Ulterior Motives by Mel Parish

Ulterior Motives

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A methodical thriller bristling with interpersonal intrigue and compelling characters.

Parish’s (Silent Lies, 2012) latest thriller opens with Jake Cornish waking up in a cage on an island. He remembers being kidnapped but doesn't know how his captors know his name—or why they’re keeping him alive, although some details about a ransom note eventually surface. He finds out his captors’ true intentions only after they have what they want—and it’s not just money they’re after. The novel doesn’t feature scenes of high action or intensity; readers are put squarely in Jake’s shoes and information trickles in slowly. However, the novel truly inhabits the mind of a kidnap victim, which makes for an intriguing reading experience. Jake’s fleeting emotions provide plenty for the reader to digest, and his emotional journey is far more interesting than the actual events on the island. His deepening relationship with his captors will also keep readers turning pages. Although the book never addresses larger psychological themes, such as Stockholm syndrome, Jake’s affection for his kidnappers grows over the course of the novel, and they’re willing to exploit that fact, which pushes the novel toward a conclusion that leaves Jake, and the reader, with many unresolved issues. When a person is the victim of emotional and physical manipulation, the effects can be lifelong, and it’s clear that no matter where life takes Jake, he will never be the same man again. Although the actual events of the story can be summed up in a paragraph or two, the interpersonal drama explored here will provide a rich experience for the intellectual reader.

A slow-paced story of captivity with an emotional center that will keep readers engaged.

Pub Date: May 13th, 2013
Page count: 305pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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