Saturday, 24 March 2007

Two Novels

Finished March 23
18 Seconds by George D. Shuman
This first novel is a good thriller. One of the main characters is Sherry Moore. Sherry is blind and has the ability to see the last 18 seconds of someone's thoughts in image form by touching them after death. Sherry is an orphan, found at the bottom of hospital steps in winter, almost frozen to death and with a skull fracture as a preschooler. She has no real memory of her past, just a couple of images. Her skill was discovered by accident and she now makes money by answering private requests for her skill. She also occasionally works with police, but the supernatural nature of her power dissuades this. She is friends with John Payne, the first policeman to discover her power.
Serial killer Earl Sykes has been released on parole after 30 years in jail for vehicular homicide. His serial killer past is not what put him in jail. He is dying of cancer, likely contracted by growing up near a toxic waste dump in New Jersey and playing there as a young person. He wants to find his old girlfriend to make sure she doesn't talk about his past. He moves back to his hometown and resumes killing.
Local police lieutenant Kelly O'Shaunessy is trying to find young women who've gone missing in suspicious circumstances. These three storylines come together for a dramatic plot.

Finished March 21
The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck
Claude Reynaud is a dressmaker living in a small town outside of Paris. He grew up being trained in his career by his father, and has the uncanny ability to take his clients' measurements by looking at them, is a great judge of the right look for his clients, and fashions every dress by hand. He has grown in popularity and now has fashionable clients from Paris who come to him for special events such as weddings. One day, the bride-to-be Valentine de Verlay comes to him for her wedding dress and he finds himself falling for her. He has difficulty keeping the relationship professional and thinks she may have feelings for him too.
Meanwhile he remains close to his nephews who stop in his shop after school, where he does a puppet show for the younger ones and encourages the older to enhance his drawing skills and perhaps follow in his footsteps. The plot is unpredictable and interesting, but I found the characters lacked depth.

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