I have seen basically zero hype for The Captives, and I can’t figure out why because it’s a great thriller. It has all the elements I want: an interesting hook, complex characters (each with their own dark side), and that disorienting feeling that comes when you realize you can’t trust any of them to tell the truth. Seriously, how is no one talking about this book?!
Frank is a therapist, relegated to an unglamorous role at a women’s prison after a public fall from grace. When Miranda walks into his office, he recognizes her immediately as his high school crush. She was beautiful, popular, unattainable, and as you might expect, she has no memory of Frank whatsoever. Ethics dictate that Frank should immediately acknowledge their prior connection and reassign Miranda to another therapist, but in the first of a series of questionable decisions, he keeps quiet. Maybe it started as simple curiosity—how could someone like Miranda, who in his eyes led such a charmed life, wind up doing hard time?
The perspective shifts between Frank and Miranda, although Frank’s is the only one in first person. While at first this inconsistency was distracting, by the end of the book I had a pretty good feel for why Immergut made this choice. Miranda is always kept at a distance, effectively obscuring her motivations and keeping several key memories at bay until Immergut is ready to dole those details out. Conversely, Frank’s perspective seems to get narrower and narrower as he grows more obsessed with his client. You can feel his life telescoping down until there’s only room left for him and her—or at least, his idea of her.
I’m not sure why this one is so under-the-radar, but I’m glad it was on my summer reading list!