Oota Dabun, Diane's counterpart in her past life, always dreamed of having a vision quest, a rite normally reserved for the young men of her village. This Lenape woman reaches for her dream in an unusual and compassionate fashion which teaches Diane a great deal about the capacity of the soul they share. Diane discovers relationships as well as repeating events, both of which provide clues that might lead to the justice she's after. Along the way she learns about life, love and the strength of the human soul.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Steve Lindahl unites the past and present in his novel, Hopatcong Vision Quest, through a handful of souls that pass through life, and time, together. Through reincarnation, the same souls find themselves together again in a new life, but the questions they have will only be answered by looking back.
Ryan, Diane, Martha, and Maya are the main characters of the present tense section of the novel. Ryan's wife and Diane's mother both died within two days of each other. Though the police ruled the drownings an accident, Diane doesn't agree with that conclusion. Diane is a woman in her late twenties/early thirties who enjoys sailing and being around the lake near her home. Readers will connect with her through her tragedy, as this gets the story moving, but also through her investigative attitude and openness to new things and information.
Ryan is a caring man who fears for his daughter, Maya, after his wife's death. He's also open minded, curious, intelligent, and strategic. Though he doesn't think his wife was murdered at first, he begins to see Diane's argument and arranges for them to be helped by a regression expert/hypnotist. I think readers will really enjoy Ryan's treatment and understanding of his daughter. Through that relationship, and his new one with Diane, readers will see his protective nature, which seems to be the core of his being.
Martha was Diane's mother's best friend in life and has become Diane's closest friend after Lori's death. Martha is a woman proud of her Native American heritage and connects everyone together. She's a bit more cautious, but still open minded and outdoorsy. Maya is the daughter of Ryan and his late wife, and she's a key piece to the puzzle that the others find themselves in. Maya is a curious young girl with an interest in nature. Readers will connect with her through sympathy, empathy, and worry about her, just as Ryan does, as the story unfolds.
The most interesting part of this book is the fact that each of these people, and others in the novel, have a previous life as one of the Lenape Native Americans. With the help of Glen, the hypnotist, each of the main characters travels back into the lives of their previous selves, learning, exploring, and discovering things that apply to the present situation. And though I was a bit nervous about this jumping back and forth through time at first, Lindahl does a great job in keeping everything situated and laid out in such a way that the reader has no trouble distinguishing who is experiencing the regression and how it involves each of the main characters. It's definitely a new way to solve a murder that was fresh, creative, and interesting! What I loved about it was that the past was just as intriguing as the present, with murder, trust issues, boundaries being crossed, and relationships forming.
The novel as a whole revolves around the murder of Beth and Lori. When Diane enlists Ryan and Martha's help to find out the truth, this whole connective web begins forming between the past and the present. And as the past is known to repeat itself, the group of main characters search for clues in the past that can unravel the mystery in the present. It sounds complicated, and it is, but with Lindahl's writing style it's easy to understand and take in as a reader. I think readers who enjoy mystery novels and new ideas will like this book, though it does call for an open mind.
Rating: 4/5 Cups