The book’s cover is grey and boy do the contents deliver. In midst of a dreary western New York winter, a midwife returns to her remote home to find her family slaughtered. There is a sole survivor, her 12-year old son, Caleb. Caleb witnessed the edges of the massacre from his hiding spot in the barn, and since he can identify the three killers, mother and son set out on a vision quest of retribution. The prospect of a future showdown is a tantalizing payoff in The Kept.
The protagonists track the killers to the NY equivalent of Deadwood, SD, complete with its own Al Swearengen, and there the story gets a sprinkling of kidnapping, cross-dressing, murder, gay-bashing and lots of bad luck. The book is narrated from the points of view of the Caleb and his mother, Elspeth and jumps between them and back in time, but it isn’t too difficult to keep your bearings.
There are surprising details that emerge as the story progresses, including how Ma assembled their family of seven. As for the showdown at the end? No worries, we won’t spoil it…not that we could anyway.