Amateur sleuth Alex Phillips and his sister Maddy, a blind, crippled hypnotist/psychologist living as a wealthy recluse on an island in Michigan, make a riveting return from their debut in Death Trance . Here they investigate a murder involving one of Maddy's former patients in Chicago. In a series of hypnosis-induced flashbacks--following a bloody opening scene in medias res --Alex tells Maddy about what happened when he went to Chicago to see her ex-patient Loretta, who had recently written to Maddy for help. After several meetings with Loretta and her family, Alex is shocked to find Loretta's hated stepmother dead and Loretta holding what may be the murder knife and eager to confess to the killing. Listening to Alex's hypnosis-induced accounts of harrowing events before the murder, Maddy halts the action like a film director, probing his memory for clues. A further complication surfaces: an unidentified member of Loretta's family was driving the car that killed a little girl, whose father had been another patient of Maddy's. Zimmerman's risks largely pay off: that most of this tale has a distant, deja-vu quality doesn't detract at all from the narrative momentum, which is further accelerated by accruing family secrets that finally trigger the story's startling resolution on Maddy's island. Mystery Guild selection; pa per back rights to Dell. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993 Release date: 06/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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