Cover Image: The Captive

The Captive

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Member Reviews

I’d like to thank Bonnier Book UK/Zaffre and NetGalley for approving me for an ARC of this book.

The whole concept of this book was deeply disturbing but wonderfully original. Can you imagine living with someone who had hurt you or a member of your family? If that was the only way to see them punished would you still press charges? I think Hannah was very brave to bring Jem into her house. I can understand why but at the same time I don’t know if I could of done it.

From the beginning this book grabbed my attention and the more I read the more I knew not everything was as it seemed. The alternating chapters between Hannah and Jem gave the book more pace and I really enjoyed learning about Jem’s childhood. I felt that his story represented so many and the author portrayed his upbringing in an honest and relatable way. The more I got to know Jem the more I liked him and understood his actions, I knew he was telling the truth but I also liked the air of mystery surrounding him. Many times I questioned what his involvement could be and really hoped he wasn’t going to go down in my estimation.

I felt that Hannah was very naïve, even I had worked out with the first few chapters why her best friend, Aisling, was avoiding her! As the book went on I warmed to her more and actually admired her determination and kindness. She had a good nature about her and I started to see why she hadn’t seen the signs earlier, she genuinely believed in the goodness of everyone. I loved the chapters that included her baking, the designs sounded sublime and had my taste buds tinging!

This was a thriller that delivered on all accounts. The writing was easy to follow and whilst I had guessed some of the revelations, the final chapters were packed with drama and tension!
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The Captive is a standalone psychological thriller from bestseller author Deborah O'Connor and follows Hannah Cavey after her police officer husband, John was murdered. If I had to describe The The Captive in three words they would be harrowing, disturbing and frightening in more or less equal measures. It’s pretty much what I would expect from a thriller set in modern society. But wow, what a stunning, well-thought-out masterpiece!

The prison system that failed to curb crime has been closed down in favour of a more cost-effective restorative justice ideal that sees the criminal living in a cage in the victim's home for the period of their sentence. Overseen by visits from a Domestic Liaison Officer the perpetrator will learn the true cost of their crime, first-hand. Baker and widow, Hannah Cavey's police officer husband, John, was murdered by 28-year-old Jem Dahlin, sentenced to 2o years. Grieving Hannah cannot bear the torments of having Jem in her home, but nevertheless, a cage is installed for Jem in her grand, but shabby house in the kitchen. With just enough room for a single bed, a basin, a table and a chair, Hannah will be responsible for Jem's needs for the next 2 decades.

After having read The Captive, I feel that I am completely indebted to Deborah O’Connor! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing not forgetting the feelings of fear, the control, and the powerlessness. Its superior plot and the author's intricate detailing made this a spine-chilling, impulsive read. The story is told from both Hannah's and Jem's viewpoints using different time periods and aspects. Deborah O’Connor has drawn a great character in Hannah and equally noteworthy is her portrayal of Jem, whose chapters also include flashbacks to his childhood. The writing is straightforward, it immediately drew me in, held my attention, and kept me invested emotionally.

There were instances where this was a tough read, and it was a little like being on a roller-coaster, with someone shouting “Do you want to go faster?” However, it was extremely worthwhile even though its theme was alien and unusual. Masterfully crafted and original, The Captive is fantastically compelling, all culminating in a thrilling and nerve-wracking ending.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and Deborah O’Connor’s writing is so impressive she is becoming one of my favourite authors.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Bonnier Books/ Zaffre via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for the arc of The Captive by Deborah O'Connor.

5 star read-  Met Detective John Cavey was murdered in an alleyway, since the prison system collapsed on itself any criminal now must be caged in their own homes for their whole sentence so this means they must clothe and feed them and over visits from the domestic liason officer..  Jem was the one who was sentenced to 20 years for the murder of the met detective John Cavey.  Hannah whom is Jem's wife is very uncomfrtable with having her murderer of a husband in the house but he keeps stating that it had nothing to do with him and that he is innocent to the fact that Hannah actually starts to believe he is too.  so she ends up confiding in Asling and Mickey whom is another police detective..  this is a really different, unique and wild thrilling story which had you hooked and gripped from the outset right up to the end

Totally recommend 5 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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I would firstly like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My favourite read from the author so far! 
I was utterly hooked and completely intrigued from beginning to end! 
Imagine a world where prisons don't exist, and instead the criminals have to be housed in a cell in their victim's family??? What?!? How did O'Connor think of this?? Gripping!! 
I instantly sympathised with Hannah. Her husband is murdered, and she has to have his murderer living in her house??? I can't imagine... shocking! 
Reading perspectives from both Hannah and the prisoner, this book had my full attention - so hard to put down! 
The only complaint I have is that, in places, the story was so fast-paced that, at times, I found myself confused as to where the story was. I'd read one line where Hannah was at home, and the next she was somewhere else. I don't know if this is writing error or just a kindle/paragraphing error. But it annoyed me a little. 
Either way... I really enjoyed this compelling unique read. Definitely recommend!
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The Captive gripped me from the synopsis and didn't let go right until the very last word! Set in the near future where the prisons have become overcrowded and underfunded the solution system of having perpetrators kept in cages of their victims' homes Hannah finds herself with a very unwanted house guest, the man who murdered her Husband! Hannah not only has to live with the criminal, Jem, she is also responsible for feeding him and has to interact with him on a daily basis. The idea is that criminals are more likely to be rehabilitated if they have to live facing the consequences of their actions on a daily basis. Hannah's Husband was a hard working and dedicated police detective who had been off duty when Jem attempt to mug him went horribly wrong. However, Jem is adamant that he isn't the killer and is determined to convince Hannah he has been wrongly convicted. What Jem is saying starts to get into Hannah's head and she goes digging in to what happened in to the lead up to her Husband's murder. Is Jem innocent? And what secrets is he hiding?
The way the book was written it seemed like all of the main characters had secrets or something that meant they weren't totally reliable and this was one aspect I loved. It left me feeling like I wasn't sure what was going to happen next, which in turn made the twists really interesting. I loved the rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts the book had me riding. A really well written thriller with a unique concept.
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Ridiculous, was really wanting to like this book from the premise but it was far fetched and unbelievable  Not for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Zaffre for the advanced copy.
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In a not too near future, over crowded prisons and a lack of public satisfaction with the course of justice,had led to the forming of a new system.Restorative justice is meted out in the form of a cell, built in the house of those who press charges against those who have committed crimes.

The hope is that by putting the criminal and victim in the same house,the criminal will face the consequences of their actions. In contrast, the victim gets the chance to face the worst moments of their lives over and over.In Hannah's case, her duty as host to Jem,the person found guilty of killing her husband, will last 20 long years.Her request to have Jem removed and put with alternative Hosts denied, she has to face her husband's killer as she goes about her daily business.

His cell is built in the basement of her house where her kitchen is. She cannot avoid him,and added to this,her neighbour is furious that this new 'guest' has driven the property prices down.But who in this game of cat and mouse, is actually the captive? As th3y begin to establish a new routine for daily cohabitation, Hannah digs deep to find more of her husband's belongings to keep his memory alive. But with Jem protesting his innocence,and certain inexplicable items coming to light in her searches, Hannah begins to suspect that someone close to her has been hiding the truth.

Who really was responsible for her husband, John's death?

Was it the last detective case he was working on?

Or something much more sinister?

As the threads of suspicion twine around her, Hannah looks for help in the most unlikely of places...The themes of this conceptual thriller are so interesting-how many of us would press charges against a criminal if it meant coming face to face with them for the length of their sentence?

Outside of Hannah's case,the wider implications are explored in the cases of those in her neighbourhood who have followed the law to different conclusions. Her helpful associate,Mr Dalgliesh who liases with her as a sort of social worker/prison officer tells her of cases gone wrong as cautionary tales.However, it raises so many questions that cross the lines of justice into gender based violence,culpability and criminal behaviour.

Surely someone who sets out to stalk and harrass a woman would want nothing more than to be ensconced within the confines of her home? Or, even worse,to avoid this fate they might avoid pressing charges to not suffer such a fate leaving a criminal free to strike again.There are so many aspects and angles to this set up that really gets you thinking about the concepts of justice and how well we, as a 21st century, still do not effectively deal with crimes in a way that truly punishes them.

And, in a week where one of outgoing president Trump's actions was to turn down the death row appeal of the first woman to be executed in decades,the impact and effect of justice is very much in my mind.I don't think there is a perfect notion of a punishment fitting the crime,however,taking the life of another definitively removes the potential for restorative justice. And in a patriarchal society where more women tend to be the victims of crimes than perpetrators,it seemed to me like another crime was being comitted against Hannah, and other women in the course of meeting the court mandated 'punishment' of hosting a criminal.

There is so much to think about when reading this novel but it never gets tied down in intricacies which distract from the essential humanity at its heart. The need for honesty,love and justice for the harm done to Hannah,is the cornerstone of the story. However,Jem's alternate chapters tell of how he ended up behind bars. The victim of a childhood no one wants to remember, was he a convenient scapegoat for the murder of a cop or did he really do it? And if so why?Another breathless and compulsive thriller which makes you feel like you are in the hands of a master storyteller,who will let you go when she is finished with you,I am a confirmed and committed fan of Deborah O'Connor!
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Imagine if you will, a crime is committed against you. It can be non-violent such as petty theft, or as horrible as rape. The perpetrator is found guilty, but the prisons are over-crowded and costing the government too much money to maintain. So, an alternative is put into place. Instead of sending the guilty person to live their sentence in prison, a cage is installed in the victim’s home where they will spend every day of their sentence. The victim is in charge of feeding them. A couple of times a week, a government worker will visit for showers and outside time. You hold the key. And if something were to happen an alarm around your neck is for emergencies. This is the story of The Captive.

Hannah’s husband, John, is murdered. The criminal (Jem) is found guilty and sentenced to live in a cage in Hannah’s kitchen. When I first started the book, I found the idea so far fetched that I didn’t know if I could continue. I decided to keep at it to see if it held my interest. It held my interest al the way until the last page. There were plot twists at every turn, which kept me guessing until the very end. While some aspects were somewhat predictable, the overall concept and outcome kept me Kongs’ my toes.

I recommend this book for the uniqueness and originality of the story. The author brought an idea she had to paper, and did a wonderful job in doing so.
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I have a little confession to make.  Although I have Deborah’s other books on my ever increasing to be read mountain, I haven’t actually got round to reading one……until now that is.  I read the synopsis for ‘The Captive and it certainly sounded like an interesting read.  So without further ado, I grabbed my copy, I grabbed a cup of tea and I settled down for what I hoped would be a thrilling read.  Oh I was spot on.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Captive’ but more about that in a bit.
As soon as I started to read that was it and I was away.  I found it extremely difficult to put this book to one side for any length of time.  The book travelled everywhere with me as I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of the story.  I had my own theories as what was going to happen and I had to keep reading to see if I was on the right track or if I had the wrong end of the stick entirely.  The pages couldn’t turn themselves quickly enough as I seemed to race through the story.  All too quickly I reached the end of the story.  I was gripped by this story from start to finish and I was on the edge of my seat throughout.
‘The Captive’ is superbly written.  I have to admit that at first, I thought that ‘The Captive’ was a little too far out of my comfort zone because there was an element that was almost science fiction/ futuristic like and I am not usually a fan of sci-fi/ futuristic books.  The fact that convicted criminals could be housed in cages in the homes of their victims and their families seemed a little too out there.  I needn’t have worried though because Deborah writes in such a way that makes the impossible seem possible.  She certainly knows to grab your attention and draw you into the story from the first word on the first page.  Once Deborah has your attention then she will not let you have it back until the moment you read the last word on the last page.  This was a tense, dramatic, rollercoaster ride of a read with several twists and turns along the way.  Deborah certainly knows how to keep the reader guessing.  
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Captive’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more from Deborah in the not too distant future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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I don’t know why I kept this one for so long on my Netgalley list, it was so intense!! 10% in and I was freaking out, didn’t want to go to sleep! I had lay in bed, in the dark reading that first 10% and if I hadn’t started to fall asleep I may have stayed awake reading more and being scared.

The idea behind the toy is amazing, can you imagine having to have someone live with you who had damaged your family in some way, murdered a loved one, caused harm to your children? Well for Hannah she has to do just this, her husbands murderer is placed in a cell built in her kitchen, to live out his prison sentence. I mean it’s crazy right! But wow does this book grip you!

The first half of the book was getting used to the characters, finding out all sorts of new information and becoming a detective yourself trying to work out the clues. The second half was so full of twists I honestly never knew what was going on.

I’d definitely recommend this one, and its made me want to check out Deborah’s other books!

Thanks again to Bonnier Zaffre and of course, as always, the author Deborah O’Connor
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Firstly a big thank you to the publishers for my copy to review on netgalley.

This looks like its going to be a huge hit this year. The title and cover alone capture your attention.

I raced through this exhilarating and exciting thriller. Its a original concept written with knowledge and style . Completely unpredictable and full of revelations.

Thought provoking as it features a form of punishment that we dont have in 2021 . Hannah has her husbands killer in her house but is all as it seems?

Published 7th January
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The Captive by Deborah O’Connor is pure entertainment from beginning to end. An intense and original thriller, it drew me in from the very first page and didn’t let go right up until the final thrilling page had been turned.

I’ve never read a book quite like this one before. Set in London in the near future it portrays a time when the UK criminal system has been radically reformed. Now, instead of going to prison, criminals are kept in a cage in the home of either their victim or their victim’s family for the duration of their sentence. The victim is responsible for the welfare of the prisoner, supported only by a Domestic Liaison Officer who oversees proceedings, making sure everything is running smoothly.

And so it is with horror and great reluctance that Hannah finds herself as host to Jem, her husband’s murderer. Forced to spend time with him due to the fact his cage has been installed in her kitchen where she needs to work, the pair begin to talk, with Jem telling her that he is innocent of her husband’s murder. As more and more details come to light, Hannah begins to question everything she thought she knew about the man she was married to. Could Jem be telling the truth? And if he is, can Hannah find out the truth before it’s too late?

The Captive is an utterly compelling read that I thoroughly enjoyed. With twists and turns throughout, it kept me guessing right up until its final, shocking denouement. Deborah O’Connor’s writing is wonderful, drawing you into the story and bringing this strange but horrifying tale vividly to life. Even the thought of it makes me shudder! Hannah is a character I liked from the outset, with the dilemma she finds herself in making me feel almost protective of her as the story progressed.

I don’t want to say much more for fear of spoiling the story, but suffice to say The Captive is an intense and original thriller that I would highly recommend. The perfect read to kick 2021 off with style!
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Hannah is preparing herself for a life changing moment- when she comes face to face with the man who killer her beloved husband. Jem, is prepared to tell all but how will Hannah take the news? 
This was one amazing read! The whole setting, although a very unknown concept, works amazingly and it was not what I expected at all. I highly recommend you read this! Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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When you read the title of this book you don’t know who does it refer to; is it the man in cuffs who has to stay in a prison for 20 years or the woman who will host him after he has killed her husband?
I really liked this ambiguity, in Catalan the names are feminine or masculine but in English they are neutral, making it interesting to discern who is referring to by this adjective. Because, let’s be honest, you have to be very brave to have in your own home the man who has killed your husband, taking care of him and giving him food. This is the world Hannah will have to live in for the next 20 years, he loved her husband but Jem killed him in a failed robbery, why? She can’t stay to ask questions till she discovers the real truth, a dark truth that will mark her forever.
This is a book to make you think about society and convicts, I really didn’t like the option that this book presented, that when someone commits a crime the person that was affected has to live and take care of the convict. It seems a way to keep the prisons free and everyone able to do whatever they want without the punishment they deserve. But this book touches other interesting themes that will keep any reader thinking; affairs, pregnancy, love… A slow paced story with a closed ending but with so many important points in it that it will be impossible to stop thinking about it.
So, expect a deep and intricate story, impossible to put down, believe me!
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Well, this book kept me entertained from the beginning to the end!
What a novel idea! Someone commits a crime against you and they get to spend their sentence in a small jail cell in your house..... Doesn't matter if its 2 years or 20 years! In an ideal world this would be a perfect solution with jails that's overcrowded BUT we don't live in a perfect world and how can a victim find justice like this?
Hannah's husband was a Met detective who was stabbed to death in an alleyway. She must now host Jem, the man found guilty, but all is not what it seems and soon she finds out shocking things about her husband. What is Jem hiding and is he a good guy or not?
The characters are well rounded and the storyline is very unique and well-executed! 

A definite must-read! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bonnier Books UK and Zaffre for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I would give this book 4 stars for the first half and 3 for the second half! The story takes place in the near future, where traditional incarceration in prisons has been replaced by restorative justice, with the perpetrator serving out their sentence in a cell within the house of their victim or victim’s family. The victim is responsible for the prisoner’s wellbeing, feeding them and looking after them in their small cell. It reads a lot like a Black Mirror episode in that the scenarios in the book really could happen in a frightening, not too distant future.

It starts really well and the story is very gripping and different, although towards the end it veers off a bit and becomes quite predictable. There are also a few characters whose stories aren’t brought to an end and who don’t seem to play an important part in the book.

Overall a good and unique read, and I look forward to reading more of Deborah O’Connor’s books!

With thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Books/Zaffre for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Six months ago, Hannah's husband was murdered. The man convicted of the crime now lives in a cell. But he's not in prison. His cell is in Hannah's home, his care is her responsibility, and her life will never be the same again...

This started out as one of the most gripping and unique books I've ever read. I mean, come on, that synopsis is insane! And while I'm all for a bit of restorative justice, taking it to the extreme that the victim (or their family if the victim died) must care for the perpetrator seriously messes with your head, and it creates a world where things definitely get a little dark and morally ambiguous. If you knew you'd have to live with your burglar/rapist/attacker of any kind, would you report the crime? Would you be able to host that person, to be responsible for them, to care for them, for years? What sort of life would you, and they, have?

However, while I expected a complex thriller considering the moral implications of such a world, what you instead got was something that, despite a strong start, quickly devolved into something a bit less gripping. To be fair, it was an interesting book, but as it developed it lost some of its uniqueness and sparkle. As such, it's a tricky one to review. I loved the concept, and the unique nature of the world building and initial plot. However, the story as it developed did become more predictable, and I was disappointed that the author chose to take it down the route that they did rather than veer into more uncharted territory. However, I am very much in the minority here, as it does have excellent reviews, so make of that what you will!

3.5 stars rounded down to 3. 

Disclaimer - I was fortunate enough to be provided with an advance reading copy of this book by NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.
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Very enjoyable, written at a beautiful pace the story unfolds wonderfully. Fantastic characters. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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An absolutely brilliant and terrifying story. I think I held my breath through the whole book. I loved it and don't want to give too much away. Highly recommended.
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Imagine a society where the victim of a crime (or their family) is expected to accommodate the convicted person responsible in a prison cell in their own home?

In the near future UK prisons are a thing of the past. In their place, a focus on restorative justice and an emphasis on rehabilitation instead of mass incarceration for those who break the law.

Jem murdered Hannah's husband.

Now he's locked in a cage situated in Hannah's kitchen.

His sentence is twenty years.

Hannah is responsible for all his needs for the next two decades.

Then she uncovers several red flags regarding her husband's past.

And the more she gets to know Jem the less convinced she is that he is a killer.

But if Jem didn't murder her husband, then who did?

And how much danger is Hannah placing herself to get to the truth.

Holy cow! This unique, expertly-crafted futuristic thriller sure knocked me for six. The terrifying reality these characters inhabited makes me grateful for our current prison system. Okay so it may be lacking in some respects but this is not in any way an acceptable or healthy alternative. I was utterly impressed and shell-shocked by how everything came together in the end. The last 20% was nail-biting non-stop action suspense.

The Captive is mainly crime, mystery, and domestic noir, but sci-fi as well since the technology used doesn't currently exist in mainstream society. I’m also classing it as dystopian, which may seem a bit odd since life in general pretty much mirrored ours, however the justice system did not, and as a result it was definitely a country governed by a rigid set of rules, not to mention control, fear, loss of freedoms, and powerlessness that affected the majority of the population. And there was even time for romance, but there's nothing I can share about that subplot without spoiling it.

I love that the author took her time explaining the rules of the home prison system rather than bombarding me with an overload of information, yet it was always abundantly clear how the scheme worked. She even included personal accounts of situations where the current system had failed prisoners and victims, horror stories of all the ways things had gone disturbingly wrong, which made the whole thing even more scarily real.

Hannah and Jem were the main narrators, and Jem's chapters also included flashbacks to his childhood. I bonded with both characters and felt for their plight. The writing was straightforward, immediately drew me in, held my attention, and kept me invested emotionally.

Last year I added Deborah O’Connor's, The Dangerous Kind to my tbr, but never got around to reading it. After this phenomenal read I'll definitely be bumping it up my list.

I'd like to thank Netgalley, Bonnier Books/Zaffre and Deborah O'Connor for the e-ARC.
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