In this debut paranormal mystery, a shadowy figure murders a psychic, leaving the woman’s son to later pick up the pieces.
On February 2, 1997, Charles Young, a 38-year-old obstetrician in Manhattan, finds a cryptic letter from his wife, Meredith, the 32-year-old founder of Vista House, a foster home for children with psychic abilities. In it, she explains that she must run away to Lyle Mountain in Tennessee to save a girl from an “evil shadow,” in order to protect the “natural order.” That night in Lyle, 6-year-old Sheridan Hayes escapes her abusive father and soon comes face to face with the aforementioned shadow. After a dramatic series of events, Meredith saves Sheridan’s life by sacrificing her own. Authorities suspect that Charles murdered her—but then he’s apparently killed in an explosion, thought to be an act of suicide. One cop, Sheriff Walter Reed, doesn’t believe that the story is that cut and dried. In the novel’s second part, set in 2013, Charles and Meredith’s son, Derek, is now 26 and living in New York; he’s experiencing his own visions, like his mother did. Meanwhile, in Kensington Manor, Connecticut, Sheridan is now a 22-year-old artist; she goes to Lyle to confront her own painful past. Soon, the two characters’ lives merge in an exciting romance and a series of surprising twists, as they both try to make sense of their tortured childhoods. The book’s fantasy elements are creepy—a mute little girl at Vista House, for instance, looks eerily like Sheridan’s childhood doll—and they help to reinforce recurring themes of love, letting go of the past, and parental protectiveness. That said, Elmore’s story would have benefited from more descriptive dialogue; many of the characters’ over-the-top exclamations have the effect of trivializing their emotions, as when Charles finishes reading his wife’s letter and says, “No...please...God....Why, Meredith?”
An often thrilling supernatural tale that explores the power of love.