cover image HEAVEN'S WITNESS


Joseph Telushkin, Allen Estrin, . . Toby, $19.95 (467pp) ISBN 978-1-59264-091-1

The serial killer known as the "Messenger" in Telushkin and Estrin's solid paranormal thriller has a particularly evil trademark: after abducting a young woman, he calls her parents to give them a message, a painful notification that their daughter is dead. But it's a message from beyond the grave that transforms the brilliant young psychiatrist Dr. Jordan Geller into an amateur sleuth. When Geller hypnotizes Robin Norris, a young actress struggling with her voice, he encounters the spirit of one of the Messenger's victims, Beverly Casper, who died in 1970, years before Norris was born. As an analyst-in-training at Los Angeles's elite Dittmyer Institute, Geller is no New Age flake; after some research reveals that Casper was real (and really murdered), he starts to believe in Norris and reincarnation. The psychiatrist proves to be seriously naïve as a detective, and when he goes to the police with the story, Geller himself becomes a suspect, one of a series of events that turns his monkish life upside down. Detailed backstories, plus numerous psychoanalytical and New Age tidbits, slow the plot in places, but the past-life angle sustains interest. Agent, Richard Pine. (Sept. 15)

FYI: Telushkin is the author of An Eye for an Eye and other mysteries featuring Rabbi Daniel Winter, and has collaborated with Estrin on episodes of such Emmy Award–winning TV shows as The Practice and Boston Public.