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The dreams would start with the high-pitched sound of a child crying, and with that would come the cold, frosting the windows of the old barracks room in the 47th Division at West Point. Cadet Barstow would wake then, and the gray shape would be there, the llights of its eyes shining on them with infinite sadness. Barstow sthought he was going crazy. One morning, visited again by the dream and its spectral attendants, he disappeared.
When faculty psychologists Sam Bondurant and Liam FitzDonnell are consulted in Barstow case, their job is to keep the episode quiet--at least until the Army-Navy game--and to find some reasonable explanation for whatever is really going on in that room. Sam and Liam are friends who rarely see eye to eye, but together they're fit for the task--Sam withhis rationalism and faith in sophisticated equipment, Liam with his own painful grasp of the demons to which the mind is vulnerable. Their investigation is wilolfully joined by Sam's scholarly and fanciful wife, Maggie, who gradually uncovers evidence of not one ghost but several, bound together in the warp of time to a fatal fire in 1830.
What none of these protagonists realizes is the awesome power of the supernatural--the power to clutch at the living from the other side of death. Shades ofGray offers the reader many satisfactions: a colorful and amusing portrait of West Point and the people who spend their lives there, a resonant psychological theme, stylish and intelligent writing. But most of all, Timothy O'Neill's novel makes the power of the supernatural real...and terrifying.