By Kelly Riibe of Family Footnote
The dark back stories for the players in Kate Abbot’s thriller, Asana of Malevolence, could all have their own novellas. Each character has a crippling past that continues to haunt them as they try to move forward in life in order to find forgiveness for themselves and the others who have hurt them.
This is Abbott’s second novel, and as an instructor of yoga, she introduces and writes about the discipline in a way that makes it almost a character in itself. Through yoga, Sharon, Amy, Evan, and Sean were able to find peace from different traumas and begin a road to recovery. For them the retreat to “The Garden” was meant to be a celebratory excursion in which they could grow in their yoga spirit and find a calming reassurance to life’s dark side. However, upon arrival, they soon realize the retreat is being led by a manic leader with cult-like intentions.
Phoebe and Moses are hikers on a backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail when they encounter Sharon, Amy, Evan, and Sean trying to escape. Phoebe and Moses understand the feeling of loss and immediately want to help these damaged souls who are fighting their past guilt while simultaneously trying to come to terms with the hijacking of what was supposed to be a peaceful yoga retreat. It is heartbreaking to read that yoga aided each of these characters in processing their past grief and sadness, but then ultimately led them to a destination that offered only torture and fear.
The retreat leader, Larry, is a power obsessed man with an evil past. He will stop at nothing to control others. He feeds on weakness and vulnerability, which makes all those within Abbott’s story targets for his wicked plans. Larry’s relentless pursuit to make others serve him casts a long, dark shadow over “The Garden” and the spirit of yoga.
“The Garden” is a rich backdrop to the story’s plot, and Abbott describes it beautifully. The solitude of the area and the long distance of trails and wooded paths cause the main characters to participate in an involuntary game of hide and seek with deadly consequences for being found. The characters must make tough decisions in their attempts to escape the reach of evil that is extending from what was once a calm and serene place. Very few locals live near the “The Garden,” but those who do prove to be worthy allies.
Unbreakable bonds of friendship are formed quickly in Asana of Malevolence, especially as the characters face acts of violence. The need to escape is urgent from the very start of the book. However, the ability to trust others is tough for many in this story due to their history of struggles and heartache. The characters grapple with seeking help that could ultimately put innocents in danger’s way. Throughout every chapter, a person is being tested while having very few options in terms of survival.
Inner strength, and a little help from the paranormal, guide all of the characters in this page-turning read. Their quest to flee Larry’s control and also escape their own demons will keep readers engaged until the end.
*Asana of Malevolence is set for formal release on September 6, 2016 and is available now through the publisher.
This post was originally published on The Manifest-Station.
About the Author
Kelly J. Riibe has three kiddos, a husband, a dog, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. Kelly loves reading so much that she keeps a book in her diaper bag at all times. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Heels on a Farm, MockMom, and is the co-writer for the blog: www.familyfootnote.com. Follow her on Twitter: @familyfootnote & @KJRiibe.