Jane Was Here
Grey Swan, Jun 14 2011, $24.95
The woman arrives in Graynier, Massachusetts calling herself Jane with no surname. She swears she has isolated memories of growing up in Graynier, but also vows she never set foot in the town until now. Jane rents a Victorian that she claims is her childhood house.
Website designer Brett Sampson and his ten year old son Collin are spending the summer together in Graynier so they can overcome their estrangement. However crafty cunning Collin has no interest in doing things with his dad and Brett likewise has little patience with his son. Instead Collin is fascinated with Jane and uses subterfuge to spend time with Indian Gita Poonchwalla who is nearer his age. The townsfolk also are intrigued by Jane and her claims until private investigator Dick Fancher insists Jane is the missing autistic Caroline Moss though some say no.
The key to this engaging tale is the small town residents who know each other as they (and readers) cannot resist the lure of who Jane is and how she knows intimate details about the somewhat isolated town. Jane is terrific as her confusion is addicting to the audience who want to know what is going on. The support cast makes the thriller work as they and we need to know whether Jane Was Here once before and what before connotes.