Plot Type: Supernatural Horror/Mystery
Ratings: Violence—4; Sensuality—3; Humor—1
Publisher and Titles: Orbit (4/2016)
Jess Moulson awakens in a hospital room with no memories of her recent past only to learn that she is under arrest for (and soon convicted of) setting a fire in her apartment that killed a young boy named Alex Beech and injured her boyfriend, John. Jess is a long-time substance abuser, and she was high on heroin at the time of the fire. With no memory of the fire, Jess comes to believe the accusations against her and is wracked with guilt over being the cause of Alex's death. Days before entering Fellside, Jess begins a hunger strike, sentencing herself to death through starvation. But then Alex's ghost saves Jess's life after a malevolent prison nurse nearly kills her. Alex tells Jess that she is not the person who killed him and that he will not allow her to die until she helps him find his real murderer. While Jess tries to sort out her memories of the fire and her feelings about Alex, she ends her hunger strike and is placed in the general population (aka gen pop) of the prison.
As Grace explores Alex's Other World, she discovers how her nighttime walks with him involve the memories of the other prisoners. "Fellside at night, through the eyes of the dead, was like the first day of creation. The waters had been divided but darkness still lay on then...But this wasn't water she was walking through. It was lives…She was circumnavigating the dreams of the women of Goodall wing. She saw what they saw on the inside of their closed eyelids, except that each of them only saw their own dreams, while Jess saw them all, was drenched and deluged by them." Eventually, Jess begins to realize that Alex is not who she thought he was, and she is forced to rethink her all of her memories—from her childhood all the way up to the events of her recent past.
For me, the weakest part of the novel comes towards the end, when things get very woo-woo as the author resolves the story line involving Grace's bodyguard, Liz Earnshaw, and takes Jess to her ultimate fate. (Disappointingly, Liz's motives for her long-ago crime are never made entirely clear.)