Tessa Young is obsessed with labyrinths, so obsessed that she's made it her life calling and becoming an architect in order to create them. Alone in the world, she has some vague recollections of her father - most of them center on a labyrinth, but no matter how hard she tries, she cannot remember exactly what the labyrinth had to do with him. Because of her emotional problems since her father died, and especially after her mother died a few years after, she's been seeing the same psychiatrist, a man who has become a friend to her as well. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to help her either, and she continues to be plagued with horrifying dreams.
Her current project is renovating a labyrinth that is part of a larger estate owned by a world-famous celebrity and his beautiful wife. He wants total anonymity, however, so she is not allowed to talk about the project except to her co-workers. One man in particular whom she will be working with is someone from her past. She loved Smith Chandler once, but he betrayed her and she never forgave him. However, the attraction is still there. Both she and Smith still have feelings for each other, but Tessa can't get past her distrust of him. She's doing the project mainly because it is what she loves doing, not because heís involved. But Smith brings back the past sheís tried to run away from, and she has a hard time letting go of those feelings.
What the two of them and their colleagues do not know is that something or someone out there wants to hurt them and wants to make sure this new property isnít built. Tessa thinks this danger is coming to her in her dreams, a danger so frightening that she needs help from her psychiatrist, although he's miles away. She calls him up for help to talk it through, but he begins to wonder if Tessa is having a breakdown. Smith doesn't trust this psychiatrist and thinks he's at the root of all her problems. On the other hand, Smith isn't sure that he can believe that Tessa's fears are real, but he still wants to be there for her. All Tessa knows is that she feels a presence, an evil that has followed her since her earliest memories, and she begins to fear for her life.
The Edge of Recall is one of the best Christian suspense novels I've read in a long time. I will rank Kristen Heitzmann up there with Athol Dickson, whose writing I greatly admire. Her style is quite different from his, but the quality is the same. Her characters are realistic, the story well thought out. Basically, I couldn't put the book down - it would make a fantastic movie if done right and will interest almost any reader. I was so wrapped up in the mystery of who was trying to kill Smith and Tessa and excited about the idea of whether she was seeing ghosts who were trying to kill her or was really having a breakdown, as her psychiatrist suggested. The author makes both premises believable, because the reader is able to feel what Tessa is feeling.
I was also intrigued by Tessaís psychiatrist and enjoyed putting the pieces together to decide whether he was actually trying to hurt her as Smith suspected, or whether he had other motives. I appreciated the authorís attention to detail, and while I enjoyed reading the book I also delighted in learning about labyrinths. And with her attention to detail, I could easily picture everything in my mind. Heitzmann has the talent of painting a picture with words and mixing it up with some good action-packed suspense.
An important element of the book is Tessaís obsession with labyrinths and how it ties in with her religious convictions. The labyrinths are used as prayer walks, although Tessa has lost the ability to pray to God because she feels heís not listening to her or answering her prayers. Through Smith, she begins to regain her confidence in God, learning to understand the power of prayer and finding her way back to God. While I am not a religious person, none of this comes across as preachy in any way. It is all written in a natural way, showing different aspects of these characters without pushing religion on the reader.
The Edge of Recall is a book that was done right and I will definitely read more by this author again. Itís exciting, fast-paced, with details that give credibility. Highly recommended.