THE EDGE OF RECALL
Bethany House Publishers
Veteran author Kristen Heitzmann excels at novels combining love and suspense. In her chilling THE EDGE OF RECALL, she pens a spooky tale of a landscape architect with a penchant for labyrinths who harbors a secret trauma from her past and longs for a second chance at love.
Heitzmann’s protagonist is Tessa Young, a beautiful landscape architect who is known for her design and implementations of labyrinths. Labyrinths, complicated mazes with an entry point and center, have a rich history in literature (in Greek mythology, they often harbored monsters). From ancient times, labyrinths have be en walked as spiritual meditation exercises.
For Tessa, however, labyrinths have another association. Ever since her father disappeared when she was a young child in a traumatic incident (which she has blocked out), she has associated his disappearance with labyrinths. Her fascination with them borders on obsessive, and a monster haunts her in nightmares. This trauma has left her vulnerable and needy --- something that once drove the man she loved, Smith Chandler, away from her while they were classmates at Cornell and into the arms of a more stable, tough and equally beautiful woman.
Now, six years later, their paths intersect. When Smith lands a lucrative opportunity to build a mansion for casino mogul and hotelier Rumor Gaston and his model/girlfriend, Petra Sorenson, Rumor wants his pre-Colonial labyrinth restored by the woman most respected in the field --- Tessa. When Tessa and Smith are thrown together on the project, it doesn’t take long for the anticipated sparks to fly.
However, Heitzmann puts plenty of obstacles in their way. Something is haunting the property --- moving tools, appearing in Tessa’s room and leaving the stench of a graveyard behind, and stealing food. Tessa begins to wonder if her nightmares are coming to life, and if so, what they will reveal about her past and her father. Her therapist, Dr. Brenner, cautions her to move slowly. But events are moving fast. When Smith is attacked, it’s Tessa who appears to be the attempted murderer. Has she gotten involved in something that she has no control over? Is she having a psychological breakdown? Or is there something more sinister at work? Heitzmann leaves plenty of question marks in the reader’s mind.
One of the strongest appeals of the book is Heitzmann’s use of labyrinths in her plot. It’s a fascinating subject, and those unfamiliar with labyrinths will find themselves wanting to learn more. She is adept at keeping the tension high throughout and feeds the reader just enough information to keep the pages turning. There’s plenty of back-to-dialogue --- perhaps a little too much --- and a few extra romantic interests thrown in that helps keep some doubt in the inevitability of the burgeoning romantic relationship between Smith and Tessa. Occasionally, Heitzmann overwrites (clouds bunch together like “suckling pups vying for a treat”), but she does a good job creating a menacing atmosphere. She also throws in several plot twists at the very end that will keep the reader guessing until the final pages. I found some aspects of the ending unbelievable, however, including the eventual possession of the property.
But for readers who appreciate a happy ending, a little unbelievability won’t present any problems. Fans of previous Heitzmann books, including the engrossing Echoes series, will enjoy this latest from the pen of this talented author. For faith readers who like the romance/suspense combination, THE EDGE OF RECALL should more than satisfy.
--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. Contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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