NAL, Jan 2004, 12.95, 272 pp.
Frannie met JP years ago at a New Orleans music festival and surprisingly married him not long afterward. The Colorado resident relocated to Bayou Country. Over half her life spent here, she and JP they raised two children.
After calling her father on his sixty-ninth birthday in which he sounded depressed, Frannie worries about him being alone. The next day she thinks something happened to him only to learn he committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage. Over the objections of her Los Angeles based brother, Frannie insists his body be buried in Tennessee where his sister still lives. As Frannie begins to uncover her dad's life to understand why he killed himself, she learns more about herself in the process, leaving JP to worry about their future together.
BACK BEFORE DARK is an insightful look at the aftermath of suicide on survivors. The various family members react to the death differently, but all are affected. Readers especially see Frannie's external spin turn quite introspective as if she wonders if that is all there is in life. Though somber, Frannie makes the tale not turn maudlin as she deals with what would bring her personal satisfaction in this fine character study.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner