Friday, June 20, 2008

The Trap, by Tabitha King

(hb; 1985)

From the inside flap:

"Olivia and Pat [Russell] appear to be the perfect couple. They are young, seemingly devoted, with two beautiful children and fulfilling careers -- she as a gifted artist, he as a promising screenwriter. But now, Liv's marriage is coming apart, and she does not quite know why. She has become a prisoner to her husband's ambitions and her wifely responsibilities. She is being forced to choose between the only way of life she loves and feels secure in, and one that appears alien and threatening -- with a husband she feels she no longer knows.

"To think, and to heal herself, she goes with her young son in the dead of winter to their family cottage in a now-deserted Maine summer community. It is there, in the one place Liv has always felt safe, that brutality and cruelty come into her life. Three young hoodlums, on a vicious treasure hunt through empty vacation houses, have discovered their ultimate prize -- and they have her trapped. And Liv, horrifying alone, suddenly realizes that the evil in our society is never far beneath the surface, waiting to erupt. To save her own life, and that of her son, she begins a desperate race against time to find within herself the strength, and the means, to thrwart her tormentors and escape."


This tangential tale in the Nodd's Ridge series is an improvement on Caretakers, the Nodd's Ridge novel that preceded The Trap. There's no middle sag, or feels-forced finish to this one, like there was in Caretakers. (Chronologically, the events in The Trap take place a year after Joe Nevers's death in Caretakers, which makes The Trap the third novel in the Nodd's Ridge timeline, just after Pearl.)

This is a good read, with relatable (or hiss-worthy) characters, believable action, and skillful writing. I'd been wary about reading this, because of my aversion to reading novels with sexual torture/rape scenes, and a dislike of hostage-situation mindf**k dramas, and King's writing quickly dispelled any reservations I'd had regarding the above elements: in the two brief rape scenes, King's prose was brief and somewhat blurred, compared to other scenes in the novel; and the hostage-situation mindf**k drama was kept to a minimum, as well.

[Note: For those readers wondering what happens to Olivia "Liv" Russell after the traumas of The Trap, read Pearl. Though Pearl is technically the second novel in the Nodd's Ridge series, it was actually written and published three years after The Trap.]

Good entry in the excellent Nodd's Ridge series. Worth your time, these books.

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