Fellside by M.R. Carey
Fellside by M.R. Carey tells the story of Jess Moulson, a heroin addict who is tried and convicted of setting her apartment on fire, resulting in burns to both herself and her boyfriend, and the death of young Alex Beech.
Jess feels so much remorse for killing Alex, that although her lawyers want to appeal, she refuses. She decides a hunger strike and death will be a better judgement than just life behind bars. So when she reaches Fellside Maximum Security Prison, she decides not to eat. As the hunger strike starts to mess with her mind, she thinks she sees Alex, and he seems to be as confused about his death as she is about her life. Alex wants Jess to find out what happened. He remembers a good girl and a bad girl, and he thinks he was dead before the fire. Jess’s guilt, and prodding from Alex, bring her back to life enough to appeal her conviction, if only to get her lawyer to start investigating Alex.
Meanwhile, things at Fellside are not good. The prison warden is afraid to do anything that may harm his career; the medical staff are a little iffy; an inmate named Harriet Grace is basically running the prison drug ring with the help of a very corrupt guard and her henchmen, and Jess is being put in the middle. If the fire and hunger strike didn’t kill her, one of the above may.
I will admit that I really struggled at the beginning of this book. I found it really monotonous. Nothing was happening. About half way through it kicked up a notch, and by 3/4 I could barely put it down. That is the reason for the 3 1/2 stars. I really like Carey’s work. The writing is good, the plot is good, it was just too long – at the beginning.