By Kem Nunn
Master storyteller Kem Nunn moves from the sun-spangled surf of his previous novels to the fog-shrouded alleys of San Francisco in this dark psychological thriller.
Like a landscape out of focus in the fog, nothing — and no one — is what it seems to be. The flawed hero of the story, Eldon J. Chance, is a forensic neuropsychiatrist, who usually sees his patients no more than once or twice. He evaluates their medical and psychiatric situations, offers a diagnosis and proposes a treatment plan. He is usually hired by attorneys and insurance companies as an expert witness and clinics, hospitals or other psychiatrists for second opinions.
Lately, he has been obsessing about past cases, ones where his patients experienced traumatic accidents or random acts of violence that have derailed their lives. His own life isn’t going so well, either. His wife is divorcing him for a personal trainer, the IRS is auditing him, his adolescent daughter is rebelling, the house he and his wife own isn’t selling and his bank account is draining like a cracked dam.
Then the attractive, blond Jacklyn Blackstone is referred to him. She believes she may have a split personality that is keeping her from ending her abusive marriage to Oakland Homicide Detective Raymond Blackstone. He sees a woman he might actually be able to help. A colleague warns him about not getting personally involved with a patient whose credibility has not yet been established.
For Chance, concern escalates to obsession. He meets Raymond Blackstone for the first time in a hospital where Jacklyn is awaiting surgery to repair a blunt force injury to her head. She claims she interrupted an intruder; Chance believes her husband hit her.
Step by step, Chance and Raymond Blackstone engage in a battle for Jacklyn Blackstone’s life. The stakes rise ever higher as Chance’s daughter is roughed up, his computer sabotaged just before a professional presentation and records of a past police encounter show up mysteriously proving to Chance that the perpetrator can make them show up wherever he wants to. Raymond has the status and resources of a law enforcement officer. Chance is outclassed — except for his alliance with D, a physically enormous psychopath with street smarts to spare. He shares some of Chance’s commitment to protecting the vulnerable.
This is a suspenseful, powerfully character-driven story you will hate to see come to an end.
The book was the basis of a Hulu series of the same name starring actor Hugh Laurie. Although rated as one of the best new shows of 2016, it was cancelled before a third series began.
About the Author: Kem Nunn
Nunn’s books have been described as “surf noir” for their surfing settings and dark themes. In addition to writing novels, he is a magazine and television writer. He collaborated with producer David Milch on the HBO Western drama series, Deadwood, the HBO series John from Cincinnati and a surfing series set in Imperial Beach, California. More recently, he worked on “Chance,” a TV series based on his novel of the same name.
He grew up in Pomona and Northern California. He didn’t go to college to study writing until he was nearly 30. He holds a master’s of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine.
In addition to Tapping the Source (1984), he has written Unassigned Territory (1986), Pomona Queen (1992), The Dogs of Winter (1997), Tijuana Straits (2004) and Chance (2014).