What happens when the key witness to an old murder was born five years after the events she recounts?
Los Angeles psychiatric intern Dr. Jordan Geller hypnotizes fledgling actress Robin Norris as a party stunt. But a follow-up session she requests to relieve the mysterious symptoms of choking that are endangering her role in Carousel is anything but amusing. Robin seems to be channeling Beverly Casper, a high-school student who disappeared in 1970. Recalling Beverly’s last moments in horrifying detail, she identifies her killer as a man called John who wanted to send her to heaven. Is Robin a reincarnation of Beverly? The stakes are raised by Dr. Elinor Fischer, Jordan’s hard-nosed mentor at the Dittmyer Institute, who insists that he’s trifling with irresponsible superstitions, and by the LAPD, who are dealing with a series of present-day killings that look an awful lot like the work of the same perp. Determined to connect the spate of murders by “the Messenger” to the 32-year-old case without exposing Robin to police scrutiny, Jordan presents her revelations to them himself, only to find that he’s become the new suspect in the case.
Telushkin (Words That Hurt, Words That Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well, 1996, etc.) and his TV collaborator Estrin have produced a fleet, pulpy thriller—Mary Higgins Clark with teeth—that’s especially good at balancing belief and skepticism about reincarnation.