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The Between

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,213 ratings  ·  132 reviews
A brilliant novel of horror and the supernatural in which a middle-class family’s very existence is threatened by inner and outer demons

When Hilton was just a boy, his grandmother sacrificed her life to save him from drowning. Thirty years later, he begins to suspect that he was never meant to survive that accident, and that dark forces are working to rectify that mistake.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 27th 1996 by Harper Perennial (first published May 1st 1995)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,213 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book as a part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction group read, and once again I'm an absolute terrible buddy reader. If I get caught up in a book, it's over. I'm reading until my eyes bleed. I started this one Tuesday night, read for most of the afternoon the next day, and then finished it last night. It's like I don't even realize I'm turning pages. When a book is this good, I get lost in it.

Firstly, I'm going to address the reviews that complain that this book isn't "horror". Y
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Between is a story about a man on the verge of a breakdown. Is this breakdown caused by supernatural forces or is it all in his mind? Well, I’m not going to be jerk who spoils it all for you!

I bought this book years and years ago and I’m glad The Ladies of Horror Fiction finally forced me to unearth it, blow off the dust and read all of its pages. This book was their featured Community Wide Readalong and it was a good time. You should all join in on the next one.

When Hilton was seven he foun
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bipoc-author
I know judging books by their covers often backfires, but I keep doing it anyway. I prioritize books with pretty covers and end up disappointed if their contents don’t live up to the window dressing. Worse than that, I avoid books with covers that either don’t grab me or outright repel me, and it makes me wonder, how many great books have I missed out on this way?

The Between is a book with what is, in my opinion, an unfortunate cover. Maybe because it was published in 1995—who knows what was go
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Due is a master of the craft, and I can’t wait to get into the rest of her catalogue.

The Between is a story about Hilton James, a man who loves his family, his powerhouse of a wife, and his job as the director of a drug rehab center. The problem is that he isn’t supposed to be alive—he should have drowned when he was just a boy, but he was saved in the nick of time by his grandmother.

First come the threats against his wife and family, then come the dreams—the bad ones. Then it seems like his wh
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I was pleasantly surprised by The Between! I have had Tananarive Due on my TBR for so long. The Ladies of Horror Fiction team decided to choose her debut novel for our Women in Horror Month readalong and wow! If this is her debut, I am in for a treat with the rest of Due's catalog!

There were so many layers to The Between and they were all expertly woven together. It's a relatively short book at a little less than 300 pages. I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say this is an excellent
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tananarive Due's debut novel most definitely heralded her acclaimed career as a novelist.

The Between tells the story of Hilton James, a man who suffers from a severe sleep disorder - and vivid, often terrifying dreams. As the line between reality and his dreams blur, Hilton's storybook life begins to crumble. He even begins to question his sanity. But when his family is placed in very real danger, Hilton fears something other-worldy is happening to him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Due is
Dawnelle Wilkie
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I am a huge fan of Due's later novel The Living Blood and was a little disappointed with The Good House so I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. It's not as creepy as The Living Blood but it was good and scary. She has a knack for pacing that makes me read into the wee hours of the morning and her characterization is solid. Even her minor characters retain a sense of personal authenticity that is lacking in some genre fiction. I am reluctant to classify her as a writer of genre fiction be ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I’m correct, this is Ms. Due’s first novel. Wow. Everything I’ve read by her is superb, including Hilton’s journey. I can’t quite put my finger on why I loved this so much other than great storytelling, but I also really love the depiction of women and exploration of West African-inspired views of death. She gave us an ending that rocked me to the core but was simultaneously satisfying. I read a library copy of this but I clearly need to buy my own.
Tracy Robinson
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am kicking myself for not having read Tananarive Due prior to this month. I think this was the perfect choice for the Ladies of Horror Fiction community read-along not only because it's a great story and I think it will please a wide variety of readers, but because maybe some readers like me have been introduced to Due's work. Note: This book calls out to be read over a short period of is a page-turner.

SO - this is a DEBUT novel. WHAT?!? The level of craft in writing, world-building,
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
"We're always closest to death when we're asleep."

Tananarive Due, y'all. OMG! How have I not read any of her work until now? I am so glad to begin with The Between - as it was a hauntingly poignant story full of grief, loss, death, marriage, family, race, anger, mental health, acceptance, and more. The book covers real-life horror of people - the fact that it was written in the mid-90s and so much resonates and rings true to this day is horror enough. The Between also has a supernatural element
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the third novel i've read by due. all of her tales are consistently excellent. i stand by my original assessment. her words are easily cataloged in the tradition of octavia butler minus the impending sense of dread; the heavy macabre elements are lighter than butler but the universe woven by her words are just as intense. i admit there were about 75 pages that i really dragged on in this story. but over all it was a slow to digest food for thought.

so many doorways. between the world of
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He was changing, in small pieces. He was losing himself."

The Ladies of Horror Fiction chose this book as a readalong pick for Women in Horror Month and Black History Month, and I'm so happy this is the book we read. The Between was my introduction to Tananarive Due, and I was so impressed by her debut novel.

I'm not going to say very much in this review because you should just read it. I don't want to give anything away. This story is a haunting descent into madness, and I was thinking about it
Eddie Generous
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. There are so many layers to this one and they unfold masterfully. Smart and wholly accessible. Realistic characters with fully realized lives and problems, beyond the horror of the main plot. Really something special.
Paul Ataua
I found it intelligent, well put together, and a fairly solid read, but as a psychological thriller more than a horror, it didn’t quite make it into my list of unforgettable reads.
Red Lace Reviews
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Red by: Mike Thorn
When threatening letters soon find their way to his wife, Hilton James becomes seriously afraid for the safety of his family. Being the first African-American judge in Dade County, Florida, it can be any number of individuals that Dede has prosecuted. With tensions running high, and the threats getting worse, Hilton's own picture-perfect life, as well as his own reality, begin to fray at the edges.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

This one wasn’t even remotely on my radar before it
Finished this supernatural thriller book in less than four days and must say aside from the wide open ending I found it quite enjoyable, a definite page turner but left with a little too many unanswered questions..This is a novel about a little boy raised by his grandma until one day he swims out too far and gets caught in a rip current, his grandma swims out to save him and essentially dies in his place..Ever since he has been plagued with nightmares triggered by near death experiences and some ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of supernatural thrillers with *some* graphic violence
The Between by Tananarive Due caught my eye whilst browsing the paperback section at my local library. The blurb on its back cover enticed me into taking it home:
Hilton was seven when his grandmother died, and it was a bad time. But it was worse when she died again..."
I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Due writes in vivid detail without overloading the page and her grasp of pace and tension are top-notch. I couldn't put the book down: I just had to know how it would all turn out.

The characters were t

May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
4.5 Stars

I think I found another favorite author.

Due’s writing is excellent. I think this is what it is called “beautiful prose.” The story rather progressed slow, but characters were well written.

I was reading this book before I went to sleep every night, which I regret a little. I rather wanted to read this one with one sitting!

I bought this used book, which contains the author’s message and sign for “Max”. The message says “Never forget you dreams!” After reading this book, the word “drea
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book where people would go “It didn’t scare me! It‘s not horror!” To which I say, yes, yes it is. Because like in this book, sometimes the horror comes from a threat to your family, a racial slur, an angry parent, a losing mind.

Hilton was a boy when his grandma died saving him from drowning. 30 years later, he has a job, a house and a beautiful family. But when his wife, a new and only African-American county judge receives death threats, Hilton starts having nightmares and
Erika Schoeps
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hilton should have died as a child, but he didn't. His grandmother died in his place. Now, he has his own flourishing, successful family. But their livelihood is threatened by an anonymous racist sending hate mail.

The opening premise with his grandmother is spooky and unique. As a horror movie enthusiast (I really do want to go harder on books, but movies seem to be the perfect medium for horror), I hadn't ever seen anything quite like the opening scene with his grandmother.

We skip into the fu
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a book by a female author to balance out the number of books I've read by men recently. Tananarive Due avoids chick lit and black stereotypes and writes speculative fiction superbly, this is not a genre novel. The Between is reminded me of Dexter, the TV show, because both take place in Miami and the characters' occupations, a judge and a social worker, are central to the story. This book captures the cultural diversity of Miami and the characters are wonderfully fleshed out. Th ...more
Jan 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
A horror novel - a young boy finds his grandmother in a heap on the kitchen floor, her skin cold to the touch. He runs to the neighbor for help; when he returns, his grandmother is cooking dinner, acting as if nothing is wrong. Months later, the boy is swimming out beyond the buoy despite his grandmother's admonitions to stay close to shore - he feels the undertow dragging him under, but he is saved by his grandmother, who sacrifices her life for his.

Fast forward - the boy is now a man with a f
Carrie Kellenberger
I enjoyed this book even though I'm not a huge fan of speculative fiction. The horror aspect drew me in for my TBR pile, but I found The Between more related to fantasy/supernatural than horror. It's a great tale that hits all the right spots for good storytelling. It reminded me a lot of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven.

Hilton James shouldn't be alive, but he is. His near drowning as a child has affected his whole life and he suffers from horrible dreams about that day. His dreams are al
Meagan Houle
I enjoyed this trippy, sinister story. I'm a huge fan of cleverly composed fiction that can confuse me into feeling a little crazy right along with the protagonist, and Tananarive Due is very clever indeed. "The Between" wasn't always easy to follow, and it's not a book that's well-suited to soaking in the bath or lounging on a beach, half-awake. But if you give it the time and attention it demands, you'll be pulled in within moments. The larger questions about social justice and intergeneration ...more
Alice J.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Between was a slow burn book, however it worked well and unfolded at a good pace throughout. Hilton is saved from drowning by his nana as a boy and now as an adult, he has to protect his family but small occurences that may or may not have happened keep entering his mind and it isn't until the very end that he realises what his purpose was. An interesting read.
Suzanne Seidel
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting
Sarah Rogers
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Between” is probably the most terrifying of the books I’ve read by Tananarive Due (which number around six now), mostly because of how realistic (easy?) it would be to fall into a similar situation as the main character’s—basically the questioning of reality. I would recommend this or Due’s “The Good House” as the best introductions to her writing.

I am running out of her books to read.... What’s a fangirl to do?
M. Fenn
We’ve now sliding down the downslope of this year’s women of genre fiction reading challenge. No, no! I don’t mean that I’ll be giving The Between a bad review. Far from it. What I mean is that this is book #7 out of twelve. More than half way done!

The Between is Tananarive Due’s first novel, published in 1995. Its protagonist is Hilton James who, as a young boy, almost drowns, but is rescued by his grandmother. The undertow takes her instead. James is adopted by an aunt and uncle and, once grow
“Hilton was seven when his grandmother died, and it was a bad time. But it was worse when she died again.” From that very lovely opening, Tananarive Due crafts a pulse-thrumming tale of a man haunted by a “sinister fear” (45). The rhythmic quality of the writing draws Hilton’s consciousness from the page and his own increasingly confused sense of reality becomes the reader’s own. Italicized moments seep into the text between paragraphs, between “lucid” moments, into sentence ends. Some stretches ...more
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Tananarive Due is a novelist and a creative writing teacher who has worked as a journalist. She won the American Book Award in 2002 for her novel The Living Blood.

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