In Crapo’s debut novel, two therapists fall for each other in Paris and meet with hostility—and maybe something more sinister—after they return home.
Romantic sparks fly when the male psychologist Carson Arrowsmith and the female psychiatrist Morgan Alar meet through friends in Paris. They continue their affair after they return to the U.S., but seemingly random developments impede it: a psychologist named Gloria’s near-fanatical envy of Carson’s relationship with Morgan; the sudden appearance of an old friend of Morgan’s long-missing father; and a strange man who makes an evening appointment with Morgan and asks personal questions instead of answering them. These events spiral into violence that endangers the couple in a story that, despite its mystery/thriller elements, works best as a romance. Crapo defines the main characters convincingly and treats their professions realistically, if sometimes with tongue in cheek; the couple psychoanalyzes everything and diagnoses Gloria’s meddling personality before Morgan decides, “I don’t like her.” Their relationship unfolds naturally and believably, particularly in a scene of buoyant anticipation, when Carson patiently waits for Morgan at a cafe, though she’s nearly 30 minutes late. They refer often to their Paris liaison, even in the name of their practice. If the story’s antagonistic forces arrive at a crawl, the measured pace remains effective. Tensions rise as Morgan’s history emerges, and Omar, her father’s former acquaintance, turns out to have a link both to the bizarre patient who made an appointment with her and to a man who’s a stranger to both doctors—“Mister X.” The more romantic interludes give way to Morgan’s making the “rounds,” ensuring each night that the house is secure and the alarm is set. But the relationship keeps its feet planted in the foreground, and the story becomes one of a couple struggling to maintain harmony. The ending, for a romance, is atypical, but it succeeds and rounds out a solid book.
A novel that combines romance and suspense in an unexpected but credible way.