Prisoner 489 review

Prisoner 489 (Black Labyrinth Book 2) - Joe Lansdale, Chris Morey, Santiago Caruso

Everybody has secrets they don't want others to know. But screw it, here's one of mine. I'm going to put it out there and then just let it be:


This was my first ever Joe R. Lansdale read.

There. Now that shameful secret has been acknowledged, I can move on to say this was an enjoyable novella. Not flat out amazing, but a quality, atmospheric read that had me engaged from the moment the island on which the events take place was established.

As most seem to acknowledge, Lansdale writes with an economy of expression that is enviable. There is little superfluous or unneeded (unlike this sentence) about his writing in Prisoner 489. But it drew me in effectively and really had me wanting to know more about the prison which is an adjunct to most of action in this tale.

As it stands, we follow Bernard and his team of two underlings who are caretakers for the burial ground of a prison on a nearby island. When the latest inmate from that prison is "put down", things immediately seem weird to Bernard and it isn't long before he and his team are battling for their lives...

The evil in this one is well-described, helped by the illustrations of Santiago Caruso. I'm not sure I'd want illustrations in every book I pick up, but as something out of the ordinary, I enjoyed these ones. The characters are well-established, the action easy to follow, and if the early atmosphere is somewhat diminished once the threat is identified, well, one can't have everything one wants.

Wholly satisfying, and strong enough to have me anticipating which Lansdale book I should next pick up, Prisoner 489 won't set any records for originality, but it's a great read recommended for a stormy, winter's night.

4 Unstoppable Forces Meeting Immovable Objects for Prisoner 489.