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4.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  68 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
When the Truth Is All That Matters The truth begins with a family evacuated from Saigon during the final days of the Viet Nam War. Or perhaps it begins later, with a devoutly Catholic child with the voice of an angel who is troubled by visions both sacred and profane. Or perhaps later still, with a couple drifting apart following a tragedy. Kelland appears to them all in t ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 251 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Casperian Books
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Community Reviews

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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Kelland definitely has the makings of a good horror story, but there is so much more that prevents it from being lumped solidly into one genre. There are elements of magical realism, family drama, suspense, and mystery. The story also explores religious faith, breaches of trust, and forgiveness.

Kelland is the mystery that binds the lives of five very different individuals. There is Minh and Toan, two brothers who left Vietnam to start a new life. There is 9-year-old Geo
Kelland is an amazing book. It's the gripping story of a group of disparate people who have in some way, either directly or indirectly, been touched by an unspeakable evil. The book takes us on a journey through time beginning in Vietnam in 1975 and ending in the US in 1998, and back and forth again through the years as we follow the lives of brothers Minh and Toan, a young boy named George whose angelic singing voice and love of Christ set him apart from other children, teenager Lucas trying to ...more
Elisa Rolle
Oct 25, 2015 Elisa Rolle rated it it was amazing
2009 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
After the initial thought that I might have an idea of where this story is headed, I ended up very surprised. This is a book I want to talk about but not give anything away. The book's description is purposefully vague and that worked so well. I originally listed this on my horror shelf but I no longer think that fits, though there were moments when I felt horrified, this is not what I consider horror, a genre that I tend to wrongly view as simplistic and predictable, two qualities which do not ...more
Jun 18, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing
Author: Paul G. Bens Jr.
Publisher: Casperian Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2009

I was told this was a "dark" novel. Even the blurb and press releases hint at horror. This was not the typical horror type, in terms of your classic Halloween or scary monster horror story, but the horror contained in the darker aspects of humanity and truly horrific events in terms of loss of child innocence, abuse and relationships between family members, friends, neighbors, religious community.

I coul
Jun 20, 2012 Andune rated it really liked it
Shelves: q-paperback
Kelland gets under your skin. The tension increases slowly as one follows the progression of scenes that tell the story of very diverse characters who are all connected in some way to Kelland, this angel, demon, ghost, spirit, changeling, who appears to each person in a different guise.

As the story of two brothers from Vietnam, a couple who loses a son and a young boy who wants to become a priest unfold, the novel shows us glimpses into these characters lives, their struggles and hardships, the
Robert Dunbar
Jul 18, 2010 Robert Dunbar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always so wonderful to discover a voice as fresh as this. Paul G. Bens, Jr. is a revelation. Kelland proves to be a remarkably complex, adult novel, and a brilliantly crafted one.

Make no mistake -- this is a sophisticated literary work. Though it may have one foot in Horror, comparing it to the usual genre effort is like comparing Don DeLillo to Mickey Spillane. I was completely engrossed by the layers of texture and meaning, the vivid characters and the utterly original plot. You don't wa
Mar 14, 2014 Maicie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-in-2014
Can't bring myself to list this under horror: it's so much more. Highly recommend.
Aug 21, 2010 Bill rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blake Fraina
Sep 09, 2011 Blake Fraina rated it it was amazing
Complicated. Challenging. Mysterious.


These all describe Kelland, Paul G. Bens's dazzling debut.

Imagine coming upon a jigsaw puzzle that's only been partially put together. The box is nowhere in sight so you have no way of knowing what the whole picture is, but the outer edge is complete and a few recognizable sections have been assembled. So now it's up to you figure out how those seemingly disparate segments are connected. Little by little, the pieces start coming together...

Nov 18, 2010 Kassa rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up

Kelland proves that Paul G Bens is an exceptional author. After reading his collection of short stories, I knew I wanted to read Kelland and it doesn’t disappoint. While well written and technically easy to read, the topics broached are anything but light. The characters suffer, deeply, but this isn’t a depressing book. Instead it’s compelling, interesting, and dynamic on several levels. You can’t put the book down and don’t want it to end yet you know what’s coming isn’t nec
Vince Liaguno
Aug 28, 2010 Vince Liaguno rated it it was amazing
Kelland is likely to be the best book you might not read this year. With its non-descript cover, vague synopsis, and limited small press visibility, it would be easy for this compelling, beautifully written debut novel from native Kentuckian Paul G. Bens to be overlooked. And that would be a sincere shame.

Kelland is a gorgeous, genre-defying novel of heartrending truth, a work that builds slowly and confidently toward a page-turning climax that will leave you breathless in anticipation of the in
Lavinia Ludlow
Feb 02, 2010 Lavinia Ludlow rated it it was amazing
So I waited for this book for a really long time. Maybe in a creepy way, I don't know, but I waited for it for what felt like forever because it'd been at the top of Casperian's book list for eons (I think the summer break of releases kept it there for quite some time) until it was finally released in Sept. And it was worth the wait and it never disappointed.

And it's just as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. Paul's prose flows naturally, and he has a real skill at building tension gradua
Jan 31, 2011 Sonia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have
Wow. What can I say? This book is not at all what I expected. My first foray ended at about 30 pages. The next foray, I banged in another 100 pages. I finished the rest in one sitting today.

I like that this book is sectioned in segments. It literally makes the reading fly by and the reading never felt cumbersome or long. I literally enjoyed every moment I spent reading Kelland.

The plot led me in directions I never expected and I'll have to stop there so as not to ruin anything for future readers
Sep 27, 2009 Mie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Highly recommend
Shelves: first-reads
I liked the way Bens started this novel where we are introduced to 3 families who doesn't know each other and slowly throughout the book we discover how they are all connected through tragedy.
When you start reading it is very hard not to want to know what happened, I really felt like screaming when I figured it out!
Sep 09, 2015 Maite rated it really liked it
Kelland is a disturbing book, one that won't leave you indifferent. It touches a very delicate topic, one that is hidden at the beginning, is subtly hinted in the middle and is delicately explored at the end, when everything comes together and you finally see how the different stories are in fact the same one.

The five main characters are very well depicted: Minh, the man who has everything but is slowly losing all that really matters, Toan, his little brother, who loves everyone except himself;
Brandon Shire
Feb 14, 2014 Brandon Shire rated it really liked it
Not horror. A story of human tragedy and loss of innocence. The pieces came together much too soon for me and honestly left me a bit...IDK, hoping for more than what it was. But still a very well crafted story.

Mar 22, 2015 Ava rated it it was amazing
I can't even begin to express how utterly horrified I was reading the last fifty or so pages of the novel. Once of the pieces of the puzzle began to come together, I could feel my hands shaking as I turned the pages.

(view spoiler)
Sep 14, 2009 Kgb rated it it was amazing
#4 in Contemporary Fiction Rainbow Award 2009, Editor's Choice Small Press Black Quill Award 2009
Wayne Courtois
Oct 11, 2009 Wayne Courtois rated it really liked it
No light snack, 'Kelland' is a novel you can sink your teeth into, chew on for a good while, and still have more for later. This is good news, since its dark, mysterious, smoky flavor is worth savoring.

Bens introduces us to a collection of disparate characters. Led by his confident, unobtrusive prose, we follow their stories, seeking a reason for bringing this seemingly random grab-bag of people and events together.

The key to the mystery is Kelland, a protean being who appears in each character’
Aug 31, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Minh and Toan are a couple of young Vietnamese refugee brothers who are brought to America after the fall of Saigon. Melanie is a young mother who grieves the death of her son, Lucas. Lucas is her son, who committed suicide. George is a young boy who is obsessed with the church and God. All are connected by a mysterious person who appears to each in a different guise, and by Father Anthony Swinton, a Catholic priest. The book's chapters jump between characters and time, with the intention, I'm s ...more
Sean Meriwether
Dec 04, 2011 Sean Meriwether rated it really liked it
I have had the fortune of reading Paul G. Bens Jr.’s shorter work and anticipated reading his first novel. Kelland is a multi-person narrative with five interlaced storylines which reveal the secrets of his richly drawn characters, secrets that they hide even from themselves. Linking the stories across time and space is an apparition, Kelland, who appears to each person in the guise that they most desire, making them more susceptible to his influence: priest, boyfriend, lover, angel. This entity ...more
Trevor Firetog
Quick personal story: I first heard about this book when it came out around 2009. The instant that I read the synopsis, I knew that I needed to have it. It had everything that appealed to me. More importantly, it was not straight horror, but more of a twisted fantasy, which is what really called to me. So I put the book on every birthday/christmas list for 5 years. I waited very patiently, but no one could find it.

Fast forward 5 years, and this new (and might I add beautiful!) edition of Kelland
Jesue V
Jan 06, 2010 Jesue V rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was lucky enough to receive this through Goodreads First Reads and really happy that I read this amazing book.

The novel consists of interwoven stories of people coping with some sort of tragedy or self-discovery.

The book jumps from character to character, in various points of their lives, and the chapters feel like jigsaw pieces that come together as a big puzzle in the end.

This is the kind of book that, when read the second time, you discover a lot of things that you may have missed the first
Jul 11, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
My first thought when I finished this amazing story was: Is this guy (Paul G. Benz, Jr.) for real? He did not waste one word. Kelland is by far one of the best books I have ever read.

Hope, fear, desperation, vulnerability, vengeance, forgiveness and love. Kelland compels the reader to contemplate everything but the dishes in the sink and the possible ring in the toilet bowl. Trust me, life’s trivialities will take a backseat while reading this story.

Ann Somerville's review sold me on the book.

Jan 15, 2014 Perri rated it really liked it
Kelland is told through the viewpoint of five very different people and I found myself caring about each of them. When one chapter ended I'd be sorry and want to jump ahead to continue the narrative, until I read THAT character's story and feel the same way. With this press, I read the book in almost one sitting. A dark but moving tale.
Mar 23, 2012 Jolean rated it liked it
This is one of those books that is truly interesting and you keep thinking about it after you put it down. But, although well written, the topic is meant to make you uncomfortable an it does-too much for me to rate it higher.
Apr 14, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it
Very heartfelt and emotional book. I was intrigued by all the characters in the book and compelled forward to find out their deep dark secrets. Great read, thanks Paul!
Jan 12, 2011 Mardi rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal read! Loved it from start to finish. Very moving and I would recommend it to anyone.
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Born in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, far too many years ago to be honest about, Paul G. Bens, Jr., has spent the majority of his adult life in the entertainment industry. His first foray into Hollywoodland was as a casting assistant on the feature films Trip to Spirit Island and Martians Go Home. He then graduated to Casting Associate and worked for three years on the NBC hit series Night Court a ...more
More about Paul G. Bens Jr....

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