‘Threshold,’ by G.M. Ford

Fenene looked even bigger indoors than he had in that alley. Like being in a phone booth with a freezer.

Not a book that will make a fan out of me, Threshold by G.M. Ford is nevertheless a very well-written mystery novel, offering many pleasures. I’ve become pretty shameless at discarding books I disagreed strongly with in recent years, but I stuck with this one (perhaps because I’m tightening my belt these days), and I don’t really regret it.

Grace Pressman is a beautiful albino with a mystical gift. In some cases, she can bring people back to consciousness from deep comas. The problem is that she’s not always sure she did them a favor. On top of that, she dislikes the limelight, and so she keeps hidden. This is also advisable in that she assists her mother in running a shelter for battered women. Right now, they’re even conspiring to break the law – hiding a bipolar woman and her daughters from a powerful husband who is rich enough to get custody in spite of evidence that he’s been abusing the girls.

Meanwhile Detective Mickey Dolan, just returned to work after a divorce and temporary suspension, is assigned to find the fugitive mother and her children. When he meets Grace and learns the true story, he’ll be faced with a crisis of integrity, one that forces him to choose between his career and freedom, and his soul.

Threshold was a compelling mystery with a (possible) touch of the supernatural. It worked very well. The writing was classic hard-boiled of the highest quality. Author Ford did a good job, I thought, portraying his (mostly liberal) heroes as flawed human beings. He was less successful (I thought) with his villains, who are generally crude stereotypes of right-wingers.

I imagine Ford wouldn’t want someone like me for a fan anyway, so I won’t read more of his books. But I will say that Threshold was an extremely well-written novel. Cautions for language and disturbing themes.

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