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Authors: Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart

BOOK: Change of Heart
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Praise for Jodi Picoult and
Change of Heart


‘Poignant with a Picoult twist’—
Style Magazine


‘Jodi mesmerizes and enthralls readers in a story of justice, love and redemption’—


‘[Picoult] keeps you hanging on to the end’—
Canberra Times


‘If you read her first page, you’ll read the last’—
New Idea


‘It is impossible not to be held spellbound’—
Washington Post


‘A master of the craft of storytelling’—AP Newswire


‘Picoult has become a master—almost a clairvoyant—at targeting hot issues and writing highly readable page-turners about them’—
Washington Post


‘When it comes to the freeze-frame of a family caught in the headlights of loss and irreversible regret, Picoult has no equal’—Jacquelyn Mitchard


‘The worlds Picoult creates for her characters resonate with authenticity, and the people who inhabit them are so engrossing’—


‘A brilliantly told tale’—


‘Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships’—
Boston Globe


‘Picoult has the true storyteller’s ability to evoke a world on the page and pull the reader into it’—
Women’s Review of Books


‘Picoult’s writing is superb and the characters are vividly drawn’—
Daily Telegraph

Change of Heart




Nineteen Minutes

The Tenth Circle

Vanishing Acts

My Sister’s Keeper

Second Glance

Perfect Match

Salem Falls

Plain Truth

Keeping Faith

The Pact


Picture Perfect

Harvesting the Heart

Songs of the Humpback Whale


Change of Heart




This edition published in 2009
First published in Australia and New Zealand by Allen & Unwin in 2008
First published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.

Copyright © Jodi Picoult 2008

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The
Australian Copyright Act 1968
(the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.

Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100
Fax: (61 2) 9906 2218
Email: [email protected]

National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:

Picoult, Jodi, 1966-

Change of heart / Jodi Picoult.

9781741757613 (pbk.)

Murderers--Fiction. Transplantation of organs, tissues, etc.--Fiction.


Printed in Australia by McPherson’s Printing Group

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


With love, and too much admiration to fit on these

To my grandfather, Hal Friend, who has
always been brave enough to question what we
believe …

And to my grandmother, Bess Friend,
who has never stopped believing in me.


Writing this book was its own form of miracle; it’s very hard to write about religion responsibly, and that means taking the time to find the right people to answer your questions. For their time and their knowledge, I must thank Lori Thompson, Rabbi Lina Zerbarini, Father Peter Duganscik, Jon Saltzman, Katie Desmond, Claire Demarais, and Pastor Ted Brayman. Marjorie Rose and Joan Collison were willing to theorize about religion whenever I brought it up. Elaine Pagels is a brilliant author herself and one of the smartest women I’ve ever spoken with—I chased her down and begged her for a private tutorial on the Gnostic Gospels, one of her academic specialties, and would hang up the phone after each conversation with my mind buzzing and a thousand more questions to explore—surely something the Gnostics would have heartily endorsed.

Jennifer Sternick is still the attorney I’d want fighting for me, no matter what, Chris Keating provides legal information for me at blistering speed, and Chris Johnson’s expertise on the appeals process for death penalty cases was invaluable.

Thanks to the medical team that didn’t mind when I asked how to kill someone, instead of how to save them—among other things: Dr. Paul Kispert, Dr. Elizabeth Martin, Dr. David Axelrod, Dr. Vijay Thadani, Dr. Jeffrey Parsonnet, Dr. Mary Kay Wolfson, Barb Danson, James Belanger. Jacquelyn Mitchard isn’t a doc, but a wonderful writer who gave me the nuts and bolts of LD kids. And a special thank-you to Dr. Jenna Hirsch, who was so generous with her knowledge of cardiac surgery.

Thanks to Sindy Buzzell, and Kurt Feuer, for their individual expertise. Getting to death row was a significant challenge. My New Hampshire law enforcement contacts included Police Chief Nick Giaccone, Captain Frank Moran, Kim Lacasse, Unit Manager Tim Moquin, Lieutenant Chris Shaw, and Jeff Lyons, PIO of the New Hampshire State Prison. For finessing my trip to the Arizona State Prison Florence, thanks to Sergeant Janice Mallaburn, Deputy Warden Steve Gal, CO II Dwight Gaines, and Judy Frigo (former warden). Thanks also to Rachel Gross and Dale Baich. However, this book would not be what it was without the prisoners who opened up to me both in person and via mail: Robert Purtell, a former death row inmate; Samuel Randolph, currently on death row in Pennsylvania; and Robert Towery, currently on death row in Arizona.

Thanks to my dream team at Atria: Carolyn Reidy, Judith Curr, David Brown, Danielle Lynn, Mellony Torres, Kathleen Schmidt, Sarah Branham, Laura Stern, Gary Urda, Lisa Keim, Christine Duplessis, and everyone else who has worked so hard on my behalf. Thanks to Camille McDuffie—who was so determined to make people stop
asking “Jodi Who?” and who exceeded my expectations beyond my wildest dreams. To my favorite first reader, Jane Picoult, who I was fortunate enough to get as a mom. To Laura Gross, without whom I’d be completely adrift. To Emily Bestler, who is just so damn good at making me look brilliant.

And of course, thanks to Kyle, Jake, Sammy—who keep me asking the questions that might make the world a better place—and Tim, who makes it possible for me to do that. It just doesn’t get better than all of you, all of this.





Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said.
“One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had as much practice,” said
the Queen. “When I was your age I did it for half
an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as
many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

—Lewis Carroll,
Through the Looking-Glass



In the beginning, I believed in second chances. How else could I account for the fact that years ago, right after the accident—when the smoke cleared and the car had stopped tumbling end over end to rest upside down in a ditch—I was still alive; I could hear Elizabeth, my little girl, crying? The police officer who had pulled me out of the car rode with me to the hospital to have my broken leg set, with Elizabeth—completely unhurt, a miracle—sitting on his lap the whole time. He’d held my hand when I was taken to identify my husband Jack’s body. He came to the funeral. He showed up at my door to personally inform me when the drunk driver who ran us off the road was arrested.

The policeman’s name was Kurt Nealon. Long after the trial and the conviction, he kept coming around just to make sure that Elizabeth and I were all right. He brought
toys for her birthday and Christmas. He fixed the clogged drain in the upstairs bathroom. He came over after he was off duty to mow the savannah that had once been our lawn.

I had married Jack because he was the love of my life; I had planned to be with him forever. But that was before the definition of forever was changed by a man with a blood alcohol level of .22. I was surprised that Kurt seemed to understand that you might never love someone as hard as you had the first time you’d fallen; I was even more surprised to learn that maybe you

Five years later, when Kurt and I found out we were going to have a baby, I almost regretted it—the same way you stand beneath a perfect blue sky on the most glorious day of the summer and admit to yourself that all moments from here on in couldn’t possibly measure up. Elizabeth had been two when Jack died; Kurt was the only father she’d ever known. They had a connection so special it sometimes made me feel I should turn away, that I was intruding. If Elizabeth was the princess, then Kurt was her knight.

The imminent arrival of this little sister (how strange is it that none of us ever imagined the new baby could be anything but a girl?) energized Kurt and Elizabeth to fever pitch. Elizabeth drew elaborate sketches of what the baby’s room should look like. Kurt hired a contractor to build the addition. But then the builder’s mother had a stroke and he had to move unexpectedly to Florida; none of the other crews had time to fit our job into their schedules before the baby’s birth. We had a hole in our wall and rain leaking through the attic ceiling; mildew grew on the soles of our shoes.

When I was seven months pregnant, I came downstairs to find Elizabeth playing in a pile of leaves that had blown past the plastic sheeting into the living room. I was deciding between crying and raking my carpet when the doorbell rang.

He was holding a canvas roll that contained his tools, something that never left his possession, like another man might tote around his wallet. His hair brushed his shoulders and was knotted. His clothes were filthy and he smelled of snow—although it wasn’t the right season. Shay Bourne arrived, unexpected, like a flyer from a summer carnival that blusters in on a winter wind, making you wonder just where it’s been hiding all this time.

He had trouble speaking—the words tangled, and he had to stop and unravel them before he could say what he needed to say. “I want to …” he began, and then started over: “Do you, is there, because …” The effort made a fine sweat break out on his forehead. “Is there anything I can do?” he finally managed, as Elizabeth came running toward the front door.

You can leave,
I thought. I started to close the door, instinctively protecting my daughter. “I don’t think so …”

Elizabeth slipped her hand into mine and blinked up at him. “There’s a lot that needs to be fixed,” she said.

He got down to his knees then and spoke to my daughter easily—words that had been full of angles and edges for him a minute before now flowed like a waterfall. “I can help,” he replied.

Kurt was always saying people are never who you think they are, that it was necessary to get a complete background check on a person before you made any promises.
I’d tell him he was being too suspicious, too much the cop. After all, I had let Kurt himself into my life simply because he had kind eyes and a good heart, and even
couldn’t argue with the results.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Shay. Shay Bourne.”

“You’re hired, Mr. Bourne,” I said, the beginning of the end.




Shay Bourne was nothing like I expected.

I had prepared myself for a hulking brute of a man, one with hammy fists and no neck and eyes narrowed into slits. This was, after all, the crime of the century—a double murder that had captured the attention of people from Nashua to Dixville Notch; a crime that seemed all the worse because of its victims: a little girl, and a police officer who happened to be her stepfather. It was the kind of crime that made you wonder if you were safe in your own house, if the people you trusted could turn on you at any moment—and maybe because of this, New Hampshire prosecutors sought the death penalty for the first time in fifty-eight years.

BOOK: Change of Heart
7.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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