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Where: A Novel by Kit Reed

Where: A Novel

by Kit Reed

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Bounced off this hard, just too wierd ( )
  AlanPoulter | Dec 2, 2016 |
I found this book to be deeply unsatisfying. I suspect other people will love it - but for me, the mystery was just an idea- never fully explained, left unanswered.

As for the characters - they were well written, although, at times, over the top and unbelievable. Rawson Steele was damned annoying. He obviously knew things - but didn't explain how he knew them. An unreliable character would have been a lot more interesting than this whiny, angry character.

As for the setting - that is where this book shined. The island of Kraven, South Carolina is beautifully written. For example, one of the main characters, Davy - finds a dog. When it is described as a red setter- it seemed perfect for the story. The town set in the other place could have used some work - it seemed a bit lazy - maybe that was the intent, but it is hard to say.

As for the ending - It was unsatisfying, and really came from no where. Luckily it was short - I kept reading hoping for a more explanation than was given.

So - I think this is one of those books you either don't like (but will agree that it is well written) or you love. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Dec 19, 2015 |
The story premise is what attracted me to this book, however, after getting you all into the story it pretty much let you down by not explaining or giving you any idea of what actually happened. I suppose the author was trying to clue you into this by periodically having one of the characters say "there are some things you will never know". The ending was very anti-climatic. I would not recommend this to anyone who does not like to feel the story isn't finished at the end of a book. ( )
  marysneedle | Oct 8, 2015 |
In a small island town on the coast of South Carolina, everyone disappears. The military, scientists, and media are all perplexed. Rewind back to a day before, when everything still seemed hunky-dory. There’s David Ribault, smarting over the arrival of a slick Northerner named Rawson Steele who has come blazing into town looking to buy up property. Davy returns that evening to the home he shares with his girlfriend Merrill, to find her and Rawson leaning close to each other on the porch, talking. Jealousies flare, tempers rise, and Davy and Merrill end up having a huge fight, ignoring the sage relationship advice of “never go to bed angry.”

It’s a decision that both of them will come to regret. Without waking Merrill or leaving a note, Davy wakes up in the dead of night for a meeting and confrontation outside the town with Rawson Steele. However, Steele ends up being a no-show. Morning has come by the time Davy decides to head back to the island, but it is already too late. Everyone in the village gone without a trace, including Merrill.

This mysterious and spooky scenario has the feel of a Stephen King story all over it, starting with an unexplainable paranormal event that disappears the entire population of Kraven Island, eventually culminating into an end with lots of panic, terror and paranoia. But that’s pretty much where my comparison ends, because Where is a very unique novel that does its own very unique thing. Kit Reed’s choice of writing style for this book is interesting, adopting an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative for most of it. Reed also makes a story decision that I personally find very bold, in that she shows both sides of the mystery and lets us see through the eyes of the missing. We get chapters from the perspectives of Merrill, her brother Ned, as well as their overbearing and unstable father, who along with all the townsfolk have been mysteriously whisked away to another plane of existence. Time moves differently in this strange new dimension, and the longer the missing are trapped, the more the feelings of helplessness and fear seem to warp their minds.

Where is a real head-trip, and it’s good at playing on readers’ fear of the unknown especially when it comes to unsolved mass disappearances. Its story even makes references to high-profile incidents like the Lost Colony of Roanoke as well as missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Coverage of such incidents make a lot of us anxious and uncomfortable, particularly when they happen in more modern times when it really hits home that neither science nor technology can prevent or explain every case, and the book is written in a purposeful way to stir up all these unsettling emotions. Through Davy’s chapters I could feel his guilt and frustration, because sometimes not knowing can be even more painful than the truth. Through Merrill’s, I could feel the rising tensions and the collective fear ultimately becoming too much for everyone to bear. Throughout the novel there is a pervasive sense of eeriness that I really enjoyed.

As for where the book stumbles, the aforementioned quirks in the writing style could pose possible obstacles for readers; I personally found the 13-year-old Ned’s chapters very difficult to read because he uses bad grammar, bad punctuation and run-on sentences galore. Where is also a very short novel and I didn’t feel enough time was given to develop the characters or story. Someone like Merrill’s arrogant and power-hungry father was given an intriguing chapter where we were able to glimpse his very disturbed mind, but for the most part he came across like a caricature. I didn’t get a good feel for any of the characters which is a shame, because without the emotional connection in what should be a very emotional tale, this book falls a bit flat. The ending also came very abruptly, leaving me hanging on this mystery that doesn’t really offer a solution or much closure.

Still, right up until the ending, I was really enjoying this book. I wish the ultimate payoff could have been more satisfying, but I also can’t deny that for the most part Where is a very eerie and atmospheric novel. The build-up of tension alone makes this one a worthy read, and be prepared for some chills if you find you get spooked by unexplained phenomena or stories about strange mass disappearances. ( )
  stefferoo | May 25, 2015 |
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"In a coastal town on the Outer Carolina Banks, David Ribault and Merrill Poulnot are trying to revive their stale relationship and commit to marriage, and a slick developer claiming to be related to a historic town hero, Rawson Steele, has come to town and is buying up property. Steele makes a romantic advance on Merrill and an unusual 4:30 a.m. appointment outside of town with David. But Steele is a no-show, and at the time of the appointment everyone in the town disappears, removed entirely from our space and time to a featureless isolated village--including Merrill and her young son. David searches desperately but all seems lost, for Steele is in the other village with Merrill. Reed's 'Where' is a spooky, unsettling speculative fiction"--… (more)

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