THE STOLEN ONES
By Richard Montanari
My first foray into Montanari’s work left me breathless. This author brought me through catacombs, surreptitious tales of old, and the psychopathic mind of a killer.
The Delaware Valley State Prison at Cold River was the home of some unfortunate—albeit mentally challenged—innocents and those who preyed upon them. Cold River was closed decades before the murder of a businessman brought Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano into an exploration of one of Philadelphia’s infamous earlier periods. Beginning in Priory Park, Kevin and Jessica rush around trying to stop further murders of people who may be connected to Cold River in one way or the other. Luther, one of Cold River’s past patients, ultimately wants one thing: the young girl that Kevin and Jessica find standing in the middle of the street in the center of night.
The girl won’t or can’t speak and the detectives do what they can to help the child. Because they have no idea who she is, they name her Violet after one of the streets she was near when they found her.
Dreams take a major role in this novel, so do The Dream Merchants, who were once dominant at Cold River, creating killers through dream manipulation. And Violet is one of Luther’s connections to the past.
Symbolic to his dreams are spoons he leaves at murder scenes, spoons that could have been found at Cold River when it was operable.
There are twists and turns in this novel and I warn you to pay attention to the small details sprinkled throughout. But the major twists are turns are at the end and you won’t see them coming.
I will never look at dreams the same after reading “The Stolen Ones.” Creepy and definitely compelling.
Reviewed by Starr Gardinier Reina, author of “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story”