Method 15/33, by Shannon Kirk

Four stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Shannon Kirk, and Oceanview Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

Kirk weaves an interesting story with strong psychological undertones, worthy of the praise and awards she has received to date. While walking to school one day, Lisa Yyland is grabbed and tossed into a van, kidnapped for no apparent reason. As she struggles in captivity, things become all the more apparent that it is the baby within her that is the greatest commodity to her captors. Struggling through a lengthy detention, Yyland creates a routine to keep herself from losing her mind, classifying items and exploring the uniformity of each day. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Roger Liu and his partner work through a collection of clues to determine the whereabouts of a kidnapped pregnant teen, exploring clues wherever it takes them across the American Midwest. With alternating chapters showing Yyland’s struggles and Liu’s progress, the reader gets much insight into both their mindsets and the gifts that time brings. Kirk offers a wonderful psychological thrill to this story, showing the depths of despair that Yyland enters as she presents her entire life as it flashes before her. This will surely help the reader better understand the captive’s mindset, while also seeing how the search to locate her progresses at various speeds. Kirk does a wonderful job pulling the reader into the centre of this story, through to its resolution.

When I began the novel, I was not sure where things might go or how Kirk would guide the reader through this ordeal. At times highly reflective and chock-full of the struggles in young Lisa Yyland’s life, the reader learns a great deal about the mental state of the prisoner and her captors, whose interest seems solely focussed on the baby within. Juxtaposed with this, the authorities and their struggle to make progress on the case, to the point that the reader has no context to use as a comparison, unsure of how and why Yyland was chosen, save for her being with child. Of interest, as Kirk develops her characters and their backstories, the attentive reader will notice that Yyland’s narrative will at times project to the present day, aside from the 1993 kidnapping which fills the majority of the novel’s time. This foreshadowing proved highly interesting, as though she is telling the reader ‘I do survive’ but offering few breadcrumbs to understanding the ‘overall outcome’ and thereby forcing the reader to continue reading in order to understand the end result. Wonderfully played and written, even as things do get dense and a little heavy at times.

Kudos, Madam Kirk for this well-crafted piece of writing. I am eager to see what else you have in store for readers over the next little while.