moon, no bigger than her thumb, at the nape of their necks. As the boys got older, there were none the wiser, but as secrets do, they began to eat at the soul. Known or not, the essence of it seeps in and devours everything that is good until it is all only a triggered memory.

About the author

Taveyah LaShay is an author residing in Brandon, Florida and is behind Requiem: Origins, the first book in a dramatic thriller trilogy series. view profile

Published on September 13, 2019

Published by

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

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