The Forever Young Prisoner
Putnam Heights Publishers (2023)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (03/2023)
“The Forever Young Prisoner” is a riveting, not-to-be-missed paranormal novel written by Marcus Lessard. For the inmates at Providence State Penitentiary, the tale of an old legend was part of their informal induction into prison life and one that they had heard one too many times. This old legend is told of Henry Heck, the Forever Young Prisoner, a man forever locked away in the Pit of Heck since the Great war and was believed to be alive and never to have aged since then.
Tommy McConnell, a semi-habitual drug user and alcoholic and an inmate at the penitentiary, develops an interest in this tale determined to find out if the popular lore is authentic or not while behind the prison walls. However, for Tommy to succeed, he will need all the assistance he can get including the help of those living and the dead. His cellmate, Niño, opens him to the world of mysticism, one filled with intense visions, coevality, and wraiths. As he draws closer to unraveling the truth behind the legend, his life begins spinning into a labyrinth of terrifying experiences, some that daringly test his very existence as he contends with the calculating and insidious Guardians of the Mysteries of the Clock.
“The Forever Young Prisoner” is a superbly atypical debut that boasts ample literary strengths. With its sharp social observation and incisive dialogue, the book occasionally brings readers to a gasp-worthy surprise, inevitably leading them to stop and catch their breath before proceeding to the next phase. Intense and affecting hooks, and vividly drawn world-building rove towards a climactic level, while reflections about the meaning of life, human relationships, and amplitude intrigues make for an engrossing and assured read.
The book’s well-hewn characters play their role intricately, even as the author gives the reader ample time to gel with them. Throughout the book, inflection shifts between chapters and realities are structured and precise. This intensifies as the main protagonist draws towards a steeped atmosphere that is by turn, foreboding and appealing. Altogether, Marcus Lessard serves us an unforgettable gala of survival and fortitude in “The Forever Young Prisoner” that’s nothing short of a five-star paranormal masterwork.