Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing
ISBN-10: 1943720266 | ISBN-13: 978-1943720262
Kristopher Triana's The Detained is a bit like a haunted house (or in this case, haunted school) version of The Breakfast Club. Child psychologist Phoebe arrives at Bonneville High for her 20th reunion, to find only four other attendees locked with her inside the cafeteria and a grisly array of keepsakes pointing toward a student who each had wronged in various ways back in 1996.
At the outset, I wasn't quite sure where The Detained was heading, and, sadly, I found myself disappointed that it ended up in supernatural territory. For me, the paranormal aspects initially felt a bit tacked on and too easy an answer. When all of the trapped alumni began to immediately seize upon the reality of their haunted cafeteria, I expected Triana to offer up a bigger and badder plot twist to redirect the story. Unfortunately, that twist never came. The haunted cafeteria plot, and the easy willingness of these former classmates to accept a ghostly foe, felt too convenient for me. I wanted a bit more depth and struggle, and for Triana to juke instead of jive, to lead us one way and then pull the rug out from under our feet with a grander reveal.
The Detained is certainly well written, and Triana puts his talents on display here, despite the story feeling a bit too basic, a bit too run of the mill. While it's an entertaining story to be sure, it just doesn't quite go far enough to make itself memorable. It's enjoyable enough, but not as ultimately satisfying as it should have been.
[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, and I would like to thank Max Booth III for the opportunity to read this work.]
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