Morley has this knack of combining the most uncomfortable, taboo and heinous issues with the simultaneous feelings of morality, guilt, compassion and forgiveness. This author has the ability to cloud something which would seem like a straightforward crime, with doubt and uncertainty.
Above certainly fits into that difficult category. The reader and victim start out disliking and fearing the perpetrator and end up understanding the compulsive necessity of his actions, despite the deplorable nature of his crimes.
It is a tightrope walk of emotions; Hatred, disgust, anger, fear and hopelessness. The reader sinks with Blythe into a hole of despair and can feel even ounce of hope leave her. Drip by drip, day by day until suddenly years have gone by. We sit there with her deep beneath the ground. In darkness, listening to the silence of her tomb, knowing that no person will ever find her.
The fear turns into a Stockholm Syndrome like dependency. She resigns herself to her fate, especially when she has to consider that of her child.
This is when it gets interesting from an emotional point of view. She views herself as the protector, the mother, but in fact she has become the captor. She is now aiding and enabling her own kidnapper.
I think the real eye opener is possibility of the conspiracy theorist being right. That makes him look like a saviour instead of a criminal. The reader and the victim start to question the validity of their prior judgement.
As always Morley paints a frightening picture of the abyss of deviancy humans are capable of, with a large portion of apocalyptic terror.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Gallery Books via Edelweiss.