I pounded myself against the inside of his head, but it was useless. He couldn't hear me; I was trapped. So, like any other prisoner, I waited. I bided my time.
Luke is six. He is a lonely child, but he has one friend, his best friend -- Daniel -- whom he met in the playground on the day his parents finalised their divorce. Only Luke can see Daniel. They play games together, and Daniel watches over Luke; he is there when he first wakes up and there when he goes to sleep.
Daniel's first memory is of Luke calling his name in the playground. Daniel is not an ordinary child. Luke's mother spends more and more time in her room, haunted by family memories. She takes Luke and Daniel from New York to a deserted beach town, as winter sets in. Daniel is changing. He feels faint, weightless. Luke seems forgetful of him. Time passes.
Luke and Daniel have not seen one another for a long time. Until, one night, Daniel suddenly finds himself standing in Luke's bedroom, woken by the sound of breaking glass. He does not know how much time he has; but he knows how he can be saved.
DeLeeuw's spellbinding debut is told from the point of view of a being who assumes the persona and desires of a boy's repressed self. The mysterious narrator encounters six-year-old Luke in Central Park, where Luke gives him a life and a name, Daniel. Daniel has no memory of consciousness before meeting Luke, but as the story moves forward into Luke's college years, it becomes clear that he has a history distinct from Luke's own. He quickly learns that he's stronger when Luke is troubled, and, luckily, there's much in Luke's life to distress him. Meanwhile, Claire, Luke's divorced mother, runs a publishing company founded by her mother, and when Luke comes across a novel about a doppelg nger the company published decades earlier, Daniel realizes it may offer clues to his own secrets and persuades Luke to destroy it, much to Claire's despair. DeLeeuw delivers a neat bundling of the classic story of a spirit possessing an innocent with the Jungian shadow self, but in the end readers will be somewhat disappointed that he neglects to answer some of the more intriguing questions he poses about Luke's family.