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November 4, 2013 / Leslie

Review: The Preservationist by Justin Kramon

PreservationistThe Preservationist
by Justin Kramon

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publish Date: October 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover | 284 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has ever happened to him. Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he’d been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, “a great beast of a birthday,” as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam’s attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia.

Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist is the riveting tale of Julia and Sam’s relationship, which begins to unravel as the threat of violence approaches and Julia becomes less and less sure whom she can trust.

My Thoughts:

The Preservationist is a captivating psychological thriller that accelerates with every turn of the page. Short, suspenseful chapters slowly built the characters and kept me riveted to the story. I liked the use of alternating viewpoints to gradually reveal the thoughts of Julia, Marcus and Sam, divulging just enough to get to know them but remaining uncertain of the motives of each of the men. The tension accelerates and as I approached the end this became a real page turner with a final twist.

These were not very likable characters but that didn’t prevent me from getting hooked on the story. All three were flawed, carrying secrets and a traumatic past. I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for Julia, she seemed more than a bit naive for a college student. She should have been leery of Sam, a much older man who liked to hang around with college students, but Julia is recovering from a tragic accident, is recently out of therapy and her judgment is suspect. Marcus has problems too and Julia wasn’t ready to be involved with anyone.

The familiar love triangle is turned into a dark tale in a haunting setting. Scary at times it had me looking over my shoulder in my own house. I read this late into the night in a quiet house and that only accelerated the creepiness. The ending was not what I was expecting and had me a little surprised. A nice twist even though I didn’t find it satisfying.

Overall, a quick read and a compelling plot. Recommended to fans of the genre.

About the Author

Justin KramonJustin Kramon is the author of the novels Finny (Random House, 2010) and The Preservationist (Pegasus, 2013).

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has published stories in Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Boulevard, Fence, TriQuarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and others. He has received honors from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, Best American Short Stories, the Hawthornden International Writers’ Fellowship, and the Bogliasco Foundation.

He has taught undergraduate and graduate fiction writing courses at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Haverford College, the University of Iowa, Arcadia University, and elsewhere.

Connect with Justin

Facebook | Goodreads | Webpage

Tour Schedule HERE.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of The Preservationist to giveaway to readers 18 years of age or older with a mailing address in the US. To enter, fill out the form below on or before November 13th. For an extra entry tweet or blog the giveaway and include the link. I will draw a random winner who will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond.

[Giveaway has ended]

Winner: Shelly


Source: Review copy from TLC Book Tours
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. laurelrainsnow / Nov 4 2013 1:07 pm

    I loved this one, too…and tried not to read it at night, but couldn’t seem to stop! Very creepy-good. I have a copy, so I don’t need to participate in the giveaway. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Suko / Nov 5 2013 6:57 pm

    Leslie, thanks for hosting this terrific giveaway! I will post it in my blog’s sidebar. 🙂


  3. Heather J. @ TLC / Nov 8 2013 4:45 pm

    Sounds like a great, quick read! Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.


  4. stacybuckeye / Nov 8 2013 10:38 pm

    This looks like it’s right up my alley!


  5. Amy / Nov 10 2013 3:12 pm

    This sounds like a fantastic psychological thriller. And haunting, creepy and disturbing to book…what more could I ask for in a book?! I like flawed characters and don’t mind if they are rather unlikeable so long as they’re interesting and the ones in this book sound pretty interesting. It’s great when a book moves at a quick pace and it’s difficult to put down. You’re review is terrific, thank you!



  1. Justin Kramon, author of The Preservationist, on tour October 2013 | TLC Book Tours

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