Hardcover, 336 pages
To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships,
he’d been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, “a great beast of a birthday,” as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam’s attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia.Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist is the riveting tale of Julia and Sam's relationship, which begins to unravel as the threat of violence approaches and Julia becomes less and less sure whom she can trust.
The Preservationist by Justin Kramon is a psychological thriller due to be released on October 10, 2013. Julia Stilwell, a freshman at Pennsylvania’s Stradler College, recently experienced a family tragedy that she is trying to keep secret. She is still struggling with the emotional ramifications of this major event when she meets Marcus Broley, a fellow student who seems genuinely interested in her. When 39 year old Sam Blount also shows an interest in her and secretly arranges a way for them to meet socially, Julia immediately connects with Sam and breaks up with Marcus. Marcus tries to warn her about his suspicions of Sam, but instead sounds like a jealous, spurned boyfriend. When a serial rapist strikes on campus and strange things begin to happen, it seems that either Marcus or Sam could be responsible.
The Preservationist is a quick read with a plot that follows a pretty tried and true format. The story is told between the characters in alternating chapters. While it is suspenseful, it is also relatively easy to figure out what is happening in the plot. The character development was indifferent. The characters felt like they were acting or reacting in almost robotic ways to simple move the formulaic plot along it's course. There simply was no good compelling reason presented for Julia to instantly connect with much older Sam. The combination of a predictable plot with lackluster character development resulted in my indifferent reading to the end simply to confirm my predictions.
However, The Preservationist does work in many ways. It works precisely because it is an easy, quick read that follows a known format. It's a known format because, duh, it works. The excitement and tension did build. You knew something was going to happen. Kramon is a good writer technically, so even with what I perceived as shortcomings in the plot and character development, I was never annoyed by his actual writing.