For a high-rev book of suspense, revenge, and debilitating suffering, Brandilyn has brought a new level of intrigue in her book, Over the Edge. It's a story about the Ã¢â¬ËLyme wars'-the majority of doctors not believing it's chronic, i.e., Janessa McNeil's husband, Dr. Brock McNeil; the doctors that are Lyme-literate; and ultimately, the Lyme patients still suffering and dying.
To force Dr. Brock McNeil to recant his stand publicly on Lyme, a deeply crazed, resentful man deliberately infects Janessa with Lyme, using several ticks smaller than a period (.) at the end of sentence, to expose him to the debilitating disease process. What the man didn't count on was the McNeil's rocky marital status, leaving little leverage for Janessa to change her husband's viewpoint. Problem was, this man planned to infect their daughter, Lauren, if the good Dr. wouldn't change his mind.
The story rests on the exhausting, crippling sickness of Janessa, the threatening phone calls, and her cold, callous, unbelieving husband. It's unbelievable that a disease can be so devastating. The everyday activities most take for granted, become excruciatingly difficult and sometimes impossible for her. Brandilyn poured her heart and soul into the descriptive ramifications of the disease. They take on a life of their very own. You're fighting to breathe right along with Janessa during her Ã¢â¬Ëair hunger.' The fear is palpable. The danger is real.
Yet through it all, as a new Christian, Janessa has to make a choice to trust God to work out the whole situation as she is extremely physically disabled. She basks in the truths she finds in the Psalms that lift her spirit and keep her hoping. She can't control the stalker or her straying husband, but God can handle both. He wants to do the same in your life.
If you have loved ones or friends (even possibly yourself) with Lyme, encourage them and invest your life in them as much as possible. Even be willing to advocate for them where possible. Don't be afraid to talk candidly with your doctor, possibly even taking the information provided by Brandilyn. The door to receiving treatment is still shut for many suffering from Lyme. This is a disease everyone must take seriously, as the repercussions are enormous.
This book was provided by B&H Fiction in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
I bought several of these books as Christmas presents--such an excellent read. She wrote a gripping mystery as well as opens your heart to understanding and compassion for people in this type of situation without you hardly realizing it. She's a favorite author of my family in general, but this book is one of her very best! LOVE IT!
Brandilyn Collins' novels are touted as Ã¢â¬Ëseatbelt suspense', and Over The Edge is no exception, with a unique twist.
Jannie McNeil is the wife of a renowned Lyme disease specialist. Or at least, what he calls LymeÃ¢â¬âaccording to the CDC's incredibly narrow definition. Brock McNeil is vocal in speaking out against those who say they suffer from chronic Lyme, something he doesn't believe exists.
Enter a bipolar man whose wife died from chronic Lyme and you have a recipe for a dramatic story that puts the life of Brock McNeil's wife and daughter in danger.
Soon Jannie McNeil falls incredibly ill with Lyme. But does Doctor Brock rush to her aid? No. He thinks she's faking.
I'll let you discover the ins and outs for yourself.
If you want to read a story about a man who realizes everything he believes is wrong, you need to prepare yourself.
If you want a story with a nice, typical (cheesy, boring) ending, you need to prepare yourself also.
Because this book will twist you up and spin you around.
Dramatic, and eye-opening, Over The Edge could easily be a True Story. All the stuff about the CDC, the medical insurance companies, the doctors who advocate either for or against chronic LymeÃ¢â¬âit's all true. And Brandilyn Collins knows it, because she lived it. Yes, I'm jumping on the band-wagon, (not because I met Ms. Collins at a Writers' Conference in February 2011, and she's a super nice lady). Ã¯ÂÅ
But because this book is just that compelling.
You really feel for Jannie as you watch her whole life systematically fall apart at the worst possible time. It's like everything bad that could happen, all happens simultaneously. By the end of act 1 I was thoroughly hooked. I've read someone call that feeling a Ã¢â¬ËPB&J night', because there's no way I'm putting this book down to make dinner. I'll remorselessly let them suffer reheating their own leftovers because my stomach is clenched, and my fingers flipping pages to find out what happens next.
The plot looks like a pretzel, and the characters will provoke in you at once both devotion and abject hatred because he's so stupid he doesn't realize what he's throwing away. But the one who steals your heart is the daughter, Lauren.
"Lauren plumped out her lips. "I see strange people every day. I'm in fourth grade.""
In portraying the way it feels to have chronic Lyme, Collins doesn't go overboard so you're left thinking, Ã¢â¬Ëokay, I get it, it sucks to have Lyme'. It's a realistic presentation because of Collins' own experience. There's no research that can replace the intimate knowledge that comes from actually having had the disease.
"Against the floor my cane made a hollow, indignant sound. The sound of my heart. My life."
"My brain was nothing but a hole-riddled pan trying to hold water."
Over The Edge uses a mix of first person (for the protagonist), and third person (for the police detective, and the antagonist), sounds weird, but it absolutely works. In fact, I found myself able to delve into Jannie's mind faster when I got to first person. Then when it switched with a scene or chapter break it made the bad guy's scene more eerie, because of the jolt.
Bad language: None.
Violence: a personal attack in the form of grabbing and shaking the person, and a gun-shot that kills. Neither explicit or overly gory.
Sexual content: implied in relationships, but nothing Ã¢â¬Ëon camera'.
A man unable to escape his bitter past conspires to subject medical researcher Dr. Brock McNeil and his family to the same torment he experienced - the reality of chronic Lyme Disease. Jannie McNeil becomes collateral damage of the Lyme Wars as the disease ravages her body and her mind, all while the chaos in her marriage to Brock likewise threatens to rip her world apart. Jannie's race to uncover the truth while trying to hold onto her sanity will leave you breathless.
Over the Edge gripped me from page one, from the chilling madman bent on making others suffer, to the haunting portrayal of Jannie's sudden decline from Lyme. As with all of Brandilyn's novels, the dialogue was crisp, the scenes were vivid, and I found my emotions swept up in the character's lives. Not only was the story highly entertaining, but I learned about a frightening disease I previously knew nothing about. I pray I don't cross paths with a tick any time soon. This book will stay on my mind for some time, not only as I empathize for those struggling with Lyme Disease, but as I also ponder my own faith and whether I will cling to God as Jannie did, praising him during the good times, and also should my own world fall apart. Highly Recommended. 5 of 5 stars.
Jannie McNeil is maliciously infected with Lyme disease and three coinfections. Her husband is an academic in the medical realm and promotes a short-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme. But there are some who experience long-term chronic Lyme symptoms. One such person was the wife of the man who infected Jannie. He watched his wife suffer and finally die because of misdiagnosis and then refusal of needed treatment. He figures if Brock McNeil's wife experiences chronic Lyme symptoms he'll change his mind and promote long-term care.
But Jannie's husband has other ideas. He has been having an affair and when Jannie gets sick, he thinks she is faking it to win his sympathy and have him come back to her. The situation only gets worse as their daughter is threatened. Can Jannie convince anyone she is really ill before it is too late?
While this is a work of fiction, Collins writes from her own experience. She was hit with Lyme in 2003. Many of Jannie's experiences were ones Collins experienced. Brock McNeil is fiction but represents a combination of researchers who still deny the existence of chronic Lyme as an active infection. The Lyme wars go back decades, Lyme-literate-doctors believing long term antibiotic treatment is effective while powerful groups, like the CDC, deny the existence of chronic Lyme as an active infection. As Collins explains in her afterward note, the testing for the disease as described in the novel is based on actual methods. Collins' note at the end of the novel is revealing. Be sure to read it. You'll find out that a great deal of the medical background in the novel is real. A shameful affair, politically tainted, one doctor says.
Collins says she wrote this novel to tell a good suspense story. But more than entertain, she wanted to shed light on this whole difficult issue.
Collins has written a great suspense novel. I highly recommend it. It will keep you reading late into the night.
I received an egalley from the publisher for the purpose of this review.