“Amid the desolate wilderness of the Great Plains of Nebraska, a region so isolated you could drive for hours without seeing another human being, sits Hatchery House. Having served as a church, an asylum and an orphanage, Hatchery is now a treatment facility for orphaned or abandoned children with psychiatric disorders. Haunted by patients past and present, only the most vulnerable find a home within its walls.
Dr. Lorelei ‘Lore’ Webber, a former FBI psychiatrist, has almost grown used to the unorthodox methods used at Hatchery House. But when one of her patients is murdered, Lore finds herself dragged into the centre of an investigation that unearths startling truths, shocking discoveries, and untold cruelty. And as the investigation unravels, Lore is forced to confront the past she’s spent her whole life running from – a secret that threatens to undo her entirely.
Darkly riveting and explosive, and with an unforgettable cast of deeply human characters, Those Who Return is a searing psychological thriller of guilt and redemption, set against a landscape as awe-inspiring as it is unforgiving.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to be joining the blog blast for Those Who Return. Those Who Return by Kassandra Montag is published by Quercus Books today (that’s Thursday 14th April 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Those Who Return but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Milly at Quercus Books for sending me a finished copy and asking me to join the blog blast.
I have a confession to make. I’m a little obsessed with books set in Nebraska at the moment. So when this book landed on my radar I jumped at the chance to read it. The cover is stunning and the blurb is so intriguing, it was impossible to refuse. So much so that I got stuck in as soon as my copy arrived at damppebbles HQ.
Ex-FBI psychiatrist Dr Lore Webber is still finding her feet at Hatchery House – a treatment facility for orphaned and abandoned children with psychiatric disorders – when the unthinkable happens. She discovers one of her young patients dead in an outlying field. With contacts still within the FBI, she makes the call and brings childhood friend and former lover, Cedar, in to investigate. Before long, Lore’s expertise is needed to help move the case along and she’s reluctantly dragged into proceedings. As Lore digs into the history of Hatchery House, it becomes clear the former church turned asylum turned orphanage has a dark and troubled history. Can Lore and Cedar discover what happened to young Luis before the killer strikes again…?
Those Who Return is a very readable, very engaging novel which I enjoyed losing myself in. The remoteness and the isolation of the unforgiving Nebraskan plains was the perfect setting for the novel, adding an air of loneliness, miles from help, to the story which I really enjoyed. Add to that the midwestern gothic feel of Hatchery House with its dark past and locked rooms, whispered tales of ghosts roaming the halls, its mysterious bell tower and the unpredictable nature of some of its residents and you have a very compelling tale indeed.
I enjoyed spending time with Lore and Cedar and really getting to know these two fascinating, yet complicated characters. I also enjoyed the glimpses the reader gets into some of the residents at the House. I felt the children were all believable characters, each with their own fully formed backstory. Particularly Ezra who broke my heart a little. His interactions with Lore were written incredibly well. As I mentioned, Lore and Cedar ARE both complicated characters with different yet troubled childhoods. Neglected by her mother, Lore is haunted by a death she feels she could have prevented. The grief and the guilt still weigh heavy on her shoulders. Cedar’s path to adulthood was never smooth, but the vicious attack of his older brother is something he and his family still deal with on a daily basis. However, Lore and Cedar have always had each other; whether friends, lovers or FBI colleagues. Less so recently following an FBI raid gone wrong and Lore’s detachment from the bureau. But it’s clear to the reader that these two people have a strong bond distance and time cannot break. I thought the relationship between the two characters was fascinating.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Those Who Return is a wonderfully atmospheric novel which I enjoyed reading. The characters were all well-drawn and interesting. The plot moved at a steady pace to its thrilling conclusion which I admit, I did see coming but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book at all. I enjoyed the time I spent with Those Who Return and would pick up another psychological suspense novel by this author without a second thought. Recommended.
I chose to read and review a free ARC of Those Who Return. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Those Who Return by Kassandra Montag was published in the UK by Quercus Books on 14th April 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
Kassandra Montag grew up in rural Nebraska and now lives in Omaha with her husband and two sons. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature and her award-winning poetry and short fiction has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Midwestern Gothic, Nebraska Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Mystery Weekly Magazine. After the Flood, her debut novel, will be published in over a dozen languages and has been optioned for a television series.