Soho. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781616955212; ebk. ISBN 9781616955229. F
OrangeReviewStarSet in "the zone"—the abandoned urban neighborhoods of Detroit—this is a tale of hard emotions in a hard environment. At the center of the novel is Kelly, an emotionally distant man in has thirties who has shut down as a result of past traumas. He makes a living by scavenging scrap metal from abandoned buildings, which is something of a metaphor for his life. Things begin to change when he sparks a relationship with a woman as physically damaged as he is emotionally. Then, one day while scavenging, he discovers a kidnapped boy locked in the basement of an abandoned house. Following the rescue, for which he's proclaimed a hero, he starts to see himself as the protector of the boy and sets out to avenge his kidnapping. Along the way, he discovers that someone close to the child is hurting him and comes face to face with his own past and the conventional expectations of society as he strives to protect someone he loves.
VERDICT Bell poses difficult, elemental questions about right and wrong and of what constitutes morality in a place where the usual rules don't always apply. And, refreshingly, the answers his protagonist arrives at are neither easy nor expected. [See Prepub Alert, 6/21/15.]
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