DECEMBER'S THORN by Phillip DePoy
Kirkus Star

DECEMBER'S THORN

KIRKUS REVIEW

When a wife you don’t remember you had shows up on your doorstep, should you introduce her to your fiancee?

The three-month coma from which folklorist Fever Devlin has just emerged (A Corpse’s Nightmare, 2011, etc.) may have addled his brain. Did some wraithlike woman clad in black really appear at his cabin one night claiming to be his wife and the mother of his son, or is he hallucinating? When Fever’s old friend Skidmore, the sheriff of Blue Mountain, Ga., can’t find a trace of the phantom bride, Fever’s fiancee, Lucinda, a nurse, asks psychiatrist Ceri Nelson for an opinion. Thus begins a chase through Jungian archetypes, the basis for the Tristan and Isolde legend, and a reconsideration of the sprigs on the Devlin family tree—along with rifle blasts, confrontations with black bears and a whiff of sexual interest between the quirky doctor and her even quirkier patient. Is it possible Fever has repressed more than an acquaintance with the now-you-see-her-now-you-don’t bride? To Fever’s chagrin, the puckish Dr. Nelson keeps on bringing up mother issues. To untangle them, Fever must revisit a trip to Wales he took as a young college instructor and a student’s obsession that landed Fever smack in the middle of a scenario out of Wagnerian opera. Is he echoing Tristan? Is the demon bride replaying Wagner’s Isolde? Who then would be King Mark? Is there a conjunction between myth and reality? Cue the music; the tragedy is about to unfold.

Nobody is better at misdirection than DePoy. Nobody is better at making Carl Jung entertaining than DePoy. And if you ever need a psychiatrist, Ceri Nelson is probably the most endearing practitioner in all of mystery fiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-01198-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012




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