Title

Cora

Date of Award

2001

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Elaine Ford

Second Committee Member

Naomi Jacobs

Third Committee Member

Patricia Burnes

Abstract

As a novel, Cora operates in the genre of the thriller and harkens to the novels of Dean Koontz, Owl Goingback, and John Saul. It is a tightly told tale meant to make the reader read and then read some more, and the main objective is entertainment. The title character of the novel, Cora, is a beautiful sixteen-year old girl from southern California. When her family is attacked by a razor-wielding psychopath in a parking garage in Beverly Hills , she alone escapes, but something has changed for both Cora and the killer, linking the two in ways neither immediately understands. Deeply in shock after witnessing the massacre of her family, Cora is sent to an island off the coast of Maine, where her grandfather heads a psychiatric clinic devoted the study of catatonia. As Dr. Cole Johnstone and his one-time love interest, Dr. Sarah Delacort, struggle to help the comatose girl, it quickly becomes evident that they are also running a race against time, because something is hunting the girl in her dreams, something that won't stop until Cora is dead. Cora is a novel of suspense with elements of the horrific. Much of it takes the form of a chase, and there is the omnipresent feeling that time is ticking down, that things are quickly coming to a head, and that when they finally do, something terrible is going to happen. It is also, however, a book centered around its characters, a diverse cast all looking for something different. As the two main characters of the novel, Sarah Delacort and Dr. Cole Johnstone drive the narrative along through their attempts to help Cora. But they are also rediscovering themselves and each other; Cole and Sarah were once seriously involved but haven't spoken in years, and both have undergone drastic changes since last they met. Cole is struggling to deal with the death of his young son, and Sarah is trying to piece back together a life torn apart by her unique gift. Most of the novel's horrific elements come from Luis Argento, the cop who killed Cora's family and who is fixated on killing her next. During his trek across the country he leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, unable to control the violent impulses constantly thrumming through his body. Like most novels of horror and suspense, Cora ends with the bad guy getting his comeuppance.

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