Walker, Sue 1960–
Walker, Sue 1960–
PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, William Morrow & Company, 10 E. 53rd St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Novelist and investigative journalist. Worked for British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, formerly on staff of news and current-affairs department.
The Reunion (thriller novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Fidra's Archive, Gardners Books, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Novelist and television journalist Sue Walker is the author of The Reunion, a thriller that explores how terrible events from the past have cast a shadow over the outwardly successful adulthood of the story's characters. The book, which Library Journal reviewer Jane la Plante called a "cleverly plotted novel," relates the deeply troubled past and tainted present of a group of former teen psychiatric patients living in Edinburgh, Scotland. During the 1970s, the eight teenagers were treated in an experimental psychiatric facility called The Unit. In 1977, however, a horrific event during an ostensibly therapeutic camping trip near Loch Fyne scarred their minds and lives, and created a bond between them that neither time nor distance can break. "Walker shows her characters as deeply troubled kids and as variously disturbed adults plagued by guilty memories of a camping trip gone wrong," observed a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
The story begins in the present when former Unit patient Innes Haldane receives a telephone message from friend and former Unit patient Isabella "Abby" Velasco. Innes does not immediately return the call, but shortly thereafter she learns that Abby is dead from an apparent suicide. Unconvinced that Abby would have killed herself, she leaves her job in London to investigate. Innes discovers that before Abby's death, she had started dating another Unit graduate, Danny Rintoul. Danny, however, is now also a suspected suicide. Innes then finds out about another Unit member who nearly perished in a fire that left her husband and children dead. Other plotlines involve two more former Unit members: Alex Baxendale, a cold and calculating stockbroker who is fighting to keep from revealing his knowledge of the past, and Dr. Simon Caldwell, who is searching for his kidnapped daughter. Meanwhile, Innes must discover whether the events of decades ago are in any way responsible for the increasing number of deaths happening now.
In a text that combines flashbacks between past and present, along with case notes, letters, therapists' observations, and newspaper reports, the story of the terrible day in 1977, and its long-term effects on the young men and women who were there, is pieced together. La Plante called The Reunion a "compelling story" and "a suspenseful, satisfying read," while Booklist reviewer Jennifer Mattson concluded that "this first novelist peels back the layers with confidence and polish."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Reunion, p. 1908.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of The Reunion, p. 776.
Library Journal, October 1, 2004, Jane la Plante, review of The Reunion, p. 74.
Publishers Weekly, September 20, 2004, review of The Reunion, p. 45.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (October 23, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Reunion.