Reviewed by Libby
Every year the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine publishes a list of their Top Ten Debut Novels. In 2011, Alma Katsu’s first novel, The Taker (September 2011), was listed. This book has been on my to-be-read list since I first heard about it. I finally had a chance to read it and I am so glad I did.
The novel opens with Dr. Luke Findley arriving at a small town hospital in Maine for his night shift. A nurse pulls him aside to inform him that the sheriff is there with an unruly woman who requires medical attention. This woman, Lanny, has confessed to killing someone. When Luke first sees Lanny he feels as though he knows her from somewhere. But where? She looks like a young teenager, even though the sheriff referred to her as a woman. Once Luke is alone with her in the examination room, Lanny explains that the man she killed wanted to die. She begs Luke to help her escape. Much to his surprise and dismay, he agrees to help.
As it turns out, Luke has never met Lanny before. It’s not unusual for people to feel as though they know her from somewhere. Despite her adolescent outwardly appearance, she is a woman of great age. What is it about this woman that people find so alluring? How old is she, really?
These questions and many others are answered in this outstanding debut novel. Multiple plot lines and unexpected twists keep the reader engaged and the story line in motion. The author’s ability to smoothly transition between the early eighteenth century and modern-day times showcase her talents as a skilled writer. Katsu has achieved much in her debut novel.
There is so much more to this engrossing book than I can say without giving away spoilers. I highly recommend The Taker to readers who enjoy novels rich with imagery, mystery, and supernatural drama. This is the first book in a trilogy. The highly anticipated sequel, The Reckoning, was just released this past summer. The final book, The Descent, is expected to be available in May 2013.
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