Sophie worries that she may wind up in a mental institution like her sister Nell when she starts hearing the same ghostly whispering that doomed Nell.
Was Nell crazy? Is Sophie? Or do both sisters have an ability to hear things from beyond the grave? Worse, does their ability put them in danger? Sophie’s new love interest, Evan, wants to help find out what happened to Nell when she died after escaping from the Oakside Behavioral Institute. Sophie and Evan investigate Nell’s death, meeting Adam, the former Oakside worker who helped Nell escape. Ignoring, of course, both Adam’s and Evan’s advice to stay away from Oakside, Sophie goes there anyway and becomes trapped when an unethical doctor convinces her alcoholic mother to commit her. It seems the doctor has his own reasons for getting “seers” under his control. Now Sophie must find a way to escape from Oakside on her own. For a short time, West flirts with the possibility that Sophie’s “murmurings” might be psychological rather than paranormal but drops that mystery in favor of pure suspense. The plotting is effective, including secret prowling around the institute at night, surreptitious meetings with a sympathetic ally, fun with mirrors and heart-thumping encounters. A steady pace helps to compensate for an overlong story.
Some decent frights will keep the pages turning. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)