BEFORE AND AGAIN by Doris Mortman


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Scary dreams. Family secrets. Is Callie just nuts—or is she channeling the thoughts of the dead?

Traumatic memories abound: her mother was wrapped up in a straitjacket, taken away by two burly guys in white coats, and dumped in a mental institution. Callie hopes she isn’t schizophrenic, but, gee whiz, those awful nightmares just won’t go away. And she has enough problems getting to sleep, what with being an investigative reporter for the City Courier. But the mysterious death of her ex-boyfriend, Wilty Hale, society man-about-town, unsettles her even more. She’s going to get to the bottom of things. Just who are the gray people who come and go in her troubled mind? And what are they trying to tell her? Could it have something to do with the Hales, who seem to be jinxed? The family holdings include the paper Callie works for, and though the editor-in-chief doesn’t want to sensationalize the weird way the Hales keep dropping dead, it could be a great story. Says he, in pontifical Perry Mason style, “It’s about time somebody confronted that blasted curse head-on!” Callie gulps and takes the assignment. Then a TV appearance by Dr. Guy Hoffman to explain his Mnemonic Project gets everyone thinking. The distinguished scientist says, first, that if generational memory is encoded in genetic material, the public will be immediately informed. Why, even simple scenes of domestic life become vital to our understanding of the human continuum, he adds. How about scenes of . . . murder? Turns out that Callie is channeling the thoughts of the dead—in this case, of her hitherto unknown Hale ancestors, some of whom weren’t very nice at all. So, is Carolyne Hale, Wilty’s ice-queen mother, in cahoots with Hoffman’s colleague, the evil Dr. Merrick? Who stole the serum from the cookie jar? Will Callie be forced to commit suicide—or forget everything she ever knew?

Wooden prose, no thrills.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-27557-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2003


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