Book Review: The Captive by Deborah O’Connor

“Only he can unlock the truth. Only she can set him free.”

Published in 2021, The Captive by Deborah O’Connor is set in a future where prisons no longer exist. Instead, criminals are made to live out their sentence in a room-sized cage – furnished with only a bed, a basin, a table and chair, and a hatch to exchange food – which is situated in their victim’s home. Hannah tries to block her lodger out of her vision, but he’s always there, no matter how hard she tries to block him out. The same thoughts run through her mind every day: What if he speaks to me? What if he hurts me? What if he gets out?


The Captive is a clever and high-concept thriller with fascinating ideas that really get your mind ticking and your nerves trembling at the thought of this nightmarish situation.

I hadn’t read the synopsis before going into this book so it took me a while to understand what was going on. I kept thinking that I had missed something, but then it all fell into place and I suddenly became really excited by its dystopian setting.

While I initially loved the idea, the questions soon began to pile up. How could this really work? What if this happened? What if that happened? But O’Connor explored many of the gaps in my understanding and I was completely impressed by how well-thought-out her original concept was.

Deborah O’Connor is most certainly an author that I’m newly excited by so I look forward to picking up another book by her soon.

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