by Lance Fogan
Author Reputation Press

"I was suffering and, oddly, it was a shameful feeling... Illness had come to my family. It was going to be up to me to be strong and support my son."

Sandra Golden's life is upended one evening when her son, Conner, suffers a mysterious convulsion. Conner has been behaving strangely at school, blacking out and neglecting to finish his assignments. Sandra and her husband, Sam, are distraught when they learn that Conner could be suffering from epilepsy, a medical condition afflicting three million Americans. Between this and Sam's burgeoning alcoholism—fueled by the post-traumatic stress he suffers as a combat veteran—Sandra begins to fear that her marriage and household are unraveling. When searching the internet for symptoms fails to provide any clarity, she turns to a specialist who offers hope.

Fogan's narrative is tautly written and moves at a brisk pace, never allowing the author's impressive understanding of neurology to obstruct the book's more dramatic elements. However, parts of the book are presented in non-chronological order, flashing back to a few months before the convulsion, which changes the flow somewhat. The exposition is delivered in an accessible and compelling fashion as the reader is pulled forward by the mystery of Conner's condition and growing concern for his fate and that of this family. Although the drama is mostly small-scale, tension is maintained throughout. The description is sparing but evocative, and the plight of the characters is genuinely affecting. The reader is left with the feeling that one has gone on an emotional journey with the family. At times, some of the dialogue comes across as less than realistic, and the characters' reactions, especially at the beginning, can feel somewhat melodramatic. Overall, though, Fogan's novel is a gripping portrayal of one woman's descent into a domestic nightmare.

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