cover image Hush! a Demon Sleeps Beside Me

Hush! a Demon Sleeps Beside Me

Richard E. Goetzke, Author, Ted Schwartz, Author, Ted Schwarz, Joint Author New Horizon $25.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-88282-190-0

Ludicrously melodramatic writing and the decision to use demon possession as a metaphor for mental illness are the most glaring of this book's many faults. A few months after Goetzke, a banking security executive, married Lauren Wexler, his wife turned into ""Hannah,"" whose voice and face Goetzke could barely recognize and who promptly threw her wedding ring into the fire. That was the beginning of Goetzke's slow realization that the body of his beloved was a ""dormitory from Hell,"" which harbored six alternate personalities, all of whom had distinct identities, voices and even appearances. Defending himself against one of ""Hannah's"" violent attacks, Goetzke bruised Wexler's wrist and was arrested as an abusive spouse: he was eventually acquitted. Goetzke learned that Wexler had been battered by a previous husband and had even done jail time for shooting him. By his account, Goetzke made every effort to help his wife get treatment for her ""exotic multiple personality disorder."" But the book is written with none of the compassion Goetzke claims to have felt. Though coauthor Schwarz wrote The Hillside Strangler and other true crime books, the depiction of what must have been a waking nightmare is dulled by a style that oscillates jarringly between the casual and the lurid. The events are chilling enough not to have been saddled with the sensationalism the authors appear to have believed necessary to retain a reader's interest. (Nov.)