The Captive Condition
By Kevin. P. Keating
Pantheon Books, Hardcover, 9780804169288, July 2015, 288pp.
The Short of It:
Dark and sinister, yet funny and smart.
The Rest of It:
Edmund Campion’s thesis is rejected by Dr. Kingsley so Edmund takes a job as a groundskeeper, working for a guy called The Gonk. Unfortunately, The Gonk is not a good guy and has some secrets of his own.
Dr. Kingsley has secrets too. The woman he’s been having an affair with, Emily Ryan, is found by her two daughters, face down in her own swimming pool. Charlie, unable to raise his daughters on his own, literally abandons them by leaving them with Kingsley and his wife. The girls, however, are more “in the know” than the adults think and they do things to their adult counterparts to keep them on their toes. Oh, these girls are beyond creepy and do their best to make Kingsley afraid of his own shadow. Twins, no less. Reminded me of The Shining a little bit.
This story has a great setting. There’s the highbrow academic side, set against the backdrop of a small Midwestern town. But there’s the other side, the darker side complete with a graveyard and cottage. The promise of something sinister lurks on every page. I enjoyed this part very much.
Kingsley, is an interesting character but the story, I think, is meant to be Edmund’s and he didn’t hold my interest as much as some of the other characters did. The first half was fairly strong, but in the second half, things became a little disjointed. I admit to skimming through a few parts just to get back to Kingsley.
This is a black comedy. Have you read one lately? I think I expected more of a ghost story. There are ghostly elements and graveyards and murders to keep you turning the pages, but it’s peppered with humor which gives it a different feel.
Although the ending did not hold my interest as much as the first half did, I’d absolutely read another novel by this author.
For more information on the author, click here.
I had not planned to read this one for R.I.P X but it falls into that genre so I am going to count it towards the challenge.