|Nora Kelly: Hot Pursuit|
Pen Press (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-59058-014-1
In Hot Pursuit, Professor Gillian Adams leaves her home in Vancouver to live with her boyfriend, Edward, in London. Once there, she feels unsettled by the reality her decision, the unfamiliarity of the things around her and the seeming emptiness of her days. She looks forward to seeing her friend of many years, Charlotte. When Gillian visits her however, she finds Charlotte devastated by the dissolution of her marriage, lacking the energy and inclination to continue an ordinary life. So removed from reality that she no longer knows the day of the week, the once witty and exuberant television producer now sits alone in her darkened house wearing a faded silk kimono. Charlotte drinks bottle after bottle of wine and smokes endless cigarettes, trying to silence her conscious mind and its miserable thoughts.
Disturbed by her old friend's demeanor, Gillian vows to spend more time with Charlotte. But Gillian's plans come to naught when she finds Charlotte dead in her overgrown garden. Gillian feels compelled to reconnect with Olivia, Charlotte's adult daughter. As executrix of the will, Gillian must try to guide Olivia through the harsh task of sorting through her mother's possessions.
For Olivia, her mother's death is one of many emotional strains. An actress on the cusp of stardom, the attention of strangers no longer comes as a surprise. The attentions of one disturbed man become more sinister when he begins to stalk her, leaving indecipherable messages on her answering machine and sending her flowers with strange messages that illustrate just how deep his delusions run. Besides her unwelcome admirer, Olivia must also face her near estrangement with her newly remarried father, as well as the disquieting new feelings she develops for her friend's boyfriend.
Kelly effectively changes points of view throughout the story, giving the reader glimpses into the minds of all the characters. Her explorations of unstable minds prove especially intriguing. My one complaint rests with the dialogue, which became too self-conscious and overly philosophical at times. The characters often discuss humanity's innate self-interest and the notion of compassion, but although they make some interesting points, the dialogue seems forced because of its didactic agenda.
Hot Pursuit offers vibrant, engaging characters. The London setting provides an exciting backdrop for the mostly internal struggles of the characters. This balance makes the book appealing to the part of you that craves suspense and excitement, as well as the part that wants to ponder deeper issues.
Ceridwen S. Lewin
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