cover image My Soul to Keep

My Soul to Keep

Tananarive Due. HarperCollins Publishers, $24 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018742-2

In this harrowing and moving second novel, Due (The Between) enlivens the potentially formulaic genre of supernatural suspense with a sharp eye for realistic detail. An 80-year-old black woman named Rosalie Tillis Banks is asphyxiated in a Chicago nursing home by her strangely youthful father, the legendary jazz clarinetist Seth ""Spider"" Tillis. This young/old man is known to African American journalist Jessica Jacobs-Wolde as ""Mr. Perfect""--her husband David. At first, Jessica thinks she has it all: a beautiful young daughter, a coveted place on the Miami Herald's elite investigative team and her doting husband, a noted linguist and jazz historian who has put his career on hold to raise their daughter. The plot shifts to the paranormal when David turns out to be more perfect than she could ever imagine: born some 450 years earlier in Abyssinia, he is immortal. Jessica tries to shrug off his amazing ability to heal himself from injuries, but the journalist in her can't ignore the puzzling facts for long. Meantime, David's emotional attachments to mortals are a source of deep pain for him and a potential threat to his immortal brothers; once they learn that David has told Jessica their secret, the leader of the immortals sends Mahmoud, a Searcher who is David's closest brother, to retrieve him. As people close to Jessica begin dying violently, David plots to give his wife and daughter the gift of immortality, whether they want it or not. The pull between the mortal and immortal defines the span of this deftly woven tale, a novel populated with vivid, emotional characters that is also a chilling journey to another world. $65,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July)