In this rural noir, a woman is forced to confront her own past during a pulse-pounding expedition to deliver a fugitive
In a secessionist rural state that has cut itself off completely from urban centres, where living is hardscrabble and poor but “free,” Brooke Holland runs a farm with her husband and two daughters. Their existence at the fringes of modern society is tenuous—they make barely enough from each harvest to keep going—yet Brooke cherishes the loving, peaceful life they have carved out for themselves. She has even begun to believe she is free from the violent history she has kept a secret from her family.
When escaped criminal Stephen Cawley attacks the farm, Brooke’s buried talents surface, and she manages to quickly and harshly subdue him. Convinced that he has come in retribution for the blood feud that began years ago, Brooke sets out to bring Cawley to justice, planning to use the bounty on his head to lead her family into hiding far from danger. Fearing that other members of Cawley’s infamous family will soon descend on the farm, Brooke insists that Milo and the girls flee with her, travelling miles on foot across an unforgiving landscape to reach the nearest marshal. Their journey, beginning at the onset of winter with little preparation, brings already strained family dynamics to the breaking point. As Brooke’s ghosts—both real and imagined—close in, the ruthlessness that allowed her to survive her past may become the biggest threat to her hopes for a different future. What follows is a harrowing exploration of family loyalty, trauma and resilience.
As haunting and propulsive as it is powerfully written, The Captive is a thrilling debut novel about the seemingly impossible choices we make to survive and protect the ones we love.