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on Aug. 08, 2011 :
Content Warning: This story contains elements, including an attempted suicide, that may be troubling or triggering for some readers. Discretion is advised.
Paranormal is one of those genres that can be fused with just about any other with generally positive results. It allows for concepts and ideas to be combined in new ways while never eliminated plain old white bread everyday phenomena from causing an event or series of events. The Doppelganger Song uses this notion extensively and the end result is a mystery that takes its time in revealing each of its many details and secrets.
Psychologist Dr. Holly and her security consultant paramour, Frank, are an unlikely team of investigators. They've been romantically involved for eleven years (never married, though, don't make the mistake of assuming) and both are secretly wondering if it might be time to pack it in. When Holly is asked to consult on a case by a, let's call her a friend, Dr. Rose Steiner, she and Frank work the case together, combining his investigative skills with her psychological knowledge.
The case is a complex one- a young teacher, Emma, is in Bellevue after going out the window at the boarding school where she lives and works. The police are satisfied that it was a suicide attempt, and indeed, in the moments leading up to the actual fall, Emma was contemplating suicide- her life was going nowhere, the guy she thought she was madly in love with has dumped her like yesterday's news, and this seemed like the only way out. The thing is, she backed away from the ledge, but somehow ended up on the ground and in the hospital anyway. Who pushed her? Was she pushed? Is there anything to investigate here at all?
Dr. Steiner thinks there is, and that's where Holly and Frank come in. Strange things have been happening at the school, including other people having seen someone, or something, that looks exactly like Emma on the school grounds. A doppelganger by definition is a ghostly double or a twin; therefore the paranormal connection becomes evident.
The story is twisty and layered, and is an investigation on the part of the reader. The details are there, but admittedly they do require a lot of digging to uncover. Everyone has secrets. I literally mean everyone, as even our intrepid investigative duo have some things that they need to share with one another, and the sooner, the better. Their relationship is up in the air and remains so throughout the story, which was an interesting and unique element. Typically you see a couple that's either steadfast and committed, thoroughly broken up, or broken up and considering reconciliation; I don't recall any other story where I've come across a leading couple in that gray pre-breakup-but-then-maybe-not area.
The Doppelganger song isn't a police procedural, and it isn't a rip 'em tear 'em thriller. It takes its time getting from point A to point B and isn't afraid to make some stops in between, but if the reader stays focused and true to the end, it's definitely worth getting to.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on June 30, 2011 :
THE DOPPELGANGER SONG
By Caitlin Sumer and Bill Shears
(InfinityBound 2011; ebook 385 kb)
Dr. Holly Ambrose, psychiatrist, and her partner Frank Zhelikhovsky, an Iraqi war vet and security expert, have been asked to consult on a case involving a young teacher who may or may not have tried to commit suicide. Emma Ward went out the fourth floor window of the Gracewynne School, a private girls’ school in the Bronx. Emma insists she didn’t jump and there are stories among the students of a Shadow Emma, a mysterious mirror-like image of Emma.
The definition of doppelganger is a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person. After speaking with Emma and some of the students it seems as though Emma does indeed have a doppelganger. Holly however is very skeptical. As Holly and Frank’s investigation progresses there seem to be more questions than answers. Who is Ms. Grande, the woman who runs the school and does she know about the supposed doppelganger? What happened to Emma’s boyfriend Scott the day he died while rock climbing? Is Emma crazy? Is Shadow Emma really a doppelganger?
THE DOPPELGANGER SONG is a smartly written book. I like the paranormal aspects of the story as well as the questions about Frank and Holly’s personal relationship. The pacing is quick and consistent while keeping the reader guessing as to the final outcome until the very end. The character development is excellent giving the reader ample background without getting bogged down in too much or unnecessary detail. I genuinely liked Holly, Frank and Emma and no one is without their flaws. In other words, they are all very human and realistic. I also enjoyed the intelligent and witty dialogue, especially between Frank and Holly. I think THE DOPPELGANGER SONG would make a great addition to your library if paranormal is your thing.
FULL DISCLOSURE-my daughter Darlene Wanglund did the cover art and I think it’s great.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 01, 2011 :
I have to say that the beginning caught me off guard, They, Holly and her husband, live in separate states most of the year. Then as the story of Emma Ward unfolds so does their relationship. At times I did not know whether this case would bring them closer together or more distant. When you draw near the end you are torn in a few different directions and left for awhile not knowing what to think. I really enjoyed this book as well as the way Caitlin chooses her words. You can say heart breaking, mind blowing as well as a book that will make you sit and think when you describe this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)