By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

The Preservationist, by Justin Kramon

“He was a preservationist.  That was how he put it to himself, the word he used for the particular way he got by.  He’d never been able to let go of things easily. He understood there was a quirkiness to it, the kind of trait people might scoff at, like they would at someone who learned to play the mandolin or darned his own socks.”

The Preservationist, by Justin Kramon, tells the story of three people who are haunted by secrets.  Sam, a bit of a misfit, approaches his 40th birthday with dread.  Julia, beset by grief, attempts to become the carefree college freshman she might have been if it hadn’t been for the accident.  And Marcus, shy and tongue-tied, assuages his own guilt by losing himself in music.  This sensitive, yet heart-pounding, thriller is told from the multiple points of view of these three characters, as it hurtles towards an unpredictable conclusion.

Julia, pretty and circumspect,  hides her awkwardness beneath a layer of heavy sarcasm.  She has a superficial relationship with her roommate and a painfully difficult one with her parents.  She enjoys a casual date with Marcus, but soon finds the time she spends with Sam to be a peaceful escape from her feelings of not fitting in at the college.  Sure, Sam is a little odd, but he really likes her and (at the same time) requires so little from her.

When Marcus tries to warn her off Sam.  Julia begins to wonder if Marcus is a little unbalanced.  A series of campus rapes and some disturbing incidents in her dorm room leave Julia feeling unsafe.  She is not sure who to trust or where to turn.

Aside from being an exciting thriller, this book has both humor and some truly touching moments. At one point, Julia says of those who have died, “She feels like these people are with her, like there’s a world ahead where they all live, where she can touch them, where her voice can reach their ears.”

If you are looking for strong characters, wry humor and a page-turning read, pick up The Preservationist.  Those who enjoyed The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, or Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, should fly through this intriguing literary thriller.


Leave a Reply