Fiction presents a unique opportunity to learn in depth from other people’s pain, mistakes, and triumphs of spirit. That’s especially true when the author is a renowned psychotherapist. Certain concepts are most effectively expressed in metaphor, the natural language of fiction.
Rebecca is scared. Apartments have blast-proof windows in the year 2043. It’s dangerous for people to congregate. Schools are virtual, sporting events and concerts are played in empty venues with holographic fans. She feels vindictive, like she might hurt someone.
Her mother has told comforting stories of the grandmother Rebecca never knew, “a gentle soul, without a vindictive bone in her body.” To feel safe, she tries to link her spirit to her grandmother, who died mysteriously in 1999. Experiencing her grandmother’s death and afterlife, she discovers that a little bit of all of us is in each of us.
With the spirit of her grandmother, Rebecca occupies the minds of would-be violent perpetrators, struggling to maintain her humanity, and uncover theirs.
A Man Who Thinks He Knows Who Really Killed the President: An American Saga
What happens when the scars of the country become personal? When a man takes on the sins of the nation, what does he become? What might he do?
A Man Who Thinks He Knows Who Really Killed the President: An American Saga weaves time threads spanning 86 years, centering on the Kennedy promise and its loss. George narrates in 2033, but most of the action centers on the Kennedy years and its doubts about race, justice, safety, and the future.
Above the storm of distorted reality and imagination rises an interracial love that endures nervous breakdown and a crippling car accident. While George tries to subvert the conspiracy to murder the President, Madeline transcends handicaps of childhood trauma, years of wheelchair confinement, and constant cultural bigotry. Their connection persists well after her death in this allegorical tale of how public events and prejudices shape individual psychology and vice versa.
Henry-Henry, Shadows & Light
We have to struggle to maintain a sense of humanity in modern times. It’s a struggle that creates inner voices of conflict and covert guilt and shame. In most of us, these voices are faint. In some, they bellow.
What happens when interior dialogue, familiar to us all, is amplified and magnified by grave mistakes and by trauma?
A fallen priest with a dual personality gives up his humanity, amid delusion, child abuse, and murder.
Henry One is the reclusive narrator. Henry Two has a job, lives in the real world, and wants to be normal. Flashbacks of Henry One as Roman Catholic priest show that normal isn’t possible. At the brink of oblivion, when the Henrys can retreat no more, they begin a dangerous journey, pursuing a child sex trafficker. Until, at last, they find their humanity.
Psychotherapist Stosny’s (Soar Above, 2016, etc.) first foray into fiction is a dark thriller following a man who, despite an iffy grasp on reality, hunts sex traffickers.
Henry One isn’t merely hearing a voice in his head as shrinks have suggested. He’s sharing his body with Henry Two. The latter has a life outside the apartment, while One has been a recluse for the last 10 years since his superiors at Our Lady of Good Counsel asked him to leave the priesthood. The personalities argue constantly. When Two mocks One for his earlier, agonizing experience at the church, One tries to kill him. Doctors, of course, consider it a suicide attempt and send Henry to the Saints of Mercy Mission, a home for former clergy with mental health issues. Tensions decrease between the personalities, and though their collective reality is gradually unraveling inside the mission, they’re both anxious when they hear about its imminent closure. Being outside for the first time in two decades, however, gives them a chance to concentrate on what’s tangible, especially strange new technologies like iPhones and Google. But they discover their true focus when reading about sex-trafficking operations involving children. Convinced the ringleaders have multiple personalities, One and Two think they can help the FBI find them. Stosny’s integration of dual personalities into the storyline helps the novel stand out, and the disorder becomes more than just a convenient plot device. Readers, for example, may forget Two isn’t actually there; characters often note Henry’s tendency to say “we” when referring to himself; and from Henry One’s perspective, Two genuinely snatches a torn magazine out of his hands. Outside forces typically spur the plot twists. The story gets gloomier and more harrowing in the final act, but narrator Henry One provides slivers of light throughout with a cynical but earnest voice: “Reality is a lot harder than I imagined.” Stosny’s typically dry descriptions provide a counterpoint to the plot’s somber content, like simply noting a children’s toothpaste commercial that follows a TV report on child sex-trafficking victims.
The lead’s dual personality gives readers two absorbing characters, regardless of who can or can’t see them. $3.99
Stories of distorted time and blurred reality amid the endless struggle to maintain a sense of humanity.
At the moment of death, a man imagines his fading life.
Ponsel and Indians
A middle-aged white man decides to become an Indian and attack the Capitol Building with flaming arrows.
McGovern Gives Her Virginity to God
A Catholic School adolescent confronts sexual and spiritual obsession.
Wounds of the Renaissance
For some, the world turns too fast.
White Horse Black Horse
What if you committed a sin so grave you had to relive it forever? That’s the plight of three generations of male family members living in an isolated beach house. It’s a hot December, a few thousand years after the great nuclear war – or before it – the characters aren’t sure which, as they struggle, often comically, for a way to balance good and evil. The narrator is the older son, who survives by making his life run on mind-numbing autopilot. His brother has two horses, which he rides in the sand, with one leg on each like an acrobatic circus performer. Their world is turned upside down by the arrival of a young woman, who shows a way to break the treadmill of their lives. She inadvertently heightens the tension between the brothers, revealing the darkness, shadows, and light of being human.