Sunday, July 8, 2012

White Picket Prisons - by Kelli Owen - Horror at it's finest

5 of 5  Stars

Before I get to the review, let me comment on the cover art.  It just jumped out and grabbed me at first look.  Noted artist Alan M. Clark did a wonderful job and after reading the book, I have to say he really captured Kelli's work brilliantly.

Mark Baker is a police detective, he's good at his job, sometimes - too often - defense attorneys are just better at theirs.  It can be so frustrating  to see good police-work go for naught, just because of some legal technicality.  And it's been one of those days.

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

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