Prince of Lost Places

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Overview

"Forty million mothers would have followed me out here, if they had known this place existed." Martha's son, Duncan, is the light of her life. After a child is killed at Duncan's school, Martha decides that she must protect him from the world and from the constant, unnameable dangers that plague parents and their children.

So late one night, she kidnaps him and takes him to a cave near the Rio Grande River to live, hidden and isolated. When her hideout is discovered by a strange man, Martha is wary and ...

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Overview

"Forty million mothers would have followed me out here, if they had known this place existed." Martha's son, Duncan, is the light of her life. After a child is killed at Duncan's school, Martha decides that she must protect him from the world and from the constant, unnameable dangers that plague parents and their children.

So late one night, she kidnaps him and takes him to a cave near the Rio Grande River to live, hidden and isolated. When her hideout is discovered by a strange man, Martha is wary and suspicious, but slowly begins to trust him with her son-never realizing that this man is a detective sent by her husband to bring her back home. As the fiercely protective mother and the detective fall in love, they move ever closer to a final confrontation, a terrible choice, and the revelation of Martha's devastating secret.

Full of haunting atmosphere and seductive tension, Prince of Lost Places is a stirring tale that reaffirms Kathy Hepinstall as a rising talent of psychological suspense.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A mother's worst nightmare threatens to become reality in Hepinstall's third novel. Unlike her first two Southern gothic creations (Absence of Nectar and The House of Gentle Men), this haunting tale takes a more contemporary, less regional spin, trading folkloric poetry for a primal, metaphoric landscape. In clean, economical prose, Hepinstall examines how far an unstable mother will go in order to protect her child. After an explosion set off by a janitor with a grudge at her son Duncan's Ohio school kills one child and injures several others, Martha is terrified for his safety. She decides the only way to protect him is to run away to a remote cave on the Rio Grande. Her distraught husband, David, thinks she has lost all contact with reality and hires William Travis, a private investigator, to find her and bring her back for treatment. But he doesn't count on Martha falling in love with the detective, who calls himself Andrew. "I was trapped between two competing kinds of love, a river squeezed by its border countries," muses Martha as she struggles to keep her son safe in an unsafe world and fights her newfound desire. When David finally tracks them down and forces her to make a decision, Martha must confront the boundaries of reality and fantasy. The dreamlike setting enhances the psychological suspense in this taut tale of loss and discovery. (Jan.) Forecast: Look for respectable sales and review attention, as Hepinstall's first two books were Los Angeles Times bestsellers. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A brief but slow-reading third outing by Hepinstall (The Absence of Nectar 2001, etc.) pits maternal love against rational thought. Mom wins. In Ohio, a distraught man named David hires a private detective to find his missing wife Martha, traumatized since a bomb went off-killing some-at their six-year-old son Duncan's elementary school. Unbeknownst to David, Martha has arrived at an isolated desert cave in Texas where she hopes to protect Duncan from the dangers of the world. A florist, she learned about the sanctuary from one of her clients, an old man who taught her that "loved ones don't die on their own; we let them die. We violate some rule." Although she loves David, Martha has left him behind because he refused to accept her increased protectiveness toward Duncan and forced her to visit a psychiatrist, who sides with him. She arrives at the cave with two months' worth of food (an unbelievable feat in itself), plenty of candles, and a John Denver CD. With incredible ease, she settles into the primitive life, spending her days fishing, teaching Duncan to read, and swimming in a lake full of blind fish. Then a handsome stranger-the detective-shows up, bearing the chocolate bars Duncan loves. He has also assumed the first name of Martha's father, whose death in a hit-and-run accident she feels she caused by not psychically protecting him. The detective, haunted by his own dark past, gradually wins Martha's trust but is equally seduced by the passionate sureness of her life. By now, most readers will have realized that Duncan died in the bombing and Martha has come to the desert because there no one can stop her from believing he's still alive. When David shows up-or does he?-thingsget even murkier, for Martha must choose which reality-or unreality-she wants more. The Sixth Sense meets Thelma and Louise. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate selection
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399149368
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/6/2003
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Hepinstall's previous novels, The House of Gentle Men and The Absence of Nectar, were Los Angeles Times bestsellers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    Fantastic ! I Loved This Book!

    A beautifully written tale of a mother's wish to protect her child at all cost, and an unconditional love that surpasses reality to find comfort in an illusion. This superbly written novel has a mind blowing conclusion that's bound to shock your socks off!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2004

    EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT!!!!

    I was so mad at the end of this book because it was AGAIN a book that kept me up late reading!!!!! This is an awesome book , excellent story and blew me away at the end, it all came together nicely. What an great author. I am off to B&N to get the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    A Mothers Love

    This is the perfect story of a mother's love for her child and her need to protect him. It shows how a mother's love can overcome any obstacle and never ends even after death. Thank you so much Matt, my son for letting me see a true mother's love. Kathy Heponstall really looks deep into a mother's heart and at the end rips it to pieces.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    A Mother's Escape

    My father hooked me onto Kathy's books with 'The House of Gentle Men' and I have anxiously awaited each new publication. Her writing is clever, mystical, and fresh - it 'shifts' my reading into fifth gear. Martha's desperation to protect her son from a devastating experience is poignant and heartbreaking. As a woman I see in Martha the instinct of a lioness defending that we have when it comes to our children. This expression of devotion and love opens the door that brings you into her world. You forget the early conversations between the doctor, the investigator, and her husband that allude to her mental illness. I truly could not let go of this story, both physically and mentally. I have passed on my recommendation to all my friends so that I can continue discussing the characters and events. Thank you for such a compelling read!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    deep psychological tale

    In Ohio, the bomb at their son¿s school that killed a child traumatized more than just the teachers and elementary school students. Florist Martha Warden, mother of one of the pupils six-year-old son Duncan, could not cope with her feelings she was hopeless to keep her child safe. Her husband David forced Martha to visit a shrink, but that just made the woman feel worse. Finally, although she loves David, three months ago, Martha abducted Duncan and vanished into an isolated cave near the Rio Grande with a sixty-day food supply, candles, and John Denver. Martha easily adjusts to her new lifestyle consisting of fishing and teaching. However, David has hired a detective to find and bring home Martha. The outsider uses the name of her deceased father and arrives with chocolate candy for Duncan. The detective struggles with his own demons while he tries to gain Martha¿s trust He desires her world of peace more than his own fractured torturous mental landscape. Kathy Hepinstall provides her audience with a deep psychological tale that moves slowly forward, but any faster pace would destroy this astute character study. The key to the tale is Martha who has found haven in an alternate reality that her mind has created so that she can physically and mentally live safely in her new world. Readers who want action need to try a different panorama, but fans of discerning stories that look inside the essence of the soul will want to read Martha¿s moving motif. Harriet Klausner

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