Rated of 5
by Carolyn G. (Catskill, New York)
When visions are enough
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante is that unusual combination of psychological character study and murder mystery which does not disappoint on many levels. Foremost in quality is the format of this novel which is written through the eyes of a retired vascular surgeon, Jennifer White, who is suffering from Alzheimer's and is "a person of interest" in the murder of her best friend, Amanda O'Toole.
Amanda has been found dead in her kitchen with four of her fingers surgically removed and Jennifer either cannot or does not remember being involved in her murder. Told in an episodic internal narrative sprinkled with dialogue between Jennifer and her children, her caregiver and a personally involved police detective, this story draws the reader in with its insight into the slow deterioration caused by dementia. The novel is a quick read, which is not to say that it is not arresting or compelling in nature. I came away from reading this book with a greater empathy for the inner world of those suffering from this dreadful disease.
The murder plot was secondary, the police work minimal and the ending a not-unexpected twist. Overall I would recommend this novel to readers whose lives are touched by Alzheimer's as well as to those who are looking for a quick read on a serious medical subject.