The Between by Tananarive Due – A Review

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between

“Sometimes the dead go unburied.”


We’ve now sliding down the downslope of this year’s women of genre fiction reading challenge. No, no! I don’t mean that I’ll be giving The Between a bad review. Far from it. What I mean is that this is book #7 out of twelve. More than half way done!

The Between is Tananarive Due’s first novel, published in 1995. Its protagonist is Hilton James who, as a young boy, almost drowns, but is rescued by his grandmother. The undertow takes her instead. James is adopted by an aunt and uncle and, once grown, marries a woman named Dede and has two children, Jamil and Kaya. The book opens (after the prologue where we learn about James’ near-death experience) with Dede being elected the first African American judge of Dade County, Florida. Hilton is a successful drug counselor. All’s well that ends well, right?

Yeah, not so much. Dede is receiving racist hate mail from someone she once prosecuted and Hilton is having nightmares, nightmares that steadily grow worse and cause James to question reality.

The Between is a creepy, haunting tale. I really loved coming along with Hilton on his descent into madness as his dreams become ever more intense and his obsession with protecting his family from their stalker grows worse. I felt so bad for him as well as Dede and their children, who could only watch as he slips further away from them.

While the book is predictable in places, Due’s prose is lovely, she has a marvelous attention to detail, and the tale sucked me in deeply. Due created such strong characters in the James family; I loved them all and was hoping all through my read that everything would work out for them. The secondary characters are strong, too. Hilton’s therapist Raul is a smart, interesting man as is his brother Andres, who delivers the reveal of what’s most likely happening with Hilton James, an explanation that works for me.

If you like psychological horror, I highly recommend The Between.

4.25/5

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