The Prisoners Of Stewartville: Shannon Felton
Reviewed By Steve Stred
“There’s only three reasons people move to Stewartville.”
With the opening paragraph, Felton cuts through the gristle and lays out a bleak and sorrow filled existence and good lord did this book resonate with me.
Where I grew up, there wasn’t a physical prison. No, the village I lived in and the town thirty minutes away (the big city to me when I was young!) was our prison.
You’d see it every day. The former jock now working for the village. The cool kids still living at home a decade later, doped out of their minds while they banged their way through the women in the town. The village I grew up in had a population of 100-150. The town nearest us – population 3000. Now it sits around 5000. It’s an odd place to visit because I will run into people in every single store I go into that I went to elementary school or high school with.
The story within this book, is simple. Our main character has a friend, Denny. New guy to town, his mom works at the prison (one of the three reasons to more there – someone works at the prison). One day, while playing video games in the basement, Denny’s mom comes home angry. She throws her steel toe boots at her son, missing with the second boot, which hits the wall and knocks a brick free. The two boys see there’s a space behind the wall, a tunnel.
From this point on, Felton paints the bleakest picture of small-town life. Where bad news travels fast and life can change for everyone in the blink of an eye. Between hearing scratches behind the walls and becoming addicted to a substance to escape the certainty of having no hope, no future, Felton created some truly amazing characters.
One thing that I really enjoyed was how Felton ensured to weave people’s histories throughout. This is something paramount in a story that’s based in a rural, tiny location. Everyone knows everyone and they all have history. Every young citizen of a small place has been friends with every other young person at one time or another. They may no longer be friends, but at one point they were. This was done fantastically.
Silver Shamrock keeps knocking releases out of the park, but ‘The Prisoners of Stewartville’ may well be my favourite release of theirs so far.
This is one that I’ll be recommending to everyone and I’ve added it to my list of books I’m positive will make my ‘Best Reads of 2020 List.’
The Prisoners Of Stewartville
Everyone knew about Stewartville’s dark history. The mining war that led to the prisons. The prisons that brought the corruption. The drugs and the crime. It was no secret that something was wrong with the place.What we didn’t know was why. Then Denny and I found that tunnel in his basement. And what we learned—what everyone learned—is that there’s no escaping the ghosts of your past. But let me start at the beginning…
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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