Over the Edge, by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group, 2011)
What if a man who watched his wife die of Lyme disease decided his best revenge was to infect the wives and children of the doctors and researchers who’ve convinced the insurance companies that there’s no such thing as chronic Lyme?
He starts with Jannie McNeil, wife of Dr. Brock McNeil, who is one of the loudest voices denying chronic Lyme. Her symptoms hospitalize her, but the standard Lyme test comes back negative. Her husband accuses her of faking, as if she’d make this up to discredit him.
An anonymous phone call tells her to convince Brock to recant his position on Lyme—or her nine-year-old daughter will be the next victim. Brock pulls farther away and thinks she made up the mystery caller too.
Over the Edge is a fast, compelling read. Jannie is a likeable and multi-layered character who’s trying to find out what’s happening to her, keep her family together, and protect her daughter.
What she (and readers) learn about the “Lyme wars” screams of injustice and wilful blindness on the part of traditional medical experts who stand to lose both face and funds if the true extent of Lyme were acknowledged.
I’m thankful not to have Lyme, but I’ve read enough from people who’ve experienced it to place myself on their side of the controversy. The author herself is a Lyme survivor and knows what she’s talking about.
But this isn’t an in-your-face, prove-my-point, sensationalist novel. It’s excellent suspense fiction with a heart-catching subplot about Jannie’s crumbling family relationships.
Jannie’s troubles bring her to a major crisis of faith, and she realizes she has a choice: to turn away from God or to praise Him despite her pain. Her decision to praise—in defiance of the circumstances—resonated with me from the times I’ve made that same hard choice.
The scope of the novel doesn’t allow readers to see how some of the loose ends weave in after the end, specifically Jannie’s relationship with her mother, and any repercussions from Brock’s research.
To read more about Over the Edge and to view the trailer, click here. To read an excerpt, click here. The book includes a discussion guide as well as extra Lyme information and resources. There’s also an online community at Lyme Over the Edge, where Lyme sufferers can share their stories.
You can learn more about award-winning suspense novelist Brandilyn Collins, her other books, and her own Lyme experience at her website, Seatbelt Suspense®.
[Review copy from my personal library.]