cover image When I Close My Eyes

When I Close My Eyes

Elizabeth Musser. Bethany House, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7642-3444-6

Musser (The Long Highway Home) delivers a powerful story about mental illness and forgiveness, connecting the culprit and victim of a violent attack through their strong faith. Josephine Bourdillon, a best-selling novelist, is shot in the head as she’s getting into her car in Asheville, N.C. Henry Hughes, the hired gun, is a veteran suffering from PTSD who needed the money from the hit to pay for his son’s heart operation. While Josephine is in a coma, she relives the high and low points of her life. Meanwhile, Henry plans on finishing the job so he can get the money and protect his family from Nick, the mysterious person who hired him and is now threatening to hurt them. He also begins reading Josepehine’s books; her words touch him deeply and he begins to wonder if good can actually come from bad. As Josephine’s teenage daughter Paige cares for her mother at the hospital, she tries to figure out who wanted her mother dead while keeping from the police information that might lead them to suspect her father. In a serendipitous turn, Paige befriends Henry’s wife, who is at the same hospital watching over her sick son. Musser’s raw portrayal of life with mental illness and the strength of faith to overcome injury will appeal to readers who enjoyed Katie Ganshert’s Life After. (Nov.)