Vestige by Monique Gliozzi is a breezy read with strong psychological hints. It follows two key characters: Dr. Maxwell Stein and Olivia. Dr. Stein is a highly skilled child psychologist in New York, and just when he is about to take a most needed vacation, a visit from the past threatens everything. He is unsure of what to think about when his former patient, Olivia resurfaces. She offers a gift that is disturbing, a message that intensely troubles Dr. Stein’s mind and drives him towards the precipice of insanity. His family watches in utter helplessness as his life teeters towards a psychological brink. Can he regain the lucidity he once experienced or is there no hope for the psychologist?
This is a well-plotted, thoughtful novel about mental health and the author brilliantly explores the mindscapes of the characters, allowing readers vivid glimpses into their troubled worlds and creating a fascinating link between the present and the past. The use of diary entries infuses the writing with the intimate experience of the characters, making them both vulnerable and genuine, and they are characters that readers will surely relate to. Olivia captured my attention in a unique way, at once mysterious and troubled, a woman who has unusual encounters with the dead. The strong and frightening sense of place, the elaborate and detailed writing, and the brilliantly rendered inner worlds of the key characters make this novel a riveting tale. The pacing might but slow, but Vestige packs a punch that will stir strong emotions and make readers ask serious questions. It is engaging with rock-solid characters and an intelligently handled conflict.