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Devil's Lake by Aaron Paul Lazar
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Devil's Lake

by Aaron Paul Lazar

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I received this book as a gift from the author via The Books Machine in exchange for an honest review.

Portia Lamont, held captive for two years, escapes and heads back home to her family's horse farm in Vermont. Upon arrival, she finds the house empty and her childhood friend, Boone is the caretaker. He tells her that her mother has cancer and her parents are in New York trying out an experimental drug treatment.

The subject of captivity simultaneously fascinates and frightens me. What would bring someone to commit such a horrific crime? How does the captive maintain the will to survive? What is the dynamic between the captor and his/her captive? If the captive gets out of the situation either by escape or rescue, how does he/she recover?

The novel opens with Portia in a stolen pick-up truck as she is making her escape. I was hooked from the first line. The language is very readable. The descriptions are just vivid enough without being over-the-top. The dialogue and voice was authentic and realistic. I like that the story is told from alternating viewpoints because it helps with character development. The major characters are introduced early on so I got a sense of their appearances, personalities, relationships, and dynamic.

The novel is divided into four parts, each broken up into short chapters. Although there are time shifts from the past to the present day, the story flows smoothly. The plot pacing was just right. The plot itself was suspenseful and thrilling. Many times, I had to stop myself from reading ahead.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The storyline was compelling and the ending was realistic, satisfying, and conclusive. ( )
  kulmona | Jan 19, 2015 |
What might it be like to escape from an abductor and abuser after two years? How would a woman pick up her life? How would she learn to trust a man again? Aaron Lazar’s Devil’s Lake invites readers to ponder these questions through the story of Portia who returns home, still in shock and terror, to find her parents and sister gone and a seeming stranger in their place. But order, and family, are restored in good time, and what’s left is, perhaps, revenge and retribution.

Some jarring political notes and a deep distrust of authority are probably true to the attitudes of the area. Frustratingly, they lead to a private quest that might cost lives. But Portia’s not the only one who’ll need to learn trust in this tale, and recognizing the difference between controlling and protecting might be important in many arenas besides her wounded life.

Redemption proves more important than revenge and retribution by the end of this tale. And it’s not just Portia’s relationships that find healing. Love can and does prove the strongest bond of all, making this dark story a tale of light as well, and a satisfying read.

Disclosure: I enjoy Aaron Lazar’s writing so I was delighted to be given an ecopy of this novel, and I offer my honest review. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Nov 13, 2014 |
This book is dedicated to the women kidnapped and held hostage for ten years in Cleveland, Ohio, and so it is with great tenderness that the author, Aaron Paul Lazar, imparts this story, which I imagine must have been inspired by what he learned about the case, and by his great compassion. Part I of the story opens with Portia coming back home, having escaped from her abductor. She is in a severely weakened state, “Her heart slammed against her ribs, quickening with every mile she recognized,” and has an overwhelming yearning for safety, for home. “Green mountains surged into the clouds in the background. guarding the rolling hills of the valley where her family’s farm nestled in the hollow.” But the place is empty, except for her childhood friend, whom she barely recognizes, and because of her harrowing experience, she is afraid to be touched. “‘It’s me.’ He offered her a hand, but she pulled her away.”

Portia would like to bury the past. “She needed to forget. Really forget…. Don’t think about him.” But part of her healing is to remember. Part II of the book goes back ten years, recreating her abduction. “Shhhh,” says Murphy, in his frighteningly metallic voice. “It’s okay. You’re with me now, sugar.” We get a glimpse into the way she managed to survive the torture and starvation. “Pretend to be respectful and sweet,” she tells herself. “Go along with him. Watch and wait… If you don’t fight him, he’ll have nothing to push against.” And throughout the ordeal, she braces herself. “You can do this.”

Part III and IV, Revenge and Payback, bring a much needed conclusion to the story. Anderson and Boone work their way toward Devil’s Lake and watch for the cabin with the boarded up windows. Grace, Portia’s sister, plays a great role, which I am not going to divulge here, except to say that in the end, she and Portia renew their bond of sisterhood, and cleanse themselves of the past. It is so symbolic that they do it by diving beneath the surface of Devil’s Lake.

Five stars. ( )
  Uvi_Poznansky | Aug 6, 2014 |
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