Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Now by Kelly Sinclair

Publisher:      Blue Feather Books

In the Now is about past life regression, reincarnation and the irresponsible behavior that scientists can sometimes engage in when they follow the challenge to see if they can do something instead of considering the consequences.

Psychiatrist Carla Turner is asked by a close friend to help his drug company test a new unapproved medication on one of her patients.  The medicine is intended for people with substance abuse problems and it’s supposed to make it easier to hypnotize the patient so that a suggestion can be planted in his subconscious to help him overcome the addiction.  Carla chooses her favorite patient Amy Duran to experiment on and there is a startling resolution to the session.  Amy is regressed to a past life where she was Isao Watanabe, a Japanese World War II veteran, and, when she comes out of the hypnosis, Amy is dormant and Isao is living in her body.  That leads to a scramble by the drug company and the doctors to find a way to bring Amy back.  Instead the two personalities merge and an entirely different person is created.  Imagine a drug that would let you visit your previous lives and pick the personality you would like to live as.  Carla is horrified by the idea and only hopes to regain Amy, who was always very important to her.  The drug company however sees a chance to make a fortune on an opportunity and doesn’t want anyone standing in its way.

If In the Now doesn’t have you evaluating your personal beliefs as you read it, you’re not reading it correctly.  Sinclair questions society’s preconceived ideas about religion, reincarnation, and the roles of men and women.  Ethical problems abound in this book.  There are the doctors and scientists who irresponsibly pursue this drug as a puzzle to be solved without considering the consequences.  There is the drug company which wants to make a risky product available to make money.  The biggest dilemma however concerns the rights of the individual.  How do you regulate what someone may find out about his previous life and deal with the reaction?  Suppose you regress and discover that you were Attila the Hun, the Marquis de Sade or Adolf Hitler?  Suppose you spend this life with a prejudice against another religion or race or gender and then discover that you were a member of that group in a past life?  What is the ethical situation of erasing one life to substitute it with another or of blending lives together to create a new entity?

It should be clear by now that Kelly Sinclair does more than simply tell a story.  The story is there, of two women who are attracted to each other, haven’t acted on that attraction because of professional reasons and then find the opportunity taken away from them by an unintended consequence.  The most interesting part of the story is when Isao emerges and recounts the experiences of his life, which is then followed by a Japanese man and an American woman from different generations trying to find a way to coexist in the same body.  The twists and turns all of the characters go through to attempt to resolve these issues will keep the reader’s mind challenged and entertained.

The one fault in the book is the head-hopping that it does.  At times it can be difficult to tell which character’s head the reader is inside and this gets worse towards the end of the book.  Some sections could have been expanded a bit to allow for development, but unlike figuring out which character you’re listening to, the gaps in the characters and plot aren’t a serious issue.  

In the Now is a different type of book.  Those who have read Kelly Sinclair’s other books expect a story that is entertaining and that makes your brain work considering new possibilities.  They won’t be disappointed in this story.  Don’t be afraid to have to work a little with this book.  It’s worth it.

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