Publishers Weekly:

Jane Was Here
Sarah Kernochan.
Grey Swan Press, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-615-42203-9

The sudden appearance of a young woman called Jane in rural Graynier, Mass., propels this absorbing novel of reincarnation and karmic balances from filmmaker Kernochan, the winner of two Academy Awards for documentaries. Website designer Brett Sampson and his estranged 10-year-old son, Collin, are supposed to spend their summer together bonding. Instead, Brett becomes obsessed with Jane after she shows up at their rented Victorian house, claiming it was her childhood home, and Collin spends his time with Gita Poonchwalla, a slightly older Indian girl who converts him to her own unique religion. Local residents, including caretaker Hoyt Eddy and floozy Marly Walczak, get caught up in the mystery of Jane, whom PI Dick Fancher claims is actually Caroline Moss, a missing autistic woman. Kernochan (Dry Hustle) illuminates the small lives of her characters while skillfully interweaving their past and present incarnations. (June)


Blog Critics:

"...nerve-jangling but cohesive volume of paranormal suspense, with its cinematic vividness and well-considered attention to detail. The twists and turns have their own twists and turns, and the butler did it as sure as a bolt from the blue. All you'll really know, however, is that you must keep reading... and lose a little sleep while you try to ignore those pesky bumps in the night...
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"Sarah Kernochan's second novel, Jane Was Here, has an insane premise -- that the presence of one young woman can literally cause the past and the future to collide in real time and space. How Kernochan, the writer of the film 'What Lies Beneath,' pulls it off, and she does, is nothing short of magic. See Jane break the world wide open."
- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature, a Love Story

"Sarah Kernochan's profoundly modern story of the vengeful reincarnation of a young 19th New England woman is sly, terrifying, witty, perverse, seductive and thoroughly satisfying."
- Rafael Yglesias, author of A Happy Marriage

"An eerie story that not only kept me guessing but kept me up at night. Sarah Kernochan delivers a quirky tale with the perfect amount of creepiness, intrigue, and small town New England politics. A perfect choice for book clubs.'
- Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader

"Sarah Kernochan's ghost thriller is written with a sly knowing and takes you on a compelling ride through at least four dimensions. She expertly binds together seemingly irreconcilable elements: urban relationship distress, 19th century utopian dreams , gritty sexual realities of 21st century rural poverty, reincarnation, and fate. The book holds you tight in the grip of one question all the way to the final, chilling answer. Jane Was Here is not a Whodunit but the first Whoisit?"
- Joan Juliet Buck, author of Daughter of the Swan


Sarah's Interview in More
With Jane Was Here (Grey Swan Press), the writer lets her imagination loose on a small Massachusetts town, exploring reincarnation, karma and religion in a dark and suspenseful mystery. A week after the novel's release, More spoke to Kernochan about the trials and rewards of following your passion.


"The key to this engaging tale is the small town residents who know each other as they (and readers) cannot resist the lure of who Jane is and how she knows intimate details about the somewhat isolated town. Jane is terrific as her confusion is addicting to the audience who want to know what is going on. The support cast makes the thriller work as they and we need to know whether Jane Was Here once before and what before connotes."
- Harriet Klausner Ranked #1 Classic Reviewer @ Amazon.com


Library Journal
'Kernochan, a screenwriter (What Lies Beneath, 9 1/2 Weeks) explores the possibilities of reincarnation through this suspenseful tale. Small-town characters are deftly brought to life as the author slowly unveils the fateful conclusion"
- Joy Gunn, Henderson Libs., NV


Confessions Of A Real Librarian
"Ms. Kernochan, a screen writer known for such films as What Lies Beneath, knows how to paint an amazing, and sometimes creepy, picture."


Jane Was Here received 4 Willies on To Read or Not to Read


Shelf Awareness
Jane Was Here,
by Oscar-winning filmmaker Sarah Kernochan, is an eerie mystery with an emphasis on reincarnation and karma. The eponymous Jane travels to the tiny New England town of Graynier to uncover who murdered her in a past life. But Jane has never been to Graynier, and the murder she is convinced was her own took place in 1853.

Jane was institutionalized for most of her present life, even though she claims sanity. She waited until she was 21 to leave the institution to discover the secrets of her past life and how they relate to her present--and to the present lives of everyone in Graynier.

Kernochan is best known as a screenwriter for the movies 9½ Weeks and What Lies Beneath. This is only her second novel; her first, Dry Hustle, was published in 1977. Like her films, Jane Was Here relies on a pervasive sense of foreboding, inspired by masterful descriptions of setting and character. The current occupants of Graynier lived there during their past lives as well--but who murdered past-life Jane? Figuring it out is the riveting fun of Jane Was Here.

Religion, particularly a sect known as "Gabriel Nation," plays a big part in Jane's past life, and the religious discussions and related romance lend a touch of softness to this otherwise dark and vicious tale. The graphic sexual content is shocking, but Kernochan uses it as a character development tool. The acts themselves are not portrayed, but inference illuminates characters' internal demons. Kernochan does not pull punches. She tosses us amid the Graynier wolves in order to solve Jane's murder before anyone else ends up dead. In her inventive and artful brutality, Kernochan evokes horror genius in this backwoods karmic thriller.
- Sara Dobie, blogger at Wordpress


Bee's Knees Reviews
This is a must read! You will be left stunned! The characters come to life on the page!


Sarah Kernochan featured on Night Owl Reviews


Review on Am I the Only One Dancing
ìAbout three weeks ago I got a truly intriguing email from someone I didn't know, asking me if I would review a book. The email wasn't from the author, but from the title character, which piqued my interest, but also raised my skepticism meters. “Please, could you review 'Jane Was Here'”? she asked.

I had never heard of the book, 'Jane Was Here', or the author, Sarah Kernochan, before. A little research soon taught me that Ms. Kernochan has been writing for many years, however, mostly screenwriting (including 9 1/2 Weeks, which is an old favorite of mine), and clearly is both professional and talented.

I said yes. The book arrived a few days later, I read the cover and back cover blurbs, and realized I held in my hands an honest to goodness ghost story.

I am not a big horror fan. Horror has a deeply negative view of life that does not mesh well with my world view, so I rarely read it (some 'horror' writers write horror with heroic endings. I can read that. Stephen King, I'm looking at you).

Ghost stories are not horror, though, no matter how many times they get shoved in on the same shelf. Ghosts are us, with the 'stuff' of our lives left unfinished, and even when they're scary and do bad things, we know why, and sympathize, and in some secret place, root for the ghost. 'Jane Was Here' gives us a mystery, and a ghost, and two interesting time lines, and a cast of characters that you grow to care for.

The writing is superb, lifting the book beyond 'genre' fiction into literary fiction with a wide appeal.

Set in the hopelessness of a dying town that the world has passed by in rural Connecticut, a cast of characters with diverse and interesting backgrounds and motives have a series of interactions with a mysterious young women who calls herself Jane.

Strange events start stacking slowly but inexorably until everyone realizes something odd is going on, but no one has all the pieces of the puzzle, including Jane herself.

About two thirds of the way through the book, about where, in a play or opera, one would have an intermission, the story takes a detour in time to explore what has led the people of the town to where they now are.

The mood is wonderfully mysterious and just creepy enough to delight, and the ending is satisfying. This would be a wonderful book to read under the covers with a flashlight, should you be so inclined.


Vineyard Gazette, 8/26/11

It's surprising there aren't more spooky thrillers that include mysteries, and more mysteries with spooks. When equal mixtures are applied ñ in other words, scary stuff happening for which a reason must be found ñ fans of both genres put the books on the top 10 list and a classic is born: The Exorcist, Peter Straub's Ghost Story, The Shining.S arah Kernochan in Jane Was Here gives us the perfect mixture of spine-tingles and puzzles, plus she throws in an undertow of reincarnation philosophy ñ not only that it may exist, but that karma, i.e., the working out of transgressions from a past life into this present one, explains a whole lot of fine messes in which people find themselves
A nice guy named Brett swerves off the road in the boonies of Massachusetts because a sign pointing to a tiny town called Graynier unfathomably catches his eye. He rents a shabby Victorian house where he feels weirdly at home. A few days later the wisp of a beautiful young woman shows up and declares ownership of this house; she feels it in her tiny bones and insists on moving in. Just when Brett is ready to send her packing, he sees her in her sleep and ìSuddenly, unaccountably, he is drenched in tenderness Every cell's invaded: he loves her as if he already has loved her, as if he started loving her before he opened the door.
Two other key characters occupy the drama: village thug and smart but unmotivated caretaker Hoyt Eddy is the town drunk, and Marly Walczak is the town whoreHoyt's destiny and Marly's literally collide when, coming in opposite directions late at night on a dark road, they spy a wisp of a young girl in a purple anorak and, steering to avoid her, smash into one another. Already losers, their lives are set to spiral into disaster.
Meanwhile the earnest and appealing Jane, apparently known as Caroline in this life and warehoused as an autistic patient for most of her life in a psych ward, appeals to Brett to help her remember the full breadth of her previous life, whose details come to her in bits and pieces. He would do anything for her but, conversely, it's difficult for him to believe this story. After all, you can love someone as if you've already loved her yet it's not unreasonable to ponder whether or not she is indeed mentally unstable.
The middle section of the novel changes unexpectedly to an epistolary romantic drama from the earliest part of Graynier's history. The letters are written by a woman named Jane Pettigrew. Although the abrupt change in narrative takes some getting used to, it ends up pulling the reader into a deeper wonder and absorption into the waif-like modern-day Jane's quest. The mystery unravels, as does the fright component, but the final pieces don't fall into place until long after we've returned to the present-day predicament.
We'll just have to wait and see. What fun!


Review and Giveaway at Me, My Shelf and I
ìThis book was like riding a roller coaster in the pitch black, you never know where the twists and turns will take you and when you're done all you can say is 'Wow'.
Jane Was Here took me a bit longer to get through, as you will notice is is an adult level reading book, not as light and fluid as the YA I tend to read more often. Deep descriptions, of not only place, but time bring you into this masterfully created story.

The simplest way to describe the plot is that Jane lived once long ago, and now is out to solve her cold case murder from centuries prior. Rich with suspense and almost constant curve balls, you are literally forced to pay clos attention to every tiny detail for fear of missing something important.

On more then half a dozen occasions I literally was moved from my seat in awe of Sarah Kernochan’s ability to meld this world together and have all the intertwining relationships I may have thought to be useless page filler at the very start, wrap up into one neatly delivered, bone chilling package at the end.