If Déjà vu is a feeling of having seen something before, then what is Jamais vu? Author Monique O’Connor James plays with the idea very effectively in this novel of life after a near-death experience. After rushing towards the light, Darby Lambert awakes hearing voices in the ambulance, struggles through a hospital stay and recovery, and tries to pick up her life. But she can’t remember the day of the accident, doesn’t know why it happened, and, most importantly, doesn’t know why she’s survived.
First person writing gives a pleasing sense of immediacy to this tale, creating the character of Darby very effectively. A good sense of timing moves the story quickly towards Darby picking up the threads of her new life while haunting dreams pull her down. It took a while for me to realize how long these dreams had been going on, and quite how scary they were. But soon the reader’s on a roller-coaster ride as Darby tries to save lives only to find friends refusing to listen and a cruel inevitability meeting her at each turn. Meanwhile monsters chase her.
Searching for someone who’ll just listen and believe her, Darby wanders from nurse to psychiatrist to friend, building new relationships then watching them fall apart from lack of trust. Perhaps it’s the story of her life. Perhaps it’s the story of her life before—if only she could remember, before what.
The writing is smooth, consistent, and very evocative. The plot is truly different. The mystery is involving. And the denouement will leave you wondering in a pleasing sort of way. I was almost disappointed to realize there’s a sequel—the story felt satisfyingly, if confusingly complete. But I’ll probably look out for Déjà vu one day since I enjoyed this novel so much.
Disclosure:I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review. I’m only sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it.