Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Kevin P. Keating's The Captive Condition.
Normandy Falls is not a nice place to live. A dry college town with few job prospects, low average incomes, and very little to do, the locals are left with little to fill their time. But gossip still runs rampant and almost everyone must know about the affair going on between Emily Ryan and her next door neighbor. Well, everyone except their spouses. And when Emily turns up dead on her thirtieth birthday, it kicks off a series of events that leaves few in Normandy Falls untouched.
I've mulled over how to sum this book up and review it for some time and have yet to come up with the perfect solution. I fear my attempt won't be truly appropriate but barring a lightning bolt of brilliance this will have to suffice.
I had issues with the book, mainly due to my perceived, inappropriate, and possibly unfair expectations. See, the actual description of Kevin Keating's The Captive Condition somewhat implied (in my mind) that this is a horror novel set in a town that's akin to Sunnydale or Castle Rock. Even the prologue of the novel sets it up as such, with our narrator being told of the horrid and unspeakable crimes rumored to have taken place in Normandy Falls in decades past.
In truth it's nothing of the sort. In fact, while some might fairly call The Captive Condition horror, it isn't a horror novel in the way you might think. Yes, horrible things happen there. The town is destitute and the characters are all facing pretty insurmountable odds - mostly thanks to their own actions. None of them are good people, they're motived by selfishness, obsession, superstition, and plain old stupidity in some cases. And yes, there are some supernatural events that do occur as well. In reality, though, the horror is pretty human.
To explain more might be to give away the story and I don't want to do that because Keating's work is quite enthralling. His prose is melodic and dark and the downward spiral of the characters is hard to step away from. But to approach the story with the wrong expectation likely won't lead to a satisfactory experience.
So no, folks. Don't make the mistake that I did in thinking this is going to be a gory tale of paranormal horror, odd experimentation, or a story set in a "nexus of horror." Instead, go into this story expecting to discover a new author with a unique voice and a tale of human crime and atrocity.
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. And for more on Kevin P. Keating and his work, you can follow him on Twitter.