Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Captive Condition

The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating
Knopf Doubleday: 7/7/2015

eBook review copy, 288 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9780804169288

My Thoughts:

The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating is a modern Gothic horror novel set in Normandy Falls a small Midwestern college town. Edmund Campion is pursuing a master's degree at the college while also working for the college growns-crew and physical plant. He notices that his professor, Martin Kingsley, is having an affair with his neighbor, Emily Ryan. One drunken night Edmund discovers Emily has drowned in her pool and he begins to obsess on the dead woman. Adding to the creepy mix is his boss called the Gonk; Emily's malicious twin girls (picture the hallway scene in the movie The Shining); Edmund's ex-girlfriend Morgan Fey who works for a chef/drug dealer Xavier D’Avignon (who supplies hallucinogenic carrot juice to the town), and an exotic dancer called Lorelei who has fish tattoos. The whole town is haunted by a strange history and many would say evil spirits who mean to harm the living.

This is a very dark, mysterious novel with an overabundance of drinking or intoxication of some variety. Although, at the beginning, there are glimmers of humor in descriptions, The Captive Condition quickly turns horrific and frightening. Keating writes in a very stylistic manner that is reminiscent of old Gothic horror novels, which adds to the bleak mood he creates. While I can't fault the writing or the plot for any drawbacks, as the novel progressed I wasn't quite as engaged with it as I expected to be and felt disconnected. There were parts where I admired the writing a great deal, but, as the novel descended into horror it left me behind. I would recommend it based on the quality of the writing alone and would highly recommended for anyone who enjoys complex, frightening Gothic horror novels.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of
Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.

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