At 29, Hannah Garretty is pursuing her lifelong dream of being a paid photographer. But, in a curl of circumstance, she’s snatched from her bohemian life on the island and vanishes into a forest lair where unspeakable things have happened…and will continue to happen. As Hannah grapples with her captivity and the knowledge bestowed to her by a special gift, we catch glimpse of her past life, before the abduction, through the lens of her childhood on the mainland and the last time she came face to face with her own mortality. The story is visceral and powerful, exploring the duality of our consuming lives versus our feeling lives, our purpose in being, and whether there is a scrap of light in anything as dark as Hannah’s ordeal.
Gems: The story is chalk full of vivid descriptions that are carefully constructed to forge a lasting impression. When you close your eyes, you will likely be haunted by Hannah’s ordeal and the events of her life. What makes the story even more frightening is Hannah is a character that an everyday girl can relate to. She becomes as recognizable as a friend, a sister or a girl from work. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I am familiar with the setting (Canada) that is described. I could easily visualize each place and because of this, it made the terror even more real. Hints of the paranormal coming in the form of flash visions are introduced in the beginning. The insertion will be easy for even the most skeptical to accept because the character development and overall story is cemented in the now. Parts of the story are delivered in a series of flashbacks. I found myself deeply committed to these parts of the writing and felt the author squeezed all the use from penning the important scenes. Often, this technique can be flawed, but not in this graphic tale. I felt the flashback was actually a strength in the over all telling. A note: The story includes sexual detailing, violence and sexual violence related to a kidnapping that might be disturbing to some readers.
Flaws: I’m a big fan of the simile, but this story was packed with them. I was pleased they were original and did not lead to cliches. However, in my humble opinion it was a touch over done. The scene involving Hannah at her brother’s apartment loses it’s footing and touch with reality. Up until then, I was on board with the flashes and paranormal visions. Also, the bad events that take place there are a bit hard to digest. At one point, I was thinking this is going to end up being just a ‘dream’ kind of book because this is too fantastical. Lastly, the epilogue threw me for a jerky loop. Epilogues used as a lead to a series or teaser are widely popular and I admit, I use them in my own stories. However, I detest epilogues used as a summary device. I don’t want a sudden ‘by the way’ this is what happens to the characters (players) the next day, week or year. It feels insincere and frankly, rushed. I just spent three days of horror with this character and now I’m getting the rest of her life summed up in a few pages? I know some people dearly want to know, ‘then what happened,’ but I’m not that reader.
Bitsy’s Rating: 3 Stars
* Electronic book submitted for review.
* Mature content: Includes sexual violence and drug use.