The Recipient by Dean Mayes

The Recipient by Dean Mayes
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (416 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Casey Schillinge is a vivacious young woman on the verge of making her mark on the world. While backpacking, she is struck down by a tropical disease and suffers cardiac failure. But at the eleventh hour, Casey receives a life-saving heart transplant – and a rare second chance to begin again.

Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare.

Imagine the suspense that is behind the whole idea of the transference of knowledge or preferences going from the donor to the recipient. Isn’t that enough to peak your interest? The book title, the cover and the blurb all sparked my interest. From the blurb I thought perhaps the book had paranormal elements to it but once I saw that Casey Schillinge had visions in her nightmare and during the hypnosis is how she was able to see her donor’s last few moment alive.

The opening chapter was written with such care and detail that I couldn’t help but feel for the family in their time of distress. From chapter two until about 100 pages into the book it fell flat for me. It was a chore to make myself continue reading. I stuck with it and my hopes for the book to pick up and get better were not in vain. Once the book grabbed my interest again it didn’t take long for me to finish the book.

I really enjoyed the book and I am so glad that I didn’t give up on it. This is a book that has a very interesting plot with an original idea that started my imagination going. This wasn’t a predictable read and I was in suspense until the author revealed the finale.

For some reason in the back of my mind I kept wondering why it took Casey three years after receiving the donor heart to have these intense nightmares? Why did she choose to not seek help and opted to suffer alone? The Casey that was first introduced appeared too distant and isolated. For her to be so young she didn’t have any friends from school or her childhood to socialize with that kept in touch after her ordeal. But I guess the isolation was part of the preferences from the donor. I was happy to see by the end of the book she was a much stronger sociable and likable person. I enjoyed her determination once she had her mind set to resolve what happened to her donor. Her confusion and drive picked up the pace and gave the book life. I felt it odd that her and her mother did not get along and her dad seemed to be in between the two.

The writing is smooth with few edit oversights. The plot is excellent, even though it took a little long to get there. The characters were okay. I didn’t get any type of good or bad connection where as the story came to an end they would remain on my mind. However, I did wonder if the idea about the immigrants and what they were faced with could really have happened.

This would be a suggested recommendation for those that enjoy a ‘heart’ pounding tale filled with plenty of suspense and surprises.

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