Author: Caitlin Sumer and Bill Shears
Page Count: 215 pages (pdf review copy)
Genre: paranormal mystery/thriller
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
Synopsis: With their long relationship on the verge of collapse, security consultant Frank and psychologist Holly team up as paranormal investigators. A teacher at an old private girls’ school in The Bronx, NY, has been severely injured. Was it a suicide attempt or is the teacher’s double causing trouble? Frank and Holly sort the eerie from the merely strange.
Content Warning: This story contains elements, including an attempted suicide, that may be troubling or triggering for some readers. Discretion is advised.
Paranormal is one of those genres that can be fused with just about any other with generally positive results. It allows for concepts and ideas to be combined in new ways while never eliminated plain old white bread everyday phenomena from causing an event or series of events. The Doppelganger Song uses this notion extensively and the end result is a mystery that takes its time in revealing each of its many details and secrets.
Psychologist Dr. Holly and her security consultant paramour, Frank, are an unlikely team of investigators. They've been romantically involved for eleven years (never married, though, don't make the mistake of assuming) and both are secretly wondering if it might be time to pack it in. When Holly is asked to consult on a case by a, let's call her a friend, Dr. Rose Steiner, she and Frank work the case together, combining his investigative skills with her psychological knowledge.
The case is a complex one- a young teacher, Emma, is in Bellevue after going out the window at the boarding school where she lives and works. The police are satisfied that it was a suicide attempt, and indeed, in the moments leading up to the actual fall, Emma was contemplating suicide- her life was going nowhere, the guy she thought she was madly in love with has dumped her like yesterday's news, and this seemed like the only way out. The thing is, she backed away from the ledge, but somehow ended up on the ground and in the hospital anyway. Who pushed her? Was she pushed? Is there anything to investigate here at all?
Dr. Steiner thinks there is, and that's where Holly and Frank come in. Strange things have been happening at the school, including other people having seen someone, or something, that looks exactly like Emma on the school grounds. A doppelganger by definition is a ghostly double or a twin; therefore the paranormal connection becomes evident.
The story is twisty and layered, and is an investigation on the part of the reader. The details are there, but admittedly they do require a lot of digging to uncover. Everyone has secrets. I literally mean everyone, as even our intrepid investigative duo have some things that they need to share with one another, and the sooner, the better. Their relationship is up in the air and remains so throughout the story, which was an interesting and unique element. Typically you see a couple that's either steadfast and committed, thoroughly broken up, or broken up and considering reconciliation; I don't recall any other story where I've come across a leading couple in that gray pre-breakup-but-then-maybe-not area.
The Doppelganger song isn't a police procedural, and it isn't a rip 'em tear 'em thriller. It takes its time getting from point A to point B and isn't afraid to make some stops in between, but if the reader stays focused and true to the end, it's definitely worth getting to.
Caitlin Sumer has offered up a Smashwords coupon for a free digital copy of The Doppelganger Song in the winner's choice of formats! To enter, just fill out the form below. Then, be sure to leave a comment on the July 1st Why Read Indie Books? post for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card! Make sure to leave that comment in the correct place so your entry can be counted.