The Captive by Deborah O'Connor
|The Captive by Deborah O'Connor|
|Reviewer: Megan Kenny|
|Summary: O'Connor has produced a much needed palate cleanser after the saturation of mundane thrillers in recent years. The Captive is a tension filled, evocative tale that draws the reader into a web of treachery and deceit, filled with relatable characters and a well crafted mystery.|
|Buy? 'Yes'||Borrow? 'Yes'|
|Pages: 402||Date: January 2021|
Hannah knows the cage, intimately. It lurks in the corner of her eye. Soon, it will be occupied. Then what? What if he speaks to her? What if he escapes? What if he hurts her? What if she hurts him?
I have agonised about how to go about this review, I don't want to give too much away as it appears that the publishers have gone to the effort of maintaining an air of mystery. But a review needs a discussion. So if you want to enter into reading The Captive without any spoilers, stop reading...now.
If you are still here, let me assure you that finding out about the plot will in no way dampen your enthusiasm for this new novel from Deborah O'Connor. It is an innovative, tense and thoughtful addition to the oversaturated crowd of run of the mill thrillers.
Hannah is left reeling after the apparently senseless murder of her husband John, a decorated police officer and is now forced by law to share her home with his killer. This new money saving 'innovation' from the Government veiled as a chance for restorative justice, it is a cruel and unusual punishment for those who choose to press charges. This leads to a London on the brink of collapse as crime runs riot without consequence. Add in the increasingly sinister effects of global warming and you have a sizzling backdrop to an increasingly unusual situation.
As Hannah looks deeper into her husband's death she suspects that Jem, housed in a cage in her kitchen, may not be as guilty as he seems. But someone seems determined to stop her digging and, as she finds out more about John's double life, she discovers that she may not wish to know the truth. But as her relationship with Jem grows, a race against time begins to uncover the secrets and lies that led to John's death and prove Jem's innocence.
The real strength of The Captive is how it paints a picture of a future that doesn't feel very distant. We know that prisons are overcrowded and we are at the mercy of an indifferent government, an indifferent world that stands by as the environment suffers. This gives The Captive a sense of urgency and realism. The actions of Hannah and Jem are also rooted in reality and they are both intensely relatable characters.
What sets this novel apart from the myriad of other thrillers that line the shelves is O'Connor's writing. It is beautifully lyrical and evocative, drawing the reader into Hannah's world. The result is a vivid and engrossing page turner that wriggles its way into the mind. Is it ever possible to truly know another person? And given that chance, would you want to know that your life had been a lie? These questions cut into the heart of our collective fears. When this is coupled with the very real threat of environmental disaster and also the creeping fear of the irresponsible nature of elected officials, it creates a claustrophobic, tension filled read.
For those interested in reading more about the secrets housed inside a marriage you can't get better than the absolutely incredible Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
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