Fiction the kept

Published on February 26th, 2014


The Kept by James Scott

| Press reviews | Buy the book | Have your say |

Blurb: How far would you go for your family, for love, for revenge? In the winter of 1897, a trio of killers descends upon an isolated farm in upstate New York. Elspeth Howell returns home to find her family brutally murdered. The only survivor is her twelve-year-old son who witnessed it all. Wounded, frightened and with retribution in their hearts, mother and son set out into the frozen wilderness to track down the red-scarfed men who killed their loved ones in cold blood. (Windmill Books, October 2014)

John Smolens, The Washington Post

“Scott’s prose is impressively informed by a powerful concoction of American fundamentalism spiked with the fervent belief in an eye-for-eye. There are scenes that paint the landscape in drab Wyeth-like colors, and finer passages read with the stark clarity of a Johnny Cash song. However, at times the narrative suffers from its own deliberateness, causing essential information to be buried beneath detail, particularly in Book I.”

Read full review

Ivy Pochoda, The New York Times

“For a majority of the novel, Mr. Scott grants no quarter, taking the reader on a chilly, merciless journey, where the frigid climate is as barbaric as some of its inhabitants. If not for the author’s sparse, elegant prose, twanged with puritanical patois, “The Kept” might be simply agonizing. Instead, it is a haunting narrative, salvaged by precise language that never overreaches or oversells.”

Read full review

Alexander Gilmore, The Financial Times

The Kept is a revenge thriller of unmistakable power. The plot is tense, the prose gritty, and unpleasantness unending. Scott paints a landscape filled with snow and ice and black-hearted, freezing people, starved, punched, shot at. He never lets up: the boy’s nightmares, the woman’s gnawing guilt, the crunch of bone – all are described in graphic, lurid detail.”

Read full review

Alyson Hagy, The New York Times 

The Kept is gothic in both structure and atmosphere. Violence comes swiftly, with no warning. The strong are without sentiment. The weak retain nothing but shards of their remembered affections. No family is whole. No love can be complete. In a pivotal encounter, a minister reminds the guilt-laden Elspeth that “Eden only lasted so long.” There is no glimmer of Eden on the shores of Lake Erie.”

Read full review

Buy the book

Amazon | Foyles | Hive | Waterstones

Share Button
The Kept by James Scott The Omnivore



Tags: , , , ,

Back to Top ↑