Before and Again
by Doris Mortman
Category: Fiction / General
384 pages; ISBN: 0312275579
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Before and Again
St. Martin’s, Nov 2003, $34.95, 384 pp.
When Callie Jamieson was eight years old the men in white took her mother Mara away in a strait jacket. Her father Bill explained to the stunned child that he feared that her mom could no longer control herself and might harm Callie so he had her committed at Connecticut’s Stonehaven. When Bill refused Mara’s plea for a divorce so her beloved spouse and their cherished daughter can move on, she hung herself.
As a child Callie shared the same haunting dreams about the people in gray as her mother. Now a New York reporter, those dreams return with a vengeance following the death of her former boyfriend. A TV psychiatrist feels that the dreams are memories passed down from generation to generation. Callie investigates her roots and that of her deceased boyfriend that make it appear that the family is cursed as it seems everyone dies prematurely from unnatural causes. NYPD detective Ezra Chapin tries to help Callie elude her turn to die.
Though the climax seems too pat, readers will appreciate this taut suspense thriller because of the intrepid heroine. Callie is courageous as she learns the truth about her heritage though she wonders whether she is going schizoid like her mom allegedly did or is someone, perhaps the dead, trying to send her messages from the other side. When the plot keeps the audience wondering about the mind of Callie, BEFORE AND AFTER is a superb tale that travels back and forth between classic horror and psychological suspense. When the resolution turns clear, the plot loses some of its intensity. Still readers will enjoy Callie’s quest for mental stability.
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