An academic at the University of Virginia confronts her father’s death and a supernatural threat in this novel by Amato (King Peso, 2016, etc.).
History professor Brodie Macbeth is planning her breakup with her wealthy, cold colleague Stanton Sloane when she receives a phone call from the Boston police. They tell her that her father and department chair, Wallace Macbeth, is dead after falling from a hotel window, an apparent suicide. Soon, she’s puzzling over unusual requests in her father’s will, which ask her to move into the house she grew up in, to keep her dad’s longtime car registration active, to read his entire library, and to deliver a painting to her aunt in Edinburgh, Scotland. When she meets attractive U.S. Marine veteran Joe Birnam on the international flight, it renews her resolve to end her relationship with Stanton. Meanwhile, Stanton is furious that she chose to keep her father’s house rather than donating it to the university in order to help his career. In Scotland, Brodie is troubled by nightmares as well as by faraway unrest in the history department, so her relationship with Joe initially stalls. Joe’s own insecurities concerning his war wounds contribute to the problem, but once they overcome these melodramatic conflicts, their romance flourishes. When Brodie discovers the shocking, supernatural cause of her nightmares, it imperils not only her relationship with Joe, but also both their lives. The author expertly interweaves historical facts, drawn from the books Brodie is reading, into the character’s bad dreams. Both Brodie and Joe are relatable characters; indeed, he’s so perfectly flawed that many readers may fall in love with him, too. For a brilliant academic, though, Brodie is slow to recognize the incredible coincidence of both her father and his publisher dying the same way in a very short time span. (That said, she is distracted by conniving fellow history professor Jack Hull and the jocular new department head, Donald Pedder, whose seamless entry into the department seems too good to be true.) Truly, the novel’s only flaws are the contrived conflicts that keep Brodie and Joe apart for too long.
A suspenseful, page-turning paranormal romance.