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The riveting story of a woman convicted of a brutal crime, the prison psychologist who recognizes her as his high-school crush—and the charged reunion that sets off an astonishing chain of events with dangerous consequences for both As an inmate psychologist at a state prison, Frank Lundquist has had his fair share of surprises. But nothing could possibly prepare him for The riveting story of a woman convicted of a brutal crime, the prison psychologist who recognizes her as his high-school crush—and the charged reunion that sets off an astonishing chain of events with dangerous consequences for both As an inmate psychologist at a state prison, Frank Lundquist has had his fair share of surprises. But nothing could possibly prepare him for the day in which his high school object of desire, Miranda Greene, walks into his office for an appointment. Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his Manhattan private practice and landed him in his unglamorous job at Milford Basin Correctional Facility in the first place, Frank knows he has an ethical duty to reassign Miranda’s case. But Miranda is just as beguiling as ever, and he’s insatiably curious: how did a beautiful high school sprinter and the promising daughter of a congressman end up incarcerated for a shocking crime? Even more compelling: though Frank remembers every word Miranda ever spoke to him, she gives no indication of having any idea who he is.Inside the prison walls, Miranda is desperate and despairing, haunted by memories of a childhood tragedy, grappling with a family legacy of dodgy moral and political choices, and still trying to unwind the disastrous love that led to her downfall. And yet she is also grittily determined to retain some control over her fate. Frank quickly becomes a potent hope for her absolution—and maybe even her escape.Propulsive and psychologically astute, The Captives is an intimate and gripping meditation on freedom and risk, male and female power, and the urges toward both corruption and redemption that dwell in us all.


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The riveting story of a woman convicted of a brutal crime, the prison psychologist who recognizes her as his high-school crush—and the charged reunion that sets off an astonishing chain of events with dangerous consequences for both As an inmate psychologist at a state prison, Frank Lundquist has had his fair share of surprises. But nothing could possibly prepare him for The riveting story of a woman convicted of a brutal crime, the prison psychologist who recognizes her as his high-school crush—and the charged reunion that sets off an astonishing chain of events with dangerous consequences for both As an inmate psychologist at a state prison, Frank Lundquist has had his fair share of surprises. But nothing could possibly prepare him for the day in which his high school object of desire, Miranda Greene, walks into his office for an appointment. Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his Manhattan private practice and landed him in his unglamorous job at Milford Basin Correctional Facility in the first place, Frank knows he has an ethical duty to reassign Miranda’s case. But Miranda is just as beguiling as ever, and he’s insatiably curious: how did a beautiful high school sprinter and the promising daughter of a congressman end up incarcerated for a shocking crime? Even more compelling: though Frank remembers every word Miranda ever spoke to him, she gives no indication of having any idea who he is.Inside the prison walls, Miranda is desperate and despairing, haunted by memories of a childhood tragedy, grappling with a family legacy of dodgy moral and political choices, and still trying to unwind the disastrous love that led to her downfall. And yet she is also grittily determined to retain some control over her fate. Frank quickly becomes a potent hope for her absolution—and maybe even her escape.Propulsive and psychologically astute, The Captives is an intimate and gripping meditation on freedom and risk, male and female power, and the urges toward both corruption and redemption that dwell in us all.

30 review for The Captives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    Here is yet another book where the cover is too YA for the content. Anyway, we know from the onset that a crime has been committed because high school ‘it’ girl is, many years later, in prison. While incarcerated she comes under the care of a former classmate who is now a psychologist. This guy was (and still is) obsessed with her. It is clear that both characters exist in captivity. One in obvious ways and the other in ways that are less apparent. What follows is a spellbinding psychological ta Here is yet another book where the cover is too YA for the content. Anyway, we know from the onset that a crime has been committed because high school ‘it’ girl is, many years later, in prison. While incarcerated she comes under the care of a former classmate who is now a psychologist. This guy was (and still is) obsessed with her. It is clear that both characters exist in captivity. One in obvious ways and the other in ways that are less apparent. What follows is a spellbinding psychological tale of deceit and control. Immergut takes this well worn trope, shakes it up and gives us something that is fresh and vivid even though it’s told from alternating perspectives. This device works here and fleshes out the backstories rather nicely. The prison scenes seem particularly authentic as well they should given that the author volunteered at prisons for years. This is a terrific and psychologically incisive novel that kept me utterly engrossed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I haven’t seen much early buzz about The Captives and I’m not sure why, the blurb alone is eye catching and the cover caught my eye immediately as well, and then I started reading this gem. A profound and sharply intelligent crime novel is a rarity, don’t get me wrong, I love my crime fiction and devour it weekly, but most of the books that fall under the umbrella of CF don’t hold a candle to The Captives, this is a special book from an incredibly talented writer, they type I won’t soon forget. T I haven’t seen much early buzz about The Captives and I’m not sure why, the blurb alone is eye catching and the cover caught my eye immediately as well, and then I started reading this gem. A profound and sharply intelligent crime novel is a rarity, don’t get me wrong, I love my crime fiction and devour it weekly, but most of the books that fall under the umbrella of CF don’t hold a candle to The Captives, this is a special book from an incredibly talented writer, they type I won’t soon forget. This flips back and forth between Frank and Miranda’s perspectives and each were equally enthralling. Miranda is in prison, at the start her crime is blurry but you do know she is serving serious time and her lack of hope and total desperation is heartbreakingly apparent. Frank may not actually be a prisoner himself but he is a slave to his own tortured soul and his pain and despair was also woefully raw. Their relationship is harrowing yet beautifully restrained, not having any clue how things would play out kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and you just know things won’t end well for these two. Immergut’s prose is lyrical and astute, her knowledge of the inner workings of a women’s prison is glaringly clear and heart wrenching all at once, some of these women’s personal stories were achingly sad. There was such an authenticity to this aspect that it was hard to stomach at times, but nothing so disturbing that I was bothered too much. I was reminded of Laura Lippman, it had that same well executed sophistication as both her plotting and writing has and I bet fans of her work will enjoy this one as much as I did. The Captives in three words: Intelligent, Enthralling and Keen.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Frank Lundquist is a psychologist at the Milford Basin Correctional Facility for Women. He recently suffered a scandal that led him to close his very successful private practice in Manhattan. The basement office of a women's prison is not the future he had envisioned for himself. With his failed marriage and a heroin addicted younger brother things in his life seem to be in a constant downward spiral. Then one day she walks into the room. She's a new inmate at Milford Basin and also Frank's high Frank Lundquist is a psychologist at the Milford Basin Correctional Facility for Women. He recently suffered a scandal that led him to close his very successful private practice in Manhattan. The basement office of a women's prison is not the future he had envisioned for himself. With his failed marriage and a heroin addicted younger brother things in his life seem to be in a constant downward spiral. Then one day she walks into the room. She's a new inmate at Milford Basin and also Frank's high school crush. He was, and still is, completely obsessed with Miranda Greene. She was beautiful, a star athlete, and had a congressman as a father so what could she have possibly done to lead her through these prison doors with a 52 year sentence? He knows that he is morally obligated to pass her case to someone else but it doesn't appear that she remembers him so what's the harm if he continues treating her? This is where things get complicated. I found this book to be exceptionally well written. I was invested in Frank and Miranda's story but I also loved the side stories that went along with it and how they slowly connect with one another. Sometimes being held captive within our own minds can be the most dangerous place of all. Thank you to Harper Collins/Ecco and Debra Jo Immergut for sending me an advance ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zuky the BookBum

    This is one of those novels where I’m a bit conflicted about my feelings. At one moment I loved it, at another I found myself a little underwhelmed. I thought the characterisation in this novel was fantastic, especially when getting to know Frank. Since the book revolves around just 2 main characters and follows each of their mindsets closely, we, as readers, get a deep insight into their thoughts, feelings and lives. I personally preferred getting to know Frank as I found his story more interest This is one of those novels where I’m a bit conflicted about my feelings. At one moment I loved it, at another I found myself a little underwhelmed. I thought the characterisation in this novel was fantastic, especially when getting to know Frank. Since the book revolves around just 2 main characters and follows each of their mindsets closely, we, as readers, get a deep insight into their thoughts, feelings and lives. I personally preferred getting to know Frank as I found his story more interesting to follow. There is quite a bold claim on the front of this novel, that it’s “Gone Girl meets Orange is the New Black”, but I have to disagree. With that comparison, you would expect this novel to be fast-paced, clever, emotional, and witty. However, it is not all these things, and not necessarily in a bad way, I just don’t think it should be marketed that way. This novel is very slow to get off the ground, and when it eventually does, it’s not very fast paced, more of a plod. I think the plot for this story takes a backburner to the characters. Where Frank and Miranda are so well developed and have strong, clear narratives, the actual storyline dithers a little bit and doesn’t really go very far. Of course, there is quite a definitive moment in the story but it’s mere pages from the end of the book and then isn’t given enough time to progress. One thing I have to say is that the title of this novel is so well incorporated into the story! It works because Miranda is a captive, of course, she’s in prison, but Frank is also a captive. A captive of his emotions. I only figured this after I put the book down, but I thought it worth mentioning. Like I said, I’m conflicted… I loved the characters and Immergut is a pro at making you become her characters, however, the story lacked for me after so much was promised. (My final rating is 3.5 stars) Thank you to Titan Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Taryn Pierson

    I have seen basically zero hype for The Captives, and I can’t figure out why because it’s a great thriller. It has all the elements I want: an interesting hook, complex characters (each with their own dark side), and that disorienting feeling that comes when you realize you can’t trust any of them to tell the truth. Seriously, how is no one talking about this book?! Frank is a therapist, relegated to an unglamorous role at a women’s prison after a public fall from grace. When Miranda walks into h I have seen basically zero hype for The Captives, and I can’t figure out why because it’s a great thriller. It has all the elements I want: an interesting hook, complex characters (each with their own dark side), and that disorienting feeling that comes when you realize you can’t trust any of them to tell the truth. Seriously, how is no one talking about this book?! Frank is a therapist, relegated to an unglamorous role at a women’s prison after a public fall from grace. When Miranda walks into his office, he recognizes her immediately as his high school crush. She was beautiful, popular, unattainable, and as you might expect, she has no memory of Frank whatsoever. Ethics dictate that Frank should immediately acknowledge their prior connection and reassign Miranda to another therapist, but in the first of a series of questionable decisions, he keeps quiet. Maybe it started as simple curiosity—how could someone like Miranda, who in his eyes led such a charmed life, wind up doing hard time? The perspective shifts between Frank and Miranda, although Frank’s is the only one in first person. While at first this inconsistency was distracting, by the end of the book I had a pretty good feel for why Immergut made this choice. Miranda is always kept at a distance, effectively obscuring her motivations and keeping several key memories at bay until Immergut is ready to dole those details out. Conversely, Frank’s perspective seems to get narrower and narrower as he grows more obsessed with his client. You can feel his life telescoping down until there’s only room left for him and her—or at least, his idea of her. I’m not sure why this one is so under-the-radar, but I’m glad it was on my summer reading list!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Mullan

    Very commercial, very bland, forgettable for the most part. Worth the time - probably not. Redeeming qualities- a slightly different plot and not too long winded. Lacks in pretty much every area.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Review to follow as part of the blog tour.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White

    I was a bit disappointed with this one to be honest. Part of the story was really good but Frank and his obsession was just annoying. Great narrators helped though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    3.5 Review to come!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Thank you so much to Ecco Books for providing my free copy of THE CAPTIVES by Debra Jo Immergut - all opinions are my own. Frank Lundquist is a psychologist at the Milford Basin Correctional Facility. He’s had some professional setbacks that landed him this very undesirable job, but when his new patient Miranda Greene walks through the door, everything changes. He had a big crush on her in high school and she’s still as charming as ever, but she doesn’t seem to remember who he is. Miranda is haun Thank you so much to Ecco Books for providing my free copy of THE CAPTIVES by Debra Jo Immergut - all opinions are my own. Frank Lundquist is a psychologist at the Milford Basin Correctional Facility. He’s had some professional setbacks that landed him this very undesirable job, but when his new patient Miranda Greene walks through the door, everything changes. He had a big crush on her in high school and she’s still as charming as ever, but she doesn’t seem to remember who he is. Miranda is haunted by her past, losing hope, and full of despair. He is wondering why someone like Miranda Greene, the beautiful daughter of a congressman, is in prison for such a brutal crime. He has an ethical obligation to reassign the case, but what’s the harm if she doesn’t remember him? I’ve never read a psychological thriller quite like this one. It’s an exquisitely written and intelligent book that I cannot stop thinking about. The chapters alternate between Frank’s perspective in first person and Miranda’s in the third. Both Miranda and Frank are traumatized by their past and it’s interesting to see how their stories play out. I also really enjoyed the back stories and how everything connects together in due time. The language is vivid, descriptive, and the details are authentic and well researched. I felt the harrowing tension and claustrophobic atmosphere because Immergut writes about prison life so brilliantly. It’s a very intriguing concept that it can be just as dangerous to be “captive” inside your own mind. THE CAPTIVES is a stellar debut! It’s very character-driven, compelling, and has a fantastic ending you won’t see coming! Highly recommended!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark Day

    Once again I have been let down by placing my trust in critic reviews. Book Browse shortlisted this novel so I jumped aboard the publicity train and wasted my money. The reader is asked to buy into a plot where a prison psychologist is willing to throw away his life and career in order to be a big daddy to an inmate who was the object of his adolescent sexual infatuation. The sub-plots were equally melodramatic and shallow. This whole novel was suitable for a soap opera or a made for TV movie. I Once again I have been let down by placing my trust in critic reviews. Book Browse shortlisted this novel so I jumped aboard the publicity train and wasted my money. The reader is asked to buy into a plot where a prison psychologist is willing to throw away his life and career in order to be a big daddy to an inmate who was the object of his adolescent sexual infatuation. The sub-plots were equally melodramatic and shallow. This whole novel was suitable for a soap opera or a made for TV movie. If you are looking for a mindless beach read, jump aboard the publishers marketing train.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    You know the saying: don't judge a book by its cover. But, in this case, it applies. I should have known The Captives was going to disappoint by the cheesy cover alone. ** Warning! Spoilers include sexual predatory behavior and too many insta-love moments ** The YA-like story concerns Frank Lundquist, who is relegated to counseling at a women's prison after a client of his commits an atrocious crime. He is shocked to see that one of his patients is none other than Miranda Greene, the object of You know the saying: don't judge a book by its cover. But, in this case, it applies. I should have known The Captives was going to disappoint by the cheesy cover alone. ** Warning! Spoilers include sexual predatory behavior and too many insta-love moments ** The YA-like story concerns Frank Lundquist, who is relegated to counseling at a women's prison after a client of his commits an atrocious crime. He is shocked to see that one of his patients is none other than Miranda Greene, the object of his high school obsession. Miranda is in prison for pretty much the rest of her useless life for her complicity in the death of an officer and having bad taste in men. She can sense Frank's interest in her and decides to use his slavering devotion to get a prescription for sleeping pills so she can commit suicide. Readers get a taste of Miranda's Orange is the New Black life and the lives of her inmate friends, the only interesting part of the book. Unfortunately, we also get a taste of Frank's subservient, moony love for Miranda. He hasn't seen her in over two decades, he has no idea who she is, what she likes, but, naturally, he's in lurrrvvvee. Why? I don't know. Because she's hot? From what he constantly spouts about her appearance, that's the author’s lame attempt to explain his insta-love for her. He's so in LURVE with her, he devises a plan right out of a telenovela after her botched suicide is foiled when she is discovered in time. Miranda will dose herself a second time and be rescued in time to be transported to the hospital, where only one guard watches her. Frank will spring her from the hospital with his deadbeat junkie brother. Brilliant plan, Frank. Things almost go according to plan until Miranda balks at the plan. After her first suicide attempt was foiled, she promised her parents never to do it again. Frank is appalled. How can she do this to him? He is willing to sacrifice his career for her and now she wants to destroy the happy life he has wrought of them together out of his fantasies. So, what does this so-called educated medical professional do? Frank takes away Miranda's right to consent by dosing her tea with a bunch of pills he's kept stashed away (just in case) something like this came up. What a caring, considerate guy. Why doesn't he just assault her while she's blacked out while he’s at it? There's some other ridiculous crap about drug smuggling in the prison and thugs tracking Frank and Miranda out in Timbuktu for revenge. That's not important. What is important is how despicable Frank is. Sometimes, I wondered if he was 15 years old, not middle aged, because he sure spoke and acted like a hormonal, boneheaded teenager. But at least youth would explain some of his brainless actions. Miranda is no prize. She has a talent for hooking up with losers and spends more time describing how masculine and sexy her sexual partners are. Clearly, she has issues. That's not even the worst of it. Miranda also lacks remorse. She is an entitled, middle-aged brat who takes no responsibility for her actions. She vacillates between mentioning she may deserve her time in prison and penning a letter to the victim's family and stating she doesn't belong in prison because she was once a good girl. The daughter of a one-time senator. How could she end up here of all places? Easy three-word answer. You're an idiot. And maybe so was I, a little, for reading this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Kiernan

    Fantastic, compelling, funny and dark. This is a terrific new novel with a fresh voice and penetrating prose. Into the office of a prison psychologist with a checkered past waltzes the girl he had an unrequited crush on in high school. Professional ethics say he should immediately hand her to another practitioner, but instead he takes her on as a client, and increasingly as an obsession. But she's no ordinary girl. She's a convicted killer. Minimal violence but plenty of tension, vivid scenes, r Fantastic, compelling, funny and dark. This is a terrific new novel with a fresh voice and penetrating prose. Into the office of a prison psychologist with a checkered past waltzes the girl he had an unrequited crush on in high school. Professional ethics say he should immediately hand her to another practitioner, but instead he takes her on as a client, and increasingly as an obsession. But she's no ordinary girl. She's a convicted killer. Minimal violence but plenty of tension, vivid scenes, ripping narrative -- it's all here. There are times you think you are ahead of the characters, in terms of figuring out what is going on, but there are enough surprises to change your mind. A wonderfully ambiguous ending. Highly recommend.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is the first book by Debra Jo Immergut that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing but judging by how much I enjoyed this book, it certainly won’t be the last book by her that I read. I really did enjoy it but more about that in a bit. Miranda and Frank are two people, who knew each other back when they were in the same year at school. Frank had a crush on Miranda but she knows nothing about it. They reunite in the most desperate of circumstances. Miranda is currently incarcerated This is the first book by Debra Jo Immergut that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing but judging by how much I enjoyed this book, it certainly won’t be the last book by her that I read. I really did enjoy it but more about that in a bit. Miranda and Frank are two people, who knew each other back when they were in the same year at school. Frank had a crush on Miranda but she knows nothing about it. They reunite in the most desperate of circumstances. Miranda is currently incarcerated in a women’s prison and is in there because she has been found guilty of murder. Frank is the prison psychologist, who is available to see the women, who are in need of counselling or psychological therapy. Frank can’t believe it when Miranda enters the room and sits in front of him. Miranda doesn’t recognise him at first but she has a feeling that his face seems familiar. I started off feeling sorry for Miranda and at times I wanted to just give her a huge hug. We don’t find out what exactly happened when Miranda murdered someone all in one go. Instead the author drops little clues and hints throughout the book that gradually come together like all the pieces of a jigsaw. Frank is similar to Miranda in the sense that both have been through their own psychological trauma and are trying to make sense of what happened. Frank is passionate about his work, which I completely understand and got because I would love to have Frank’s job as I find psychology fascinating. If there’s one thing I like, it’s discovering new authors and reading a good psychological thriller. Well ‘The Captives’ certainly ticked both of those boxes. I was hooked on this book from the moment I picked this book up. The synopsis certainly intrigued me and I was interested to see how the story would develop. I became addicted to reading this book and I regularly had to have my next fix of ‘The Captives’. I initially picked up this book only intending to read a chapter but 5 chapters later and I was still reading. The author’s writing style is such that you can’t fail to be drawn into the story. The author uses such powerful descriptions that I could fully appreciate the claustrophobic nature of a prison. At times I really did feel as though I was in prison and living in fearful anticipation of what might happen next in the powder keg of a prison. The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Frank and Miranda. Frank’s chapter is voiced in the first person and Miranda’s chapters are in the third person. This way of telling the story works really well and the story flows seamlessly. It was sometimes harrowing to read about what led to the circumstances of Miranda’s jail sentence. In a way both Miranda and Frank have been traumatised by circumstances of their past and because I am a nosy parker, it was fascinating to read about what happened to them to make them react as they did and how they turned into the people that we find in this book. In conclusion, I really did enjoy ‘The Captives’ and I will most certainly look out for other books by this author. I would definitely recommend this book to other readers. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a well deserved 4* out of 5*.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Smith

    I've fallen behind. In everything. And although I have finished reading nine books since my last Reading post on April 23 (and tossed aside three more after having reached between page 50 and 100), I'm choosing to focus on only one because I want to use what little influence I have to encourage its wider readership and I worry it will be lost in the glut of novels promoted as summer/beach reads, misrepresented by comparisons with all those novels with Girl or Train or Window in their titles, whi I've fallen behind. In everything. And although I have finished reading nine books since my last Reading post on April 23 (and tossed aside three more after having reached between page 50 and 100), I'm choosing to focus on only one because I want to use what little influence I have to encourage its wider readership and I worry it will be lost in the glut of novels promoted as summer/beach reads, misrepresented by comparisons with all those novels with Girl or Train or Window in their titles, which would be both reductive and mistaken, but all too often it is the easy-out sort of comparison that gets published and called a review. I don't review. I appreciate. (Which is another reason I'm not writing about a lot of the eight other books I read since my April 23rd post.) So, I give you: The Captives, Debra Jo Immergut, Hardcover, 288pp, June 2018, Ecco Frank Lundquist is a psychologist whose loss of emotional control with a young patient cost him his private practice, reducing him to a basement-office position as inmate psychologist in a New York State women's prison. Into his office walks the girl-of-his-high school-dreams, Miranda Green, whose lack of emotional judgment cost her the freedom and privileged life into which she'd been born, reducing her to the state-issued yellow uniform and inmate number she wears. In chapters with alternating points of view --- Frank's narrative in first-person, Miranda's in close-third --- the compelling trajectory of their re-union and re-acquaintance is teased, piecemeal, interwoven with a tessellation of details from their histories --- together and separately --- creating a psychological thriller in which each detail matters, the pieces adding up to a carefully wrought, unexpected whole. Both Frank and Miranda are in the grip of obsessions, in thrall to their pasts, most especially regrets about who they might have been and wishes about opportunities missed, and the yearning to, somehow, undo what was done --- or, to do now what was not done then. Debra Jo Immergut masterfully observes the ways in which people operate from different levels and layers of identity in pursuit of their life-goals, in pursuit of love, in pursuit of escape, in pursuit of revision --- the grown up version of the child's game-losing plea, "Pretend that didn't happen!" This is an exploration of the lengths to which one will go when the other players in that life as playground-scenario taunt with, "No takebacks!" And make no mistake, while this is a fast-moving, stay-up-all-night read about crime, punishment, escape, and Mr. Ripley-esque otherness, those are maguffins --- fascinating and captivating maguffins, but, maguffins nevertheless, tools with which Debra Jo Immergut explores the nature of human behavior, the journey to and from self, and the shapes desire takes, and the limits and lines people cross when desperate to extricate themselves from their past, their present, the reality they've made. This is about what someone will do when faced with the dichotomy of "pretend that didn't happen" versus "no takebacks!" Along the way there is wonderful, well-shaped prose, including my very favorite line, one I wish I'd written: "The last thing she wanted to do was kill herself only to wake up alive." That's a great line and it works on all sorts of levels in this narrative. Both Frank and Miranda have nearly dead past selves; Frank's with an ex-wife and a once promising career, Miranda with a dangerous ex-lover and a father who was once a successful politician but has become an operator in the shadows of not quite legal lobbying, and a sister who died in a car sort-of accident, and ... well, I don't want to give away too many pieces of the story, the fabric of which you will enjoy discovering as you read. Suffice to say that when Frank and Miranda meet, later in life, both in failure mode, Frank instantly recognizes his high school dream girl, while Miranda seems not to know who Frank is, rather, she merely sees him as a means to an end, a stranger, until she realizes who he is --- or, did she actually know all the time? It's all part of the mystery: What is discovered and known when? By whom? Who uses whom? Who crosses more lines and is the most double-crossing and back-pedaling? And when and how are the truths and untruths recognized, who on the canvas of characters --- the other inmates who Miranda befriends or makes enemies of, Frank's renowned psychiatrist father, and his drug addicted brother and his dealer --- are complicit in what unfolds? Frank asks at the beginning of the narrative who knows what they would do in circumstances such as he finds himself in, a question that also applies to Miranda, and it is that question which drives the novel. These two main characters begin the story with each of them trying to let go of the dead-self they once were, but in the course of their journey, each wonders if the other might not be able to revive that lost part of them. Is it possible to erase the past in the present? Or, are we forever trapped in who we are, who we've been, and the choices we've made? This is a tale about the different ways in which a person can be held captive outside of prison bars, caged by circumstance and emotions, history and desire. Debra Jo Immergut does the question justice and It keeps the reader guessing and riveted in this kickass debut novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I had a hard time understanding what, exactly, was going on through much of this book, but kept slogging along thinking that all would be revealed to me. Well, I got to the end and still didn't understand. But you know what? I don't care.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bernard B.

    This is my favorite kind of novel, smart searing portraits of real people that is also an ingenious psychological thriller. It delves psychology and American prisons, following Frank, a psychologist at a state prison, who, in the course of his professional work with inmates runs into his high school crush, Miranda Greene. She's as beguiling as ever, but doesn't remember him. What follows is a riveting narrative that moves with velocity even as it gains psychological and emotional depth.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Smith

    Debra Jo Immergut’s debut novel is about the magnetic relationship between a troubled prison psychologist named Frank Lundquist and the inmate who changes the course of his life forevermore. The moment Miranda Greene walks into one of his counseling sessions at a women’s prison in New York, Frank immediately recognizes her as his former high school crush. Frank’s not sure she even knew he existed, and he’s almost certain Miranda doesn’t recognize him at their therapy session. One thing is certai Debra Jo Immergut’s debut novel is about the magnetic relationship between a troubled prison psychologist named Frank Lundquist and the inmate who changes the course of his life forevermore. The moment Miranda Greene walks into one of his counseling sessions at a women’s prison in New York, Frank immediately recognizes her as his former high school crush. Frank’s not sure she even knew he existed, and he’s almost certain Miranda doesn’t recognize him at their therapy session. One thing is certain, however: things will never be the same for either of them after that initial meeting. As Miranda struggles with coming to terms with the 52-year sentence she is serving for second degree murder, Frank struggles with both his emotional reaction to seeing Miranda again and his feelings of ineptitude when it comes to his career. They both become trapped in a downward spiral when Miranda gets stuck in a rut of depression and Frank makes a dangerous plan to help Miranda escape prison for good. Each of them thinks they are in control, which makes the lead-up to the conclusion all the more tragic and unexpected. But boy, what an ending it is! I applaud the author for making the prison scenes in this novel realistic and heartfelt. She also does a wonderful job of conveying appropriate boundaries in a patient-therapist relationship by creatively titling her chapters. This makes Frank and Miranda’s various transgressions throughout the novel all the more scandalous. All in all, The Captives is a smart and unique addition to the crime fiction genre.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Desperation. Depression. Desire. Male privilege and power is at the top of its game with incarceration being utilized for personal gain. The Captives is in a league all its own with crimininality and professionalism butting head to head. Miranda Green our main character is a broken soul. A Congressman's daughter facing serious jail time for 2nd degree murder in a location that will have you checking yourself non stop. Frank Lundquist is the man in charge her psychologist on site who is hoping for c Desperation. Depression. Desire. Male privilege and power is at the top of its game with incarceration being utilized for personal gain. The Captives is in a league all its own with crimininality and professionalism butting head to head. Miranda Green our main character is a broken soul. A Congressman's daughter facing serious jail time for 2nd degree murder in a location that will have you checking yourself non stop. Frank Lundquist is the man in charge her psychologist on site who is hoping for change and hoping for her to escape. Overdosing clients , smuggling drugs, coercing informants, botched murders, distribution of drugs and aiding escape is just some of what is provided here. Debra Jo Immergut's knowledge of the inner workings of a prison setting is clearly applied, heartbreakingly real, and beyond the realm of many on the outside peering in. At times, the level of suffering was almost unbearable and the desire and destruction these two main characters faced was beyond belief. An amazing piece of work from Debra Jo Immergut that I highly recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    Frank Lundquist, is a psychologist at a women's state prison. One day his high school object of desire, Miranda Greene, walks into his office for a skull session but does not recognize him. Miranda was the popular "it" girl with a seemingly charmed suburban life, but now she's serving a 52-year sentence for second-degree murder. How did she end up here? What went wrong? Frank wants desperately to help her, but this is an ethical dilemma for him. Still, he can't resist and becomes obsessed with t Frank Lundquist, is a psychologist at a women's state prison. One day his high school object of desire, Miranda Greene, walks into his office for a skull session but does not recognize him. Miranda was the popular "it" girl with a seemingly charmed suburban life, but now she's serving a 52-year sentence for second-degree murder. How did she end up here? What went wrong? Frank wants desperately to help her, but this is an ethical dilemma for him. Still, he can't resist and becomes obsessed with trying to help her. This story is told in alternating chapters from Frank and Miranda’s POV, while the plot alternates between the present to flashbacks to traumatic events in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. This books really slows to a snail's pace in the middle with what feels like a lot of filler. It's being sold as a mystery suspense thriller but it's not, the pacing is way too slow. I think if I went into this with different expectations, I might have enjoyed it more.

  21. 5 out of 5

    j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    AUDIO ONLY. SORRY GUYS. I can't do it. This book does not work on audio. The female narrator is way too chirpy and unbelievable, describing her time in prison as an inmate. UGH. I really can't stand the inauthentic-ness.... The story looks interesting, but I'm not buying it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    the ending was best. it sort of had a slow pace.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ward

    DNF at page 182.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (RomancingtheBookworm)

    I don’t read enough literary fiction. I don’t say that to disparage my beloved genre fiction, but simply to acknowledge my need to further diversify my reading list. Because otherwise I’ll miss out on books like Debra Jo Immergut’s The Captives. Quiet books, wildly different in pace and tone than the fiction that I usually read. Books with a slow beauty, that pull you down into their pages and touch places in your heart you didn’t think they’d reach. I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Captive I don’t read enough literary fiction. I don’t say that to disparage my beloved genre fiction, but simply to acknowledge my need to further diversify my reading list. Because otherwise I’ll miss out on books like Debra Jo Immergut’s The Captives. Quiet books, wildly different in pace and tone than the fiction that I usually read. Books with a slow beauty, that pull you down into their pages and touch places in your heart you didn’t think they’d reach. I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Captives - I requested it because the premise was intriguing but for all I knew I’d get hung up 15 pages in and DNF in frustration. But Immergut captivated me with her beautiful, lyrical prose that was utterly lacking in the pretension, which is what originally discouraged me from picking up literary fiction novels. Her writing was neither needlessly dense, nor off-putting. This was my first book by Immergut, obviously, and I have come away with a deep appreciation of her subtle style. It was easy to sink into the minds of Frank and Miranda in their alternating, distinctive POV’s, and to see through their eyes. And I do mean see. Immergut has this affinity for using color that I’d usually associate with film more than the written word. The images I recall most vividly from the novel - for instance the yellow prison uniforms, the pink bath mat, or Miranda and her sister’s childhood coats with the vibrant fut accents - stand out vividly against the otherwise grayscale world that Miranda and Frank inhabit. The prison is grey. Frank’s sad apartment is grey and brown. The city is a dull roar of greys and dull brick reds in my mind. But the pinks and yellows stand out. As does the appearance of “the azure mountains” when the plot of the novel shifts, signaling that something significant has changed. I think what struck me most when I finished The Captives, other than the colors, was how unexpected I found the ending. Given the novel’s increasing momentum from the very first page, I thought for sure we were building up to what seemed like an unavoidable tragedy. After all, how can a novel about a relationship between a prisoner and her psychiatrist, who has been obsessed with her since they were in school together, ever end well? It’s a recipe for disaster. But Immergut surprised me. Some might argue that the ending of the novel was a disaster. I would have to disagree. It was unexpected, and not what you might call happy, but it was also hopeful. One of Immergut’s primary themes in the novel is that of “choice”: we make choices, we choose not to make choices, and we either embrace or attempt to escape the consequences of those choices. The end of The Captives reflected that philosophy, tying up the novel’s discussion of how we shape our lives through choice and yet leaving it open-ended and open to further debate.There’s a hopefulness there - a rejoicing in having chosen, regardless of the end result. Better to choose, right or wrong, than to be frozen in indecision. TL;DR :: Suffice to say, I definitely recommend Immergut’s The Captives. It was lovely and quiet, yet I believe it will resonate with its readers. At the beginning of the novel Frank claims that what happened to him was “universal” and I think he’s right. I also think that The Captives is the sort of novel you need to return to again and again in order to unpack, and I look forward to revisiting Immergut’s beautiful work in the future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    For a book with the Tag Line "A Cross Between Orange is The New Black and Gone Girl", it was slightly underwhelming. It is such a shame as the blurb held such promise.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roz

    It's a fast read, obsessive psychologist, murderer in prison, lots of twists and turns, several bad decisions. Once you reach a certain point you can't stop. Author is not Ruth Rendell but still pretty unique book. I would read other books by her when need a quick read and a break from heavier literature. A 3 1/2 would be better rating.

  27. 4 out of 5

    James B.

    I really enjoyed this novel. The structure – chapters that alternate between the two main characters’ perspectives – reveals in a contrapuntal manner the very different desires of the prison therapist and the inmate with whom he has been obsessed since high school. The story proceeds briskly as we follow the development of their relationship and the progress of their two very different agendas. And a wonderfully satisfying ending: no spoilers from me, other than to say that I never saw it coming I really enjoyed this novel. The structure – chapters that alternate between the two main characters’ perspectives – reveals in a contrapuntal manner the very different desires of the prison therapist and the inmate with whom he has been obsessed since high school. The story proceeds briskly as we follow the development of their relationship and the progress of their two very different agendas. And a wonderfully satisfying ending: no spoilers from me, other than to say that I never saw it coming. An earned, but unforeseen, ending like this one is as rare as it is welcome.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    My personal "star" rating system: 1 star: Could not finish the book 2 star: Had to force myself to finish the book, did not care for the book, and will not be seeking out this author in the future 3 star: Liked the book, but will not necessarily be seeking out this author in the future 4 star: Really liked the book and would read more of this author, but will not be re-reading this particular book again 5 star: Loved it so much that I will re-read this book in the future, and the author is going onto My personal "star" rating system: 1 star: Could not finish the book 2 star: Had to force myself to finish the book, did not care for the book, and will not be seeking out this author in the future 3 star: Liked the book, but will not necessarily be seeking out this author in the future 4 star: Really liked the book and would read more of this author, but will not be re-reading this particular book again 5 star: Loved it so much that I will re-read this book in the future, and the author is going onto my list for pre-orders of their future titles I would give this book 3 stars. I found the story somewhat hard to follow, as the timelines switched back and forth between her present and past, and his present and past. I am still unsure of how certain details really played a part in the whole story, and whether they were even necessary (her sister?). However, I did like the ending, especially since I didn't really like the therapist much anyway.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Wow! This was one roller-coaster ride of a novel! The premise is both shocking and awesome: Frank is a 32-year-old psychologist in a prison when his patient walks in and he recognizes her as his crush (well, obsession really) from high school. He was a shy Nobody so of course she doesn't immediately recognize him. She's been charged with a sentence of 52 years for second degree murder during a robbery gone wrong. How can he help her? Her goal is suicide as she can't face the idea of living in pr Wow! This was one roller-coaster ride of a novel! The premise is both shocking and awesome: Frank is a 32-year-old psychologist in a prison when his patient walks in and he recognizes her as his crush (well, obsession really) from high school. He was a shy Nobody so of course she doesn't immediately recognize him. She's been charged with a sentence of 52 years for second degree murder during a robbery gone wrong. How can he help her? Her goal is suicide as she can't face the idea of living in prison for that long; his goal is to help her in any way her can. Of course things get messy; there are secrets from both their pasts and both are more than flawed characters as deception has been their go-to defense for the better part of their lives. Many breath-taking twists and turns and an ending that will shock and surprise you! I loved it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joni Daniels

    In so many ways, high school defines us all. When M walks into his counseling office in the state prison, Frank is immediately taken back to his school where he had a huge crush on her. Does she remember him? Recognize him. No! A lot has happened for the girl of his dreams to end up here, serving over 40 years for murder. A lot has happened to him too - the son of a world renowned psychologist, Frank has also fallen from grace and is trying to eek out a lining here doing good, with a tenuous con In so many ways, high school defines us all. When M walks into his counseling office in the state prison, Frank is immediately taken back to his school where he had a huge crush on her. Does she remember him? Recognize him. No! A lot has happened for the girl of his dreams to end up here, serving over 40 years for murder. A lot has happened to him too - the son of a world renowned psychologist, Frank has also fallen from grace and is trying to eek out a lining here doing good, with a tenuous connection to his drug addicted brother. This book does have an interesting premise but the last 20% rushes in and suddenly there are lots of threads that need to be quickly woven together to make things move and make sense. I had to read the end twice - because I found it oddly tacked on and confusing. If you think you might be a captive of your high school self - this might resonate.

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