THE BETWEEN by Tananarive Due


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 Intriguing first novel, by a Miami Herald syndicated ``dating'' columnist, that dances among horror, the occult, and a rational explanation for its weird moments, . At seven, Hilton James found his grandmother Nana dead on the kitchen floor and ran for help. But Nana was up and cooking dinner by the time he returned with help. Then, the next year, Hilton disobeyed Nana while swimming, got caught in the undertow, and was saved from drowning by Nana, who in turn allowed herself to be sucked under. Now, nearing 40, Hilton, an African-American, is head social worker at a Miami recovery center, has married Dede Campbell, the newly elected first black female circuit court judge in Dade County, and has two children. Hilton, however, fears that he's lived 30 years on borrowed time and that that time's up. Clairvoyant events point to Nana's having refused to die because she foresaw Hilton's drowning and stayed alive to save him. As a blind homeless man at the clinic tells him, there is a place between life and death called The Between, where ``travelers'' wait before entering the final door--all this from a blind man who actually died about two hours before Hilton had his talk with him! And what of Hilton's seduction by a supersexy client--a seduction he later finds never took place? Hilton undergoes still more fantasies bordering on virtual reality as, meanwhile, Dede receives racist death threats by mail--threats that, psychically, Hilton sees come from Charles Ray Goode, a released rapist whom Dede once sent to jail. With a psychiatrist, Hilton hashes over ``death cultures'' brought to this country from Africa, but chooses to agree that it's more likely that he's a schizophrenic. Later, Dede throws him out of the house for neglecting his children and physically hurting his son, but takes him back when told of Hilton's seeming illness. Together, they will face the man terrorizing them.... Neatly plotted and smoothly told, with an ending that avoids concrete explanations about Hilton's mental state.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017250-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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