From technology to fashion to body of law, the world around us in constantly changing and that is no different for Frank Hinkle. After spending eight years in prison, Frank is released into his hometown to search for his missing brother and quickly finds things have changed, but not in the way he expected. Frank must find the truth behind the town’s drastic laws and Unfeathered nightmares in order to find his brother and save his family.
Although a convicted murderer, Frank is not a natural born killer. He loves his family and regrets not seeing his nephew grow up. It’s easy to like Frank when it is obvious he is more worried about finding his brother than gaining his own freedom. He’s smart, if a little rash at times, and his self sacrifice is admirable. I found myself rooting for him from the start.
Frank’s sister-in-law remarried after his brother disappeared, and when he shows up on her doorstep looking for a place to stay, reuniting feels awkward for the both of them. Their relationship is complicated as Frank figures out the ins and outs of the town’s new laws, but it quickly becomes one of the reasons to continue reading. Many people from Frank’s past are revealed as he discovers more about the town’s secrets, but the most important is his brother, Jake. Both Hinkle boys have a bad name in the town of Rook Mountain that all is connected to the root of the town’s problems, making Frank’s task even more difficult.
From the moment Frank starts exploring, the sinister feel of the town rears its head.
“March 27th, 2014, we went to bed and everything was normal. We woke up on the 28th and everything had changed.”
“Changed how?” Frank asked.
“People were dead. Lots of people.”
The characters themselves reveal the ugliness hiding behind their picture perfect hideaway, and the man behind it all: Zed. Zed promises to keep the town free of bloodshed like that on the evening of March 27th as long as they follow his regulations. One of the most chilling: you can never leave town. The more that Frank learns of the town, the more readers root for him to find answers.
One of the themes of Regulation 19 is fear. Fear drives the town to agree to Zed’s laws, including immediately killing anyone who tries to escape. Fear keeps the townspeople from questioning anything because they don’t want to take the chance that the Unfeathered will come back to kill more of their friends and family. Fear is the heart of Zed’s power over the town and only by overcoming it can the truth be known. Hylton knows just when to heighten it and exactly how to make the reader question their hero, Frank.
Normally I do not enjoy novels that I would consider more in the science fiction genre, but I was pleasantly surprised with Regulation 19. Rook Mountain is unique and Hylton does a great job of putting the reader in the middle of its chilling drama. If you’re looking for something different that will hold you hostage until the end, definitely give this novel a shot.
All book reviews on Solitary Spark are personal reviews of books I found for personal reading. I received nothing in exchange for this review.