The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne is a symphony of pain.
Alexandra "Cat" Rucker has buried her memories in an alcoholic haze for all of her adult life, but the suicide of her brutalized mother brings her home to avoid or face the future.
The complex threads of her life are woven around the cryptic note left by her mother.
"Cat, He isn't who you think he is." Who is the "he?"
Is it her father? Her teenage lover? Her bother? The son she gave birth to and abandoned?
Abuse both sexual and physical leaves many scars and grows twines like a deadly snake around the lives of everyone it touches. What saves this title from being a travesty of malignancy is the powerful writing style of debut author Teri Coyne.
The story itself reminds me of Michaela Jefferies's, Grasping for Love, which is a non-fiction title by a victim of sexual abuse. I have met Michaela and watched her struggle against a past she can never forget.
Cat doesn't forget her past either, and it takes many months to find her way to a tentative understanding of who "he" is or was. With fiction there is a grain of hope buried in the final pages for Cat's recovery. A graphic read that is not comfortable, but it is enlightening. Teri Coyne has a profound voice and a superb story for a debut novel.
You can learn more about Teri at http://www.tericoyne.com/. The Last Bridge will be on sale July 28, 2009.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.