Turn of Mind

Alice LaPlante has written an entire novel told from the point of view of a woman suffering from dementia. The woman is a suspect in the murder of her best friend. Turn of mind, indeed.

Dr. Jennifer White was a well known orthopedic surgeon in the Chicago area when she developed dementia. Her long time friend, Amanda has been found murdered and 4 of her fingers have been surgically removed. Witnesses tell police that Jennifer was arguing with Amanda the day she died. But Jennifer, of course, has no memory of it. And so the story starts.

Jennifer's daughter, Fiona, and her son, Mark are trying to protect her. Mark has problems of his own - which is why he is always trying to get money out of his mother. Jennifer's husband, James has died leaving Mark and Fiona Jennifer's only family. They have some knowledge of what happened to Amanda but they aren't talking to the police either. They hire an attorney and try to have the police banned from the facility where Jennifer has been moved.

The story moves through the twisted mind of Jennifer. Time suddenly shifts. Conversations that occurred in the past become intertwined with present day conversations. The book is at once horrifying and intriguing. Think of it - a woman diagnosed with dementia is the prime suspect in a murder investigation. She is being questioned about events she cannot possibly recall. Even if she did commit the murder and dismemberment could she recall doing it? She is the perfect person to set up for taking the blame.

The story line unravels slowly. You wonder, just what is Mark hiding? What is Fiona keeping secret and what was the big revelation Amanda promised to make before she died? The book is like being in the middle of some one's stream of consciousness episode. Interesting and worth reading.

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