Shunned: Outcasts in the Land
Cynthia Hearne Darling, author
Amos, a small town minister in New England, is horrified. His wife Carrie has been jailed for vandalism against Jett Pharmaceuticals, her retaliation for their son John's death by a drug overdose. Amos's own reaction to his son's death is to speak prophetically on Hell and punisihment through preaching and conducting public meetings. Public reaction is fierce and unforgiving against the couple Released from jail, Carrie forms a group, including skeptic Allan, CEO of Jett, to expose harms caused by antidepressants. She also confronts Dr. Monroe, John's university counselor, who engineered the boy's death. He is infuriated and threatened by Carrie. Monroe schemes to punish Carrie by killing Amos, arranging for him to come to his office to retrieve John's falsified records, that state that their son's death was caused by the parents' fundamentalist lifestyle. Carrie, devastated at her husband's death, puts roses in her dead husband's hands at the funeral, as he had done for her outside the jail upon her release. Monroe sends his grossly obese wife Nellie on a cruise, but she confronts him about Amos's death upon her return. He decides to kill her also, planning the murder with delight and great precision. Meanwhile, Carrie learns that Nellie may have information to sell regarding Amos's murder. Allan, now a suspect in Amos's death, decides to approach Nellie himself. He drives to the house, followed by the police. He hears screams within the house. Nellie has Monroe in a death grip. The police arrive. Allan is exonerated. Monroe becomes psychotic, now locked in a mental institution. Carrie and Allan remain friends. Old Mrs. Robbins, the town's eccentric, hands Carrie a rose. The cycle is complete, she says. Carrie understands. She tells Allan he has to reread Hawthorne to understand.