Forge, May 2008, $14.95
In 2002 Los Angeles, pregnant genetic researcher Julia Huntington searches for the gene that makes someone become a remorseless killer. However Julia’s life collapses when she learns her spouse Klaus loves her best friend; she becomes despondent and angry. She also knows she can kill with no remorse having done so in Afghanistan.
In 1849 Julia’s great-grandmother, Lavinia was a young woman living in Ireland when she was assaulted; she stabbed her attacker feeling no remorse. In 1860 she was chosen to be the wife of three decade older amateur anthropologist Colonel James Huntington. Lavinia was given no choice in the matter. However, when she learns the secret that her spouse hid from she becomes despondent and angry.
The fun in this engaging psychological horror thriller lies with the comparative analysis of the two eras; especially enlightening are biological theory, criminology, and psychology in 1860 vs. 2008. The audience will enjoy following the escapades of the abusive remorseless couples although the rotating viewpoints between the two women feel disruptive at times, not enabling the reader to get deep into the hearts of either lead female or their “abusive” spouses. Still psychological horror fans will enjoy Tobsha Learner’s look at the souls of two female relatives a century and a half apart as the author raises the argument that civilization’s nurturing can impede or enhance the core individual’s DNA blueprint depending on circumstances.