On a chilly November afternoon, six-year-old Luke Nightingale's life changes forever. On the playground across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he encounters Daniel. Soon the boys are hiding from dinosaurs and shooting sniper rifles. Within hours, Luke and his mother, Claire, are welcoming Daniel into their Upper East Side apartment -- and their lives.
Daniel and Luke are soon inseparable. With his parents divorcing, Luke takes comfort in having a near-constant playmate. But there's something strange about Daniel, who is more than happy to bind himself to the Nightingales. The divorce has cut Luke's father out of the picture, and as his increasingly fragile mother struggles with the insidious family depression, Daniel -- shrewd, adventurous, and insightful -- provides Luke both recreation and refuge.
As Luke grows from a child to an adolescent to a young man, he realizes that as much as his mother needs him, Daniel needs him more. Jealous of Luke's other attachments, Daniel moves from gestures of friendship into increasingly sinister manipulations. In the end, Luke finds himself in a daily battle for control of his own life -- wondering whether he or Daniel will emerge victorious.
Brian DeLeeuw's debut is a haunting and provocative story of a family's love and madness that you will not be able to put down.
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.