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White Picket Prisons Paperback – August 20, 2013
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About the Author
Kelli Owen was a reviewer and editor of some of the biggest names in the genre for over ten years. She has been to countless conventions, participated on dozens of panels, and spoken at CIA headquarters in Langley regarding her writing. And they still don't know what genre to put her in...
She's not a horror writer in the traditional sense. Rather than throwing blood at the page, she prefers to let it soak in slowly. Creepy, moody, atmospheric, and quiet are her favorite ways of getting under your skin. And she will. With a smile.
If you enjoy Kelli's work, please consider becoming a patron at patreon.com/kelliowen & get exclusive behind the scenes info, notes, etc. on Kelli's fiction.
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Once married, now divorced, Mark is currently in a loving relationship with Gina who is carrying his child and at least that part of his life is right.
What turns everything upside down is a letter from his estranged sister, Sarah. They haven't been in touch for 10 years and Mark reads the letter as a cry for help, even though there is no return address.
Mark's PI friend, Reilly, helps to locate Sarah in the very small village of Valley Mill, Wisconsin. This is where things get interesting.
White Picket Prisons is, at times, a very disturbing story. The scene that starts off with "...wet, sucking sound, like a suction cup being pulled from a steamed window..." was one of the most cringe-worthy scenes I've read all year.
I love the little things in a Kelli Owen piece. Simple prose that adds so much to a scene, like, "A loose piece of cellophane from a cigarette pack floated across his path, dancing on the light breeze snaking it's way down the street like it was funneled between the buildings directly at him."
Kelli has the ability to describe those moments many of us have had, so succinctly. "He tried to slam the door as he went through it, but the hydraulic arm prevented his anger from venting through noise and quietly pushed the door to a close." Damn, I hate it when that happens.
Expect the unexpected from the beginning right through to the final page. This one comes highly recommended.
White Picket Prisons is available as a limited edition hardcover from Thunderstorm Books or for your Kindle from Amazon.com.
White Picket Prisons
Mark Baker is a good detective who's growing tired of seeing the criminals he's captured walk free either because of "technicalities" or good lawyering. Between his pregnant girlfriend, Gina and his (at times) frustrating job, his life is a roller coaster of emotions. When a strange letter arrives from Sarah, his sister who he hasn't seen or heard from in nearly a decade, Mark's finds himself investigating a mystery he may not even be able to solve.
Mark tracks the letter back to the tiny, Wisconsin village of Valley Mill. At first glance, the small town is everything Mark wants for his own city, content citizens and zero crime. After reuniting with his long lost sister, Mark learns more about the little town and the citizens who inhabit Valley Mill. While everything seems perfect, almost too perfect, he soon finds out the reason Sarah felt compelled to send him the letter... and everything changes.
Kelli Owen has once again managed to tell a story which will keep the reader turning the page right up until the very end.
Owen doesn't need to unnecessary blood and guts to get her point across but instead she excels at quiet and subtle creepiness throughout the book.
Her ability to describe the scenery and the situations the characters find themselves in, helps pull the reader into the spooky little town and stands them at the gazebo, right beside the rest of the Valley Mill odd citizens.
Owen's character development is very strong which allows the reader to feel the full spectrum of emotions her characters are dealing with in the book, as they encounter new situations.
White Picket Prisons ends unexpectedly, leaving the reader satisfied with the outcome, but also wanting more at the same time.
Few authors can succeed at this type of ending, but Owen nails it.
*** White Picket Prisons is recommended as Mandytory reading***
The plot of the book is easy to follow, a police detective who is demoralised by the job gets a distressing letter out of the blue from his little sister who he has not seen in ten years. After tracking her down he finds her in a small village up north where if you break a rule they use unconventional punishment - an eye for an eye.
I won't go any more into the plot but as the book goes on it really makes you think about how people are punished in the world; and the well written characters help bring this more to life. Whilst it may not be filled with hundred of murders it is a real page turner and will keep you going until the end to see how the main character reacts to the situation. I enjoyed how it changed my opinion on the towns punishments changed as the story went on and thinking back on the book a few days later made me realise what impact it had.