Monthly Archives: January 2010

CTR Review on Keeping Her in the Light

Reviewed by: Lototy

When Allie flips on the light, she is struck with the sudden realization that there is infinite comfort in darkness… in not knowing… not seeing.

He can accomplish only so much with his limited time, until the others force their consciousness upon him.

The screaming is now only in Allie’s head, the others no longer make a sound. She awakens to a nightmare, and the man responsible for creating such terror is now her captor. Allie knows her escape is untenable, and her only recourse is to try to understand and placate the man with so many faces. He can and will take her life whenever and however he chooses, but for the moment she is an enigma he finds hard to resist.

Every psychological thriller has two basic elements: the predator and its prey. But what happens when the prey chooses not to run or fight, but accepts its role and feels guilt for those that come later? Allie’s will is unbelievably strong, but at the same time so tragically fragile that she can bring you to tears. Nicole Fuentes’s book is intense, insane, and incredibly ingenious.

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Man in Red

Dad, that man in red,
he scares me.
Do you see him passing by?

Dad, he’s looking right at us,
he looks so familiar,
he’s singing a lullaby.

Dad, his hand’s on an old woman’s shoulders
as she crosses that busy road.
Oh no, there’s been an accident and he’s the cause of it all.

Dad, he has followed us into the cab,
he’s sitting between you and me,
bending towards me to whisper calming words so soft and sweet.

Dad, don’t let him take me,
he’s looking at me with a sad smile.
He’s here for one of us: the driver, the father, or the child?

Dad, he’s giving me a warning,
a chance for us to live.
Please, let’s get off this cab, he says we should leave.

Dad, can’t you see him?
Now I remember when I saw him last,
when you told me mom had gone to a better place, he was there to see her pass.

Dad, that man in red,
he scares me.
Do you see him passing by?
He’s there amidst another accident, waving goodbye.

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The Blindfolded Woman

With scales in one hand,
and a sword in the other,
I am Lady Justice,
blind forever.

Someone turned off the lights,
put this blindfold on me,
and with hands full of precious metal,
I can’t get this thing off me.

They put me on a podium
to forever stand,
as a symbol to the people,
and their growing demand.

They put me up here,
to show they are just.
But they forgot to remove my blindfold,
now their façade’s in dust.

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At the Orphanage

The visitors have come and gone,
potential parents somehow shunned.
And the kids, we trample on each other.
Put on our best faces, hoping to win ourselves a mother.

They come to me, look me up and down,
see a flaw, and move on, side, and around.

For I have an error,
an ugly flaw,
and they want the beautiful,
the innocent and the small.

If they like the fair, I am the tan,
If they like the tan, I am the fair.
Never will I satisfy the expectations of those who offer their care so rare.

I can only hope that when those visitors come,
they will see through my face,
they will see through the frown.

But that’s an impossibility,
for people only see what they see,
not realizing potential,
not realizing what can be.

For I have an error,
an ugly old flaw,
and they want the smiling,
the one who fakes it all.

Did my mama leave me because I was cursed,
because I was unwanted, because she was hurt?
Am I what the caretakers have called an “accident”,
left on the doorstep with an irreparable, irreversible dent?

Will there be a couple who can see past the face,
who will find I have an inability to smile,
but can paint, write, and dance with grace?

No.

For I have an error
a painfully ugly flaw,
and they want the perfect,
the impossible, the one who can crawl.

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Empathy

Caught in traffic,
there she was,
behind the untainted windows,
oblivious she was being watched.

I didn’t mean to snoop,
but my eyes fell on her,
because she was crying,
because she was hurt.

Her arms were outstretched
over the wheel.
Her hands gripping it tightly.
Her hands clenched to trembling fists.

Her eyes were well focused,
as she bowed her head down in defeat,
her eyes full to the brim,
with her held back tears.

She shook uncontrollably,
either out of sadness, or out of fear.
But I felt no anger in her,
only confusion out of reach.

Though her window was not tinted,
it was a mirror to me.
And I wanted to reach out to her,
in my sorrow, to be free.

But I was a coward,
a coward and nothing more.
So I looked away,
as the traffic came to a disheartening flow.

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The Object of Memory

Clear and transparent I am,
reflecting light in a multitude of colors,
holding all possibilities in my spherical shape,
as I sit to be viewed through a dirty glass window.

Ignored a million times by onlookers who cannot see,
a young man, rigid when he walks,
bends down, stares at me,
looks into me to examine my capacity and pay for my release.

I pass his test—purchased.
He wraps me against his fingers,
doesn’t let go as into the pocket I go,
where I can reflect no light in that darkness.

He walks hurriedly for a while,
I hear a door open then close.
Music plays softly close by.
I hear him apologize.

He brings me out of his pocket,
his fingers still holding me tight.
I see through the cracks a woman,
whose wait is revealed in her eyes.

He apologizes again,
she accepts but stays cold.
He holds her hand to warm her up,
and into her palm I go.

“Do you remember that night,” he asks, as his eyes absorb her shock,
“When you said God must be a painter to have given us so many colors to watch?
Do you remember that night we counted the stars, drew patterns on the sky?”
And with that he holds her hand to the light for me to do my work and bring color to her eyes.

“I didn’t think you were listening,” she says, her voice trailing away,
to which he responds, “I was and always have,
even if I don’t seem to be, you see,
now I have a question…what will your answer be?”

Years pass and in solitude I stand—forgotten,
kept in silence and in darkness until she found me, brought me to the light.
I sparkle in her eyes and something is rekindled,
as she remembers her answer and the reason to the why.

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BookWenches Review on Keeping Her in the Light

Reviewed by: BD Whitney

Kidnapped by a madman, Allie Foster wakes to darkness and fear. She craves the light, but when she finally finds it, it illuminates a nightmare – a room filled with the dead, broken bodies of other women just like her. Allie is made of tough stuff, however. Instead of resorting to panic, she ventures forth and finds that her captor has definite plans for her. Oh, he certainly intends to kill her, but he means to toy with her awhile first.

Days of uncertainty pass as the killer engages Allie in philosophical conversation, forcing her to confront the pain in her past while at the same time agonizing over her uncertain future. And while her fear never truly goes away, something within Allie begins to relax, and she begins to feel a twisted kind of kinship with the captor. She knows it is dangerous to trust him; there is no doubt that the man is unbalanced, but his intentions are unclear. Does he plan to keep Allie as a guest and debate partner, will he set her free, or will he finally follow through with his promises and end her life?

********

Nicole Fuentes’ novella Keeping Her in the Light mixes suspense and horror into a psychological thriller about a woman who finds that light does not always represent safety and that sometimes darkness holds the key to hope. This is a tale of Stockholm syndrome and its opposite, Lima syndrome, and how they affect a killer and his prey.

I found this tale to be arresting and somewhat entertaining, although it did almost lose me in a couple of places. I found the portions of the story that revolved around the heroine’s philosophical discussions with her captor to drag just a little. They confused me more than enlightened me, and this lead to a certain amount of impatience on my part. However, these discussions also helped to reveal the killer’s personality – or, rather, personalities – so it made an odd kind of sense to me that the conversation was difficult to follow.

Both of the main characters are interesting and well drawn. The killer is obviously sick and not just a little bit evil, but I was drawn to him. Ms. Fuentes does a good job differentiating his personalities, and watching each of them interact with Allie and with each other was horrifyingly fascinating. He very purposely sets out to create Stockholm syndrome within Allie, and as she succumbs to it, I followed along. Although I was a little slower to warm up to Allie, even though she is the innocent party, I had to sympathize with the misplaced feelings of responsibility that keep her tethered to her captor’s side.

Readers should be forewarned that Keeping Her in the Light is graphically violent. That said, the violence and gore do not overpower the story but rather underscore the nature of the antagonist and the strangeness of the situation.

Overall, I found this to be very suspenseful and not just a little bit creepy, and I quite enjoyed the sense of uncertainty that permeates the story. Even given the strange affinity that grows between Allie and the killer, it was clear to me that he had every intention of finally killing her. The main question in my mind (and hers as well, I’m sure) was how he would do it and which of his personalities would commit the deed.

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