On the night that Shelly Buckner finally became a mother, she very nearly became a widow. Her husband, Eric, seriously injured in a car accident on the way to the hospital, was dead for a full eight minutes before being revived—all while Shelly was in labor. Those eight minutes changed everything Shelly thought was possible.
Three years later, their son, Toby, brings home an imaginary friend. But he’s no ordinary playmate—John Robberson is a fighter pilot and Vietnam vet. As Toby provides unlikely details about John’s life—and Toby’s tantrums increase—Shelly becomes convinced that John was real and now wants something from Toby. But her husband has his doubts, and as Shelly becomes involved, even obsessed, with finding out the truth, their marriage begins to disintegrate.
Torn between protecting her child and keeping the peace with her husband, Shelly desperately searches for a way to finally put John Robberson out of their lives.
A special thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
EIGHT MINUTES by Lori Reisenbichler is a haunting debut, a tale of one two families drawn together by higher forces for an intriguing twist of paranormal.
A happy normal family, Shelly and Eric anxiously awaiting the birth of their child. However, the night of delivery, Eric does not show. He in fact winds up in the same hospital after being seriously injured in a car accident on the way to the hospital. He was dead for eight minutes and those eight minutes drastically changed the course of their lives.
With much rehabilitation after the accident, Shelly begins noticing a change in personality with Eric. He is not the same man. Everything is different, from emotions, interests, and even sex. Shelly wants her husband back. Did his brain change in those eight minutes?
To further complicate matters, three years later, their son brings home an imaginary friend, named John. John is not a little boy, John Robberson is a fighter pilot and Vietnam Vet. Toby is very specific when describing his friend, a man.
The presence of John is strong, and his pull becomes more apparent each day and Shelly is obsessed with finding out the truth. Her marriage is falling apart and she desperately wants to protect her child. She wants her life back and her family. She wants John gone. Could John be real, and could he have anything to do with the eight minutes Eric was dead?
The story began as a family drama and slowly turned to more of a reincarnation or supernatural element, without the mystery. While I kept reading to find out what would happen next, not sure I was invested in the characters, especially Eric- felt a little removed. Being I am not a fan of paranormal, not sure I would have chosen the title. However, those who enjoy supernatural or fantasy may enjoy-- would not necessarily classify this one as women’s fiction - a mix across several genres.
The novel proposes many thoughts. What happens to us after death is perhaps the greatest mystery of life. One belief is that we reincarnate; that there is life, after life.