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by Mark P. Dunn
Five Star, May 2006
234 pages
ISBN: 1594144141

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Cora Gardener is in a coma, flown to Maine by her grandfather who is a specialist in getting children out of comas. He's not having much luck. The rest of Cora's family was murdered by a serial killer in California; his real goal was Cora.

Dr Cole Johnstone is trying to help Dr Davies with Cora. There have been mysterious sightings of various kinds on the remote island where Dr Davies' clinic is located. The clinic, for a wealth of reasons, is close to closing. As a last resort, when Dr Davies comes down with pneumonia, Dr Johnstone calls up an old flame. Sarah Delacort is a psychic, one of the few around not greeted automatically with jeers and derision.

Back in California, the serial killer is not doing so well. He keeps getting these blinding headaches unless he faces east. So he faces east. And then he starts driving east. Towards Cora, because that is the only way he can go without experiencing disabling pain. On the way, he continues to slice and dice, but it becomes almost rhetorical.

A GIRL IN MIND is a novel of suspense, terror, horror. I must admit that I generally don't like to read this kind of novel. I get bad dreams. Mark Dunn has written a book that I had a very difficult time putting down, no matter how unpleasant the material. He plays fair with the reader, once the basic premise is accepted. His characters are compelling, and the good guys are flawed enough that a reader can care about them.

His use of setting is quite well done, as well. The story takes place mostly in Maine, in the winter. Cold is definitely a factor here, as is snow. This is a good book to be reading in the hot and muggy summer. I did find the lack of hypothermia in the last chapter or two to be a trifle unbelievable, but I was reading so quickly that I didn't notice it until I had finished the book.

If you like horror, terror, and suspense with good characterization, plot, and setting, then it would be worth your time to find A GIRL IN MIND. Dunn is quite good at this.

Reviewed by P. J. Coldren, June 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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