Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Talion

by:  Mary Maddox
published by:  Cantraip Press

The dying body has a thousand voices, and all of them speak to Conrad (Rad) Sanders. Fifteen-year-old Lisa Duncan has no idea she has attracted Rad’s interest. At a mountain resort in Utah, he watches as vivacious Lisa begins an unlikely friendship with Lu Jakes, the strange and introverted daughter of employees there. Lu enters his fantasies as well. He learns she is being abused by her stepmother and toys with the notion of freeing her from her sad life and keeping her awhile as his captive. Lu seems like an easy conquest who could be persuaded to act out his fantasy by turning against her new friend.

But someone else is watching over Lu.

Talion appears to Lu as an angelic vision. He offers her love and counsel, the courage to defend herself from bullies at school and a way to free herself from her stepmother’s violence. He seems to know beforehand what will happen. But Talion’s true nature is unclear. His guidance leads Lu into dark places, moving her inevitably closer to the world inhabited by Rad. When she and Lisa are thrust into that darkness, will Talion come to her aid? Or will he become the killer’s ally?

I will say that I really liked this book.  I liked it a lot more than I was expecting.  I enjoyed the characters.  Lu was a really great character. 

I thought the writing was really solid and quite good.  The thing that surprised me about this book was the level of violence that Rad inflicted on his victims.  You don't normally see that from female writers.  Usually it's kind of glossed over and male writers get more into the nitty gritty details.  There wasn't anything wrong with it because it was appropriate in the context of the story, but it was something that surprised me a bit.

My only negative about the book was that I was a little unclear on Talion.  I know if he was real, like a real angel coming to Lu or if he was a hallucination.  Maybe that was the intent of the writer, to leave it open to interpretation.

About Mary Maddox

Mary Maddox grew up in Utah and California. A graduate of Knox College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she now teaches composition and literature at Eastern Illinois University.

She lives in Charleston, Illinois with her husband, film scholar Joe Heumann. Her interests include riding her horse, Tucker, and playing club and tournament Scrabble. Mary’s short stories have appeared in a number of magazines including Farmer’s Market, Yellow Silk, and The Scream Online. Her writing has been honored with awards from the Illinois Arts Council.

Talion, her debut novel, is available at as a trade paperback and at as both a paperback and a Kindle book. You can visit her at her Web site and follow her blog at

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