The dark fantasist leaves his varied vampire series to take up pure paranormal suspense.
Bachelor Boston entertainment journalist Will James misses out on an editorship at The Boston Tribune because he spends too much time exposing paranormal frauds. At his tenth high-school reunion back in Eastborough, he expects to meet his old buddy Mike Lebo, with whom he’s had an e-mail exchange since graduation, but he discovers that all his fellow classmates know that Mike died in senior year. Will races home with a bad headache and finds that Mike’s e-mail has disappeared from his computer and Mike’s picture has been moved to the rear of the school yearbook and labeled “In Memoriam.” Not only was Mike killed by a hit-and-run, but Tess, the homecoming queen, had been raped the night before the game and never got crowned, though Will recalls seeing her in the big parade and crowned. And his childhood sweetheart, Ashleigh, who has twin daughters he’s held in his arms, tells him that she was raped along with Tess, had to have an abortion, and the scar tissue left her unable to conceive. So did Mike’s death ten years ago so haunt Will that he’s invented a whole new life for Mike, Tess, Ashleigh, and himself? Kyle Brody, a kid whose family moved into Will’s old house in Eastborough, passes on to Will a weathered letter he’s found in a secret spot under his front porch where he stashes his Hustler: the old envelope is addressed to Will as if written today and its single sheet says, “Don’t forget.” Is it his old friend Brian Schnell, who stole Dark Gifts, a leather-bound book of magic, who has changed the very foundation of Will’s life—and stolen Will’s ex-fiancée Caitlyn? When young Kyle delivers to Will Brian’s stolen book of spells, deaths follow as the past erodes and memory turns counterfeit. Then alternate universes take over, doubling Will.