Shunned: Outcasts in the Land by Cynthia Hearne Darling

Shunned is like Pandora’s box, only with a better ending. Out come the
evil vultures of the drug industry, flapping their wing, waiting to grab
you. Next, watch in dismay as the community ostracizes a good couple,
shrouding them from others. Then, when think things couldn’t be worse,
comes the specter of Hell and punishment, and lastly, murder — murder in
its most evil form, attacking all that fights it. It’s the old story of
good against evil.

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
punishment 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.

Shunned’s roots lie in The Scarlet Letter and Sinclair’s The Jungle, a
model for muckraking against the powerful antidepressant industry. readers are calling the book, “Fact or Fiction? An Absolute
Must-Read!” “Hugely Satisfying Mystery”
“A “cannot put down” novel and thriller in one” and “Terrific.”

About The Author

Cynthia Hearne Darling has an English degree from the College of William
and Mary and master’s degrees in social work and public administration.
She has worked for the federal government in mental institutions, Indian
reservations and the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. She says it
was sometimes hard to tell one agency from another, but she preferred the
Indian reservation. It was against this bureaucratic background that her
love of writing was reinforced, because of the complete freedom it gave
her. She has published Forty-Nine Poems, Shunned:Outcasts in the Land, and
she has almost completed Georgetown Journeys, a novel taking place from
the 1960’s to the present.


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