“Paradise Prison (Dark Minds Psychological Thriller #4)”
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction
Release Date: January 7, 2017
If Bad Judgment and Bad Luck had a Queen, it would be Priscilla Gillian (Gill) Hodges.
From a childhood filled with abuse and mental cruelty to an abusive relationship as an adult, to…Paradise Prison. I’m surprised she’s anything close to sane. The woman was a victim all her life, and apart from her two close friends, Rebecca (Bex) and Nathan, she had no one.
After a violent situation in her home goes from bad to worse, Gill goes on the run. Such an impractical move could only mean there was something in her past that haunted (or terrified) her.
With nowhere else to turn, Gill goes to Bex, and despite her own better judgment, Bex helps Gill flee the area.
Knowing she must not stay in one place for too long, lest she be found, Gill comes up with a plan, which leads her to…Harry. At first the right amount of compassion and ambivalence, Harry does seem like the answer to Gill’s problem. However, as he draws her in and builds up her trust, Gill’s life will never be the same.
This read captured my attention from the first page. The author does a great job of building the suspense while still adding unanswered questions to enhance the mystery.
The mind games and control tactics are barely noticeable in the beginning…to Gill. She is suspicious but continues to reason away things Harry says and/or does because of her circumstances. This is a mistake, but understandable given the trauma Gill suffered in her youth. I sympathized with her because of this and even rooted for her, but I didn’t necessarily like her. Despite her bad judgment and even worse decisions, she was not annoying or even a weak woman. While she had bouts of hopelessness (and who wouldn’t in the same situation?), and feigned complacency to win Harry over, Gill never stopped looking for a way to save herself. But with all she was going through, I never felt a connection with Gill. My interest was more into finding answers to open-ended questions/stories.
Answers began to show up after Harry and Gill reach Isla de Cabra, but entirely too slowly. For me, the story began to drag even before it reached the halfway mark…very frustrating.
To be fair, time was needed for the psychological aspects to come into play, and for Gill’s subsequent physical issue to play out, but I must confess, I skimmed. In trying to show the passage of time, and the effects it had on Gill, to me the story became redundant. I went from putting bits and pieces of the characters’ stories together, to just wanting the situation to resolve itself.
I admired Gill’s decision to take a stand, but it was anti-climactic and somewhat sad. After such a great buildup, I was ready for a serious explosion but got a smoldering instead that felt rushed. I did not need it to be different, I needed it to be more.
I do recommend Paradise Prison. While it wasn’t as ‘thrilling’ as I’d like, it was suspenseful, held my attention for the most part, and I did read it in one sitting. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I would read more of her work.