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When Lawrence Mason’s mother dies after a lengthy illness, he is left to guard her legacy and protect her place in the small community that she despised but refused to leave. His debilitating social anxiety disorder and devotion to Mrs. Mason’s memory lead him into conflict with the police and neighbours, while his paranoia leads him to interpret even the most innocuous incidents as part of the local strategy to isolate the family from the town.
Psychiatrist Bruce Hutchison is appointed by the court to assess Lawrence, but an unusual relationship between the two ensues, that both confounds and clarifies their own issues. At the same time, Lawrence is led, unwillingly, into a friendship with a much younger local woman, who sees more to this loner than is perceived by the area residents. Lawrence fights through both internal and external conflicts, culminating in a massive fire at the local fibreglass plant, in which he is intimately involved.
“Ashes Of Paranoia” provides an emotionally wrenching look at a middle-aged man wrestling with his distorted view of life, and how the community that he distrusts rallies to embrace him, warts and all.
This book’s characters have none of the romantic appeal of a Harlequin romance cast, nor any of the dashing flair of a detective mystery’s collage of players, yet each draws you hypnotically into his and her respective perception of the world around him.