A Heartbeat Away, by Harry Kraus was an interesting read, from a unique perspective.
Tori Taylor is an oncology surgeon, who has been given a heart transplant. From the moment she wakes up from surgery, her life begins to take twists and turns. The person she was prior to surgery changes, as far as emotions and warmth is concerned. Immediately upon waking up she remembers the nightmare she had, before being given medication for pain.
She has always been a cold person, and one that her peers, friends and others, could not get close to, emotionally speaking. She thrived on this, felt in control, and often became verbally abusive to the hospital staff members. Due to her verbal harassment, she was more or less put on probation, and told to recuperate and not return to work for three months.
During her time recovering, her nightmares become intense, violent and she begins to feel as if the people in her nightmare are trying to tell her something, especially one person named Dakota. The nightmares are not only real, but border on memories, repressed or otherwise, meaning “transplant memories”. The nightmare events start to take hold on her, and through much investigation, she finds out about her donor. From there the story unfolds in more dramatic fashion, transcending realms of Being.
I can not say much more regarding the story line without revealing the plot and outcome. You will have to read it for yourself.
What I will say is this: A Heartbeat Away will leave you with questions. I found myself questioning the idea, never mind the reality, of “transplant memories”. The idea doesn’t seem far-fetched to me. It would be like me remembering something from an ancestor’s past from one hundred or more years ago, under the label of “genetic memory”. The only difference is that the memories are not passed along genetic lines, but rather through lines of organ transplantation.
Faith is a strong theme within the pages, especially regarding religion and science. Can the two exist companionably within one’s spiritual realm? You tell me. I have my own theory. As far as the faith angle is concerned, a lot of it put me off. I feel the story would have been better without it, or with less of it, but understand why the author infused it in the book.
A Heartbeat Away, by Harry Kraus is a story with an unusual twist. I felt that he managed to delve into the emotional versus logical aspect quite expertly. If I were to rate the novel, I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.