By Ekta R. Garg
March 6, 2019
Genre: Suspense; Christian fiction
Release date: March 1, 2019
Rated: Bordering on Bypass it / 2.5 stars
Strange occurrences remind a psychologist of a horrific event from her past, and she must deal with the post-traumatic stress. As she does so, she turns to her faith for guidance and also goes with her instinct to confront the incidents. Seasoned author Ginny L. Yttrup tries her hand at the suspense genre in the well-meaning but ultimately unsuccessful novel Convergence.
Dr. Denilyn Rossi spends her days teaching and working on her latest book about psychology. At least, she’s trying to do both. Eight years earlier, after her book about cyberbullying hit the bestseller list, Deni became a celebrity and the victim of a stalker. She suffered a brutal attack but survived and has spent every day since healing both inside and out.
Despite undergoing a divorce and changing jobs from practicing psychologist to the head of the psychology department at a university, Deni managed to pull her life back together. The man who attacked her is behind bars, and she’s well-respected and well-liked by colleagues and students. All seems to be moving in a positive direction, except for the fact that Deni can’t shake the feeling that someone is following her again.
At first she thinks the sensation is brought on by the upcoming anniversary of her attack and that her convicted attacker is up for parole. As a psychologist, she knows that both events can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. But the more she pays attention to the feeling, the more she realizes she may not just be experiencing stress.
Her close friends encourage her to seek guidance from her faith in God, and Deni does. She also reminisces about her friend, Adelia Sanchez. Years ago, Deni, Adelia, and two other good friends led whitewater rafting expeditions, until an accident made them leave the water. Memories of Adelia, of her failed marriage, and the life-changing encounter with the man who stalked her follow Deni everywhere she goes these days.
Her faith provides her solace, true, but she also knows she can’t just sit back and wait for circumstances to play out on their own. She believes she’s following God’s will by creating her own solution. Deni just doesn’t know if this time she’ll succumb to the danger.
Author Ginny L. Yttrup delves into the genre of suspense for the first time, but unfortunately her debut leaves much to be desired. The story flips between Deni in the present day, Deni in the past in the weeks leading up to her attack, and Adelia. The constant ping-ponging between timelines and characters will leave readers confused at times, despite Yttrup starting each chapter with the date and the character speaking. Early on Yttrup establishes Deni as the protagonist; however, Adelia’s portions come later in time than Deni’s, and readers won’t know until the last third of the book why the story was structured this way.
Successful suspense books depend on bursts of information followed by bursts of action; in the case of Convergence, Yttrup has taken a more thoughtful approach. This allows for readers to get to know Deni and to understand how she depends on her faith to get her through difficult times. In and of itself, this portion of the writing works well. Framed by a larger story that tries to be a suspense/thriller novel, the more introspective portions of the book just stick out. They slow down the story, and many readers may get impatient.
Yttrup also errs when it comes to releasing information; the characters in the book often know much more than readers do. Characters discuss important events without naming them, and readers will have to infer much of the information for a long time before they’re given confirmation. The cloak-and-dagger device only works for so long; after the halfway mark, it becomes tedious, as does the book.
Fans of Yttrup’s other work may want to pick this one up. It does a respectful job of showing how a person’s faith works organically within his or her life. Strictly as a suspense or thriller, though, the novel doesn’t work at all. I believe Convergence Borders on Bypassing it.