This book reads like part modern day thriller, part biography.
Helena today is a family woman with a husband and two daughters, but even her husband has no idea of who the young Helena was, and what she went through before her transformation.
The young Helena was the daughter of the Marsh King. Her mother was his victim; she had been kidnapped as a teenager and held in the middle of the swamp lands of Michigan, where she was abused and kept captive, eventually giving birth to Helena.
Helena loved her father; he taught her to survive in the swamp, to track, to shoot, to use a knife and to fend for herself. But his love was tough love, vicious punishments were inflicted on Helena when she got things wrong. Even worse punishments were inflicted on her mother.
As she grows older Helena begins to realise her father and mother are not the only people in the world. The only knowledge she has of the world outside the swamp are some old Geographic magazines. She may be a good hunter gatherer, but she is very naive.
The young Helena had escaped the swamp and started to build a new life for herself. She stands out from other youths of her age. Her naivety is charming but her “its black or white” thinking leads her into a few scrapes with her new family and the community she lives in.
The book starts with Helena having a day out with her youngest daughter. Everything is going well until she turns the radio on. A killer has escaped from the local prison, it’s not just any killer, it’s the Marsh King, her Father.
She knows the only person that is going to be able to track him into the marsh is her, she knows his field craft, he taught her everything she knows………But did he teach her everything he knows.
The story switches between Helena today tracking her father, and through older Helena’s memories, the story of the young Helena.
What a story it is. I hadn’t read a book like this 3 years ago. That’s because nobody in the UK writes psychological thrillers, or crime thrillers, set in the wilderness, or none that I’ve found.
The Kindle has opened a whole new world to me and two of my favourite authors now are C.J. Box and Greg Isles.
It’s time to add another name to my list Karen Dionne has written one of the best crime-psycho-thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It’s almost as if somebody has taken the best of Box and merged it with the best of Isles.
She describes life in the swamp so well, that in the evenings when I was reading it I could have been there.
Helena, her main character had me Loving her, hating her, empathising with her and just about every other feeling an author can take a reader to.
This is a great read, but stand by for a few bumps along the way when you read it.