In Elburn, Illinois, former Sheriff Brad Jenkins has become the mayor, a job he expects to enjoy. However, lately Brad, happily married with two kids, has been suffering from intense nightmares that seem vividly realistic and the smell of burnt flesh when he is awake. He is pushing development projects including the construction of a new school, but at his first town meeting with the council he loses control and feels a need to make the opposition submit to his will and a desire to inflict pain especially on Tom Dasche.
That night Brad awakens on Tom’s lawn with his body caked with mud and blood. He races home arriving at 4:30 AM frightened and wondering how he ended up at Tom’s place. Later that morning he learns someone killed Tom’s dog. As the nightmares intensify, Brad increasingly loses control of himself; a physician and psychiatrist do not help him though they try. Finally when he sees tanks and other major abuses, Tom realizes what is going on; he concludes he is seeing flashes of his past life. He accrued the most negative KARMA in history as a charismatic man in the 1930s and 1940s that mass murdered millions without a second thought. His accumulated debt is enormous.
The underlying concept is incredible as the lead character slowly learns why he is losing control of himself; he owes a KARMA debt from his previous life that is so exorbitant, it seems like it might take eternity and more to balance the scale. Brad is terrific as he knows he is losing control and goes for help to prevent that from happening. As he begins to learn the truth behind his visions, the smells, and his actions, readers will wonder if he will start paying off his KARMA deficit or increase the debt ceiling. Robert Zitella uses a person living the American dream to provide a unique reincarnation tale as Brad learns he was no hero in a previous life; instead her was the most infamous genocidal monster in history.