Picks and Pans Review: Cold Heaven

updated 09/26/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/26/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Brian Moore

A young woman, who as a child attended a convent school in Montreal, is vacationing with her husband in the South of France. She has been troubled for a year about a vision she saw in Carmel, Calif., but which she has never discussed with anyone. She wants to leave her husband, but she is unable to tell him she loves another man. They take a paddleboat out into the ocean, and while he is swimming he is struck by a motorboat. Doctors in the French hospital tell her that her husband is dead, but when she goes to claim him the next morning, the body has disappeared. Is her husband dead or alive? Did he know that she has fallen in love again? She returns to California, where she discovers an order of nuns just like those who had taught her when she was a child. She feels as if they are controlling her lifeā€”even though she refuses to believe in the church or in visions. This novel about religion and superstition is a marvelous suspense story. Moore, the author of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Emperor of Ice Cream and a dozen other exceptional novels, is a master at making the ambivalent seem perfectly clear and exact. Cold Heaven is both chilling and compelling. (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $14.95)

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