October 31, 2011
By, Jeni Williams
The idea of a possessed GPS haunting an abusive husband’s ex-wife came to best-selling author Jennifer Weiner as she was driving home last Tuesday evening—and the next day, Weiner asked her agent: If she could write the story in a day, would her publisher be able to release it on Halloween?
The result is “Recalculating,” a short story that became available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes at midnight on Halloween. It’s a deliciously spooky and satisfying Halloween treat, and for the sale price of 99 cents, it’s the literary version of a favorite bite-sized, chocolatey treat.
“Tommy had been dead for six months when Maureen found the box he’d left for her in the attic,” Weiner writes in “Recalculating.” Maureen and Tommy, who had been married 30 years, shared a nasty secret: Three days before their wedding and up until the day he’d died, Tommy had abused Maureen, verbally and physically, careful to hurt her in places no one else could see. He moved her out to a house in the country, far enough away from her family that she only saw her parents and siblings three times a year: on the Fourth of July and Christmas Day, and for the yearly mammogram appointment she shared with one of her sisters.
Now Maureen carries another secret, one related to Tommy’s death. And as Maureen soon realizes after she opens the GPS Tommy left her and plugs it in for the first time, “Sometimes, the dead are restless.”
Weiner, who visited Chicago last July to promote her latest novel, ‘Then Came You’ (read the review) writes on her blog that the idea of a possessed GPS occurred to her after a book reading one night last week, as she let her GPS guide her home. “As I tooled through the darkness, along a deserted road I’d never been on, I thought, ‘What if this thing doesn’t want me to get home?’” Weiner writes on her blog.