A Review: Castles Burning by Keith Wayne McCoy

In Castles Burning (Champagne, 2014) by Keith Wayne McCoy, a son is confronted with horrors he thought he’d escaped when he left home years before. Wil Warner returns home when he receives an imperious summons from his mother.

As a child, he had been manipulated by and pulled between both his parents. His mother, a narcissistic woman obsessed with possessions and maintaining the family’s prominent position at the top of local society, believes that everything and everyone has a price. To prove her point, she bought her husband, Wil’s father. Wil learned early from his father, a handsome man who had worked for the family, that the price of being bought was obedience to the whims of the one who pays the bills, his wife and Wil’s mother.

When his mother tried to exert the same control over Wil after he returned from college for a visit with his girlfriend, he rejected her attempts to control him and walked out of her life—until the summons arrived. Wil arrives home to realize that he must deal with his mother who has fallen into the depths of mental illness.

McCoy’s Castles Burning is a great read that examines how mental illness affects individuals and families, especially when the mental illness leads to horrific acts that defy belief. Castles Burning also addresses Wil Warner’s personal growth as he must deal with the mother who dominated him in his youth with her selfishness and meanness, which devolved into insanity.


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