Sunday, 14 September 2014

Night Machines by Kia Heavey

In this novel of suspense, romance-gone-awry, and the paranormal, the main character, Maggie Moore, is married to Rowan, a detective in the small town where they live, and is the mother of two. Now that her children are a bit older, she's ready to return to the working world but is anxious about her interview for a part-time job as a corporate communications writer and editor at NarcoDynamics. Dr. Cambien Cuthbert, founder of the company and creator of the clinical sleep aid Anadreme, which eliminates "intense dreaming, night panics, and nightmares," is a former high school chum, whom Maggie only barely remembers. He's no longer the lanky, awkward, pale teen but now a tall, svelte, wickedly handsome man of confidence and success-who has a long-held attraction for Maggie. The way she represents herself in the interview with Cuthbert, she's certain she blew her chance for the job. She's wrong, of course. Soon, Maggie's thoughts about her boss seduce her into behaviors and visions that are a form of escape from her predictable life, a husband who is becoming more and more remote, and her insecurities. As is printed on the book cover, "Maggie decided to have an affair. No one needed to know, not even her lover."

Soon after the story opens, a tragedy happens in their area: A child has been murdered, and there's no trail leading to her killer. People in the small town where Maggie and Rowan live are in a heightened state of awareness and panic, causing additional problems, which keeps Rowan and his fellow police officers busy nearly around the clock as they address these new issues and simultaneously work the homicide. Maggie and Rowan drift apart, which makes Cambien Cuthbert's attentions all the more appealing: "She wanted two men and could have neither." Feeling abandoned by her now careworn, ill-tempered husband, Maggie engages in a very different kind of affair with her boss, an imaginary one that begins to consume her. All the while, Cuthbert inveigles himself into her life in such a way that there seems to be no escape from him or her desire for him.

I found this an engaging read! Murders, manipulations, and agendas... I have to be careful about spoilers because this plot unfolds in layers that go deeper and darker until... So what I will say is that the author, Kia Heavey, creates a rich tapestry of scenery, motive, character development, and plot. The tension builds deliciously throughout the book, revealing more and more of what's really going on, which you, more than likely, may not or probably won't anticipate. She has the gift for turning a phrase and does so effectively and often throughout the book. A big Thumbs-Up for this author's creative imagination and storytelling skills.