Blog Tour – April 2022 – Those Who Return – Kassandra Montag

So, what’s the background to this book?

It’s set in the prairie wilderness of Nebraska, in a children’s home which looks after damaged orphaned or abandoned 10 to 18 year olds, all with a variety of psychological/psychiatric issues – kids with no place left to go. There’s nothing for miles around, bar a self-sufficient tough old lady of the prairies the children call “Baba Yaga” after the Eastern European witch of folklore. Previously the house has been a church, an asylum and an orphanage before it’s current incarnation, which is run by Beverly, the headmistress.

How is the story told?

It’s told in the first person by our main character, Dr Lorelei “Lore” Webber, previously an FBI psychiatrist, who left the bureau after an undercover operation she was involved in saw her undercover operative, a prostitute who was attempting to help them bring down some pimps and drug dealers, killed.

However, the death of one of the students sees her thrown back together with Cedar, her childhood friend and sweetheart, as the two attempt to investigate the murder and other curious goings on at Hatchery House…

And there’s something of a love triangle…

There is indeed – since arriving at Hatchery, Lore had started seeing Dillon, an attractive Ivy League-type fellow psychiatrist. Dillon – who I must admit to taking an instant dislike to! – was something of an object of crushes by the older girls, but he does appear to be a caring boyfriend to the damaged Lore, who occasionally sees hallucinations of herself, something brought on by a horrific experience she went through as a child, and which scarred her both mentally and physically.

However, the return of Lore’s old flame Cedar (as well as childhood friend, and co-worker in the FBI) threatens to put the kibosh on that!

What about the rest of the staff?

There’s remarkably few staff members to deal with a houseful of difficult teenagers – and I was surprised how many of them have their own psychiatric issues, yet still be allowed to work with troubled youngsters. However, I don’t imagine it’s easy to find staff to deal with an institution that is clearly “the end of the line” for many of the teenagers – as well as being in the middle of nowhere.

What did you enjoy most about the book?

I found myself really engrossed by the world the book was set in – not so much Hatchery House itself, but the wide open prairies of Nebraska. Kassandra Montag is a really lyrical, descriptive writer, and I found myself totally immersed in the prairies surrounding Hatchery House, as well as the wildlife. The way Oksana (“Baba Yaga”) lives off the land, preserving fruit, using herbs and dead animals the way the people of the prairies have for hundreds of years, really fascinating.

So it’s a book you’d recommend…?

Absolutely – I totally loved it, and found myself engrossed in the Nebraska prairies and Hatchery House, as well as the young people Lore was trying to help. It is of course a murder mystery, and that part of it is done very well, but it was a book I found highly immersive – you really found yourself almost in Nebraska!

It’s a book I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys a “rural noir”-type novel, with a murder mystery with psychological overtones thrown in for good measure. Kassandra Montag is a writer I look forward to hearing more from – she’s a real talent!

Absolutely the highest recommendation!

With thanks to Quercus Books for the ARC. This is an unbiased review.

BLURB: Amid the desolate wilderness of the Great Plains of Nebraska, a region so isolated you could drive for hours without seeing another human being, sits Hatchery House. Having served as a church, an asylum and an orphanage, Hatchery is now a treatment facility for orphaned or abandoned children with psychiatric disorders. Haunted by patients past and present, only the most vulnerable find a home within its walls.

Dr. Lorelei ‘Lore’ Webber, a former FBI psychiatrist, has almost grown used to the unorthodox methods used at Hatchery House. But when one of her patients is murdered, Lore finds herself dragged into the centre of an investigation that unearths startling truths, shocking discoveries, and untold cruelty. And as the investigation unravels, Lore is forced to confront the past she’s spent her whole life running from – a secret that threatens to undo her entirely.

Darkly riveting and explosive, and with an unforgettable cast of deeply human characters, Those Who Return is a searing psychological thriller of guilt and redemption, set against a landscape as awe-inspiring as it is unforgiving

3 thoughts on “Blog Tour – April 2022 – Those Who Return – Kassandra Montag

    • Oh thanks so much Jane! Apologies for the delay in responding – sometimes you don’t get a comment for a while and you feel like you’re shouting into the wilderness with your blog! Your support is hugely appreciated. Thank you again. X

      Liked by 1 person

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