In A Brief Lunacy by Cynthia Thayer, Carl and Jessie are a married couple who, after raising their children and retiring from their jobs, have settled in a cabin in the woods. They spend their time painting and enjoying each otherís company, though their comfortable little world is often disrupted by their first-born daughter, Sylvie, who has a mental illness that, though never described as such, is probably schizophrenia.
Carl and Jessie have just been notified that Sylvie has run away from yet another group home when they get a visitor at their door. Heís a young man who says his name is Jonah and that he was camping when all of his gear was stolen. Feeling sorry for the young man, the couple gives him dinner and allows him to sleep on their couch for the evening with the understanding he will call for a ride in the morning. However, the next day, Carl and Jessieís world collapses when Jonah turns out to be someone other than a lost camper and he holds them both at gunpoint.
Throughout their imprisonment, secrets come out about Carlís past that he has been keeping from Jessie and the rest of his family for more than fifty years. Will Carl and Jessie ever escape from the unbalanced Jonah? And even if they, will their relationship ever be the same?
This slim novel packs a powerful punch. Not only is it a gripping psychological thriller, but it is also a tender lover story about the strength of a marriage and how two people who truly love each other can get through almost anything together. Thayer does an admirable job of blending suspense with love story, making A Brief Lunacy not only a quick, pulse-pounding read, but also one that touches your heart and stays with you long after youíve finished the last page.