Turn of Mind

Alice LaPlante’s debut novel, Turn of Mind presents compelling characters enmeshed in difficult, sometimes enigmatic relationships.  At its center is Dr. Jennifer White, a retired orthopedic surgeon whose specialty was hands.  She was known as a genius in the field.  Now she can’t recall who the strangers in the room are, although they claim to be her daughter, her son, her caregiver.  Sometimes she recalls that her best friend has been murdered.  Sometimes the shock and grief is fresh.  Strangely, the victim’s fingers on one had have been surgically removed, making Jennifer a prime suspect.  Written from Jennifer’s point of view, this novel shows the unraveling of a brilliant mind enduring the ravages of Alzheimer’s.  Through Jennifer’s fragmentary memories the reader is able to put together some key facts about the life of a strong, often cold woman and a portrait of the victim—a cruel and complicated woman whom Jennifer loved, forgave, and depended upon.  Could Jennifer really have committed murder?  The police investigator seems to think so, but is stumped about the motive and mostly about the severed fingers.  This page turner is an excellent choice for book groups.

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