Honestly this book didn’t look appealing to me. It belongs to my fiancé, had been sitting on our shelf since we moved in together two years ago. I’d turned it over and read the back a few times, but it had never piqued my interest. Until one day my fiancé saw me staring at the shelves, looking for something to read. He plucked The Detainee right down and told me I should read it. And as much as I hate to admit it, he was definitely right. I love a good post-apocalyptic story, especially when it reads kind of like a thinly veiled warning. And that’s exactly what The Detainee felt like to me.
It’s narrated by “Big Guy” Clancy as he struggles through life in the village. We learn that as society crumbled the very old and the very poor were shipped off to an island to live amongst the garbage from the mainland. The peace is kept by satellites, playing judge and jury for all crimes. Commit a crime and you’ll get zapped right here you stand.
We also learn that these satellites aren’t infallible. Whenever the fog rolls into the island the satellites go down, and the village is terrorized by monsters. They’re hunted down and murdered where they sleep, or try to sleep, or really where they’re pretending to sleep. We follow Big Guy as he tries to right the wrongs on the island. It starts out innocently; he just wants to live peacefully, hidden away in the one hiding spot left on the island. And then he realizes for the sake of all the villagers, and the monsters ravaging them in the night, he has to do something more.
Really, I’m not sure that I can praise this novel enough. It makes you think about how easily it would be to lose the structure and safety that we have now. Even family means nothing in the world Liney creates. Greed and corruption rule everything, leaving the poor and old alone to fend for themselves.
But it’s not all a story of sorrow and destruction. Liney paints a picture of a society that refuses to give up. We go on a pretty heart-wrenching journey as we learn about life on the island. And, without giving too much away, we’re left at the end with a pretty satisfying closing note.