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A Suspenseful Country Noir: The Captive

24 Mar

Typically, I’m not drawn to fast-paced, high-tension adventure stories that pit man against nature  in a survival of the fittest scenario. However, Fiona King Foster’s debut novel The Captive is not only a propulsive wilderness adventure, but a suspenseful and tightly written country noir with considerable plot substance and gritty well-developed characters. I was lured in by the author’s  vivid descriptions of what seemed like an Old West landscape and a family struggling to survive  during a harrowing exploration of loyalty, trauma and resilience. 

Brooke Holland, once involved with her family’s drug war with the rival Cawley clan, has  established a new identity with her husband Milo and her two preteen daughters, who knows nothing of her violent past. They are content operating a small farm in the remote wilderness, miles from any form of established civilization. All seems well until Brooke learns that Stephen Cawley has escaped federal prison and is probably hunting for her with the intent of settling an  old score. When Cawley raids their farm, Brooke subdues him and attempts to transport him on foot to a distant federal outpost, thereby claiming the $5,000 bounty, which could save their  failing farm. Thus, she begins a harrowing trek with her husband and children across a forbidding and dangerous winter landscape. 

Along the treacherous journey, Foster intersperses detailed flashbacks from Brooke’s past, which further propel the current tension and danger and allows the reader to feel compassion for her as she develops a steely determination to save her loved ones. The rough winter poses obstacles and various unsavory and ruthless characters that they meet along the way pose threats to Brooke’s ultimate plan. Even getting separated from her children during a winter blizzard adds suspense to this fast-paced adventure and keeps the adrenaline pumping. 

The suspenseful thriller builds as strained family dynamics are brought to a breaking point and old wounds between rival family drug wars resurface. The ghosts, both real and imagined, from  Brooke’s past still haunt her and she questions her motives and well as her actions and the  consequences they may have. Ultimately, the chilling adventure leads to an explosive climax  involving an intense stand-off, a fire, and a gun-shooting duel, all reminiscent of the wild west.  Granted, this denouement may seem outlandish and larger than life, but it seems to fit the suspenseful buildup and tension and gives the reader a sense of hope for Brooke, her family and  their future. 

Available from Hoboken and other BCCLS libraries.

Written by:
Ethan Galvin
Information and Digital Services Librarian

Paying the Price for Time: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

17 Mar

Time is a thing humans have a complicated relationship with. Some don’t consider it while others feel its impact every second of every day. Most of us can agree that many of us are desperate for of it, to do everything we want to do before it’s too late. But what would you give up if you could have more? What price would you be willing to pay to have all the time in the world?

That is the question of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. The title’s main character, Addie, makes a Faustian deal with the devil for time, but is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

The prose in this novel is an absolute delight to read and pulls you right into the story without bogging you down. The characters of Addie, Luc, and Henry are also engaging and ones that many will find relatable.

The part many may find to be the most divisive about this book is the pacing. After the bargain is made, everything moves more into a slice of life pace, with various points of tragedy and excitement sprinkled throughout. Much of this comes as a result of the switching of years between each chapter and its characters. Some may find this pace enjoyable and not detracting at all while others may find it slows the plot down and drags things along.

Through it all, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is an excellent read and one that might just help someone to appreciate all the time they do have.

You can borrow it as an ebook or digital audiobook from eBCCLS or eLibraryNJ. It is available in print from Hoboken and other BCCLS Libraries.

Written by:
Lauren Lapinski
Circulation Assistant

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