cover image Disorder


Amy Crider. Univ. of New Orleans, $18.95 trade paper (322p) ISBN 978-1-60801-220-6

Wendy Zemansky, the narrator of Crider’s intriguing debut, suffered a breakdown and was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder years ago, and is now a graduate student in literature in upstate New York. After her roommate, poet Diana Cerf, disappears, several days later Wendy finds Diana’s body covered in snow on the side of a road, the victim of a hit-and-run. Diana’s death arouses strong feelings in Wendy, triggering a manic episode. Wendy’s anxiety increases as she wonders whether she herself was the driver who killed Diana. Meanwhile, literature professor Dan Hellmann, Wendy’s adviser, suspects her of sending a letter accusing Dan of having sex with a student to another university to which he was applying for a job. Another literature professor spreads rumors questioning Wendy’s sanity, further undermining her feelings of self-worth. Wendy’s descent into mania is interspersed with clues, some of them red herrings, about what happened to Diana. The ingenious plot will keep the reader guessing. Psychological thriller fans will want to check this out. (Nov.)