Title: Seagrass Pier: A Hope Beach Novel
Author: Colleen Coble Published by: Thomas Nelson, 2014
Nightmares frighten little children and grownups, alike. The difference may be simply that children may wake up, crying, in the middle of the night, needing the reassurance from mommy or daddy that "it was only a nightmare, honey." Adults may wake up in a cold sweat or be bothered all day by the nightmare.
Any number of factors may be causative in bringing about nightmares, but there is a belief or theory that recipients of major organ donations may experience "cellular memories" of experiences, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, likes and dislikes of the organ donor. This theory provides the basis for much of Seagrass Pier.
Elin Summerall has received a heart transplant from a woman who was murdered--strangled while working on a cruise ship. And now, in addition to certain changes in tastes, she is plagued by a recurring nightmare in which she "remembers" the circumstances of Laura Watson's death. She remembers the voice of her murderer, his cologne, and the color of the sweater he was wearing, when he garrotted Laura with a thin wire. Elin "feels" that wire around her throat and wakes, frightened and briefly disoriented. She is increasingly concerned that she is losing her real "self" and becoming Laura Watson.
The recurring nightmare, together with the looming anxiety over the possibility of organ rejection and the continuing pains along the incision, would be enough to deal with. But there's more: Elin cares for her mom, who suffers from dementia associated with multiple mini-strokes, and for her four-year-old daughter, Josie. Elin is also a widow of two years, so she manages all of her responsibilities alone, and also continues her work.
Enter Marc Everton, an FBI agent working--against his boss's orders--on Laura's murder investigation. Marc won't quit, because his partner was killed during the investigation, which is precisely the reason his boss wants him to stay off the case. But when Marc hears that Elin has received Laura's heart, he needs to find out what she knows.
One other little wrinkle: Marc is Josie's biological father, and Elin has never told him about their daughter--until Josie comes outside while he is on Elin's porch.
What follows is a twisting, turning plot all intertwined with a subplot that no one knows is a subplot, until near the end. Elin has a stalker--or is it two stalkers?--and only near the book's end do we know who and why and understand the roles of all the players. And there are many. I thought for a long time that I knew who Laura's killer was and assumed he was causing all the problems for Elin, but I was so wrong.
The complexity felt overwhelming, at times, but the book certainly gripped my attention and hung on. The last half, especially, made it almost impossible for me to lay my Kindle aside. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery/thriller. Five stars from me.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.