Published by Pegasus Books
Publication date: September 15th 2014
She’d never been looked at that way before, with that peculiar mix of intensity and distance.
Sam is a thirty-nine-year-old kitchen worker at Stradler College. He’s led a life of movement from one place to another and one job to another at each of these places but turning forty is starting to press on him. Shouldn’t he be more settled? Shouldn’t he find a more grown-up career? After all, his boyish good looks aren’t going to work on this demographic much longer. Thankfully, he meets Julia, a freshman haunted by an accident that robbed her of her brother and her abilities as a musician. It is Julia’s openness and need that draws Sam in in The Preservationist by Justin Kramon. She gives him a sense of purpose and seems to find his free spirit attitude towards life refreshing. Unfortunately, he’s not alone in his pursuit of the fragile Julia. She has already met and started dating another freshman named Marcus and when Sam does succeeds in taking her away, Marcus makes it clear that he will be watching Sam.
Initially, The Preservationist comes off as a troubled-girl-finally-finds-redemption-and-love novel but as the odd and unnerving events pile up in Julia’s life it is clear this is not the case. Everyone has a secret and Kramon hands out the clues like garlic—a bit too strong in the beginning but gets better as it cooks. Is it one of the men or is Julia herself a danger? By telling the story from three points of view, the reliability of any one narrator is suspect. In this way, Kramon teases the reader but once the masks are gone and pretenses abandoned the novel moves quickly to a satisfying (if not unexpected) ending. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers than The Preservationist is a good choice for beginning-of-summer light reading.