cover image The Captive

The Captive

Fiona King Foster. Ecco, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-299097-6

After Brooke Holland, the heroine of Foster’s intriguing if uneven debut set in a contemporary world that has feel of the Old West, is attacked in the shed of her family’s isolated homestead by Stephen Cawley, a member of one of two local drug-running family, she ties him up and makes her husband, Milo, and their two daughters travel with her on foot in winter weather, to bring him in for the federal bounty offered in Shaw Station, 100 miles away. Brooke tells them that she fears that other Cawleys might be coming, but doesn’t admit that the attack on her was far from random, leaving them to have faith in her drive to risk her family’s well-being in order to bring a dangerous man to justice. Brooke’s backstory unfolds at a natural pace, leading the reader gently into feeling compassion for her. Unfortunately, no other character gets similar care, and a conflict between the two rival drug-running families follows a predictable course. The high-tension setup suggests Foster will do better next time. (Jan.)