Title: The Preservationist
Author: Justin Kramon
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2013
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he'd been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, "a great beast of a birthday," as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam's attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia.
Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist is the riveting tale of Julia and Sam's relationship, which begins to unravel as the threat of violence approaches and Julia becomes less and less sure whom she can trust.
First, can I just say, HOORAY for a book description that doesn't give anything away! Especially a novel in the thriller genre! I feel like lately, every thriller I've read has had at least one semi-important detail given away in the description, which is a complete downer. Not so with The Preservationist. This novel kept me on my toes until the last page, and in the end, I was very happy with the small amount of information that the description sent me in with.
I will do my darndest to keep that trend up in my review here. Without giving anything away, I'll say that The Preservationist's biggest strength is in its alternating viewpoints. Justin Kramon does an excellent job unfolding each character's motives veeeery slowly. In the beginning, I felt like I was reading a typical boy-meets-girl story...and then suddenly, in the middle I realized how very twisted the plot had become. That poor Julia...girlfriend is surrounded by creepy dudes wanting to get in her pants. Le sigh.
Anyway, Kramon develops the protagonists in a way that leaves you constantly wondering who the bad guy(s) really are. For most of the novel, I had the unsettling feeling that all of the main characters were inherently...off in some way, which is exactly what I want in a suspenseful read. It wasn't until nearly the end that everyone's true colors were revealed.
The pacing was awesome as well--I never had a boring moment. In the beginning, everything seems so normal--the small college campus, the students acclimating to a new school year, etc. And then suddenly--this very normal, everyday setting gets turned on its head by very abnormal and unsettling events. This is a novel that will keep you up until 2am under the covers with your book light, because the last 20-ish% of it is pretty much impossible to put down.
I want to say so much more about this one...especially the development of the two primary male characters...but I can't, because I think I would give too much away. So you'll have to trust me a little bit here. If you want a thriller that's sure to keep you guessing (and keep you awake late into the night), The Preservationist is your cup o' soup. This one caught me unawares, which is the best kind of thriller, amiright?
As always, much thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
HERE. And connect with Justin Kramon on his website and Facebook page.