Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.
When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye.”
Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.
Before I even picked up this book, I had mixed feelings on how I thought I would like it (we all have those pre-reading feelings, it’s how we decided whether or not to buy a book). On one hand, I love Rick’s books. Every single one I’ve read has been good. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy horror/murder books. So I started reading with only slight hesitation. I have to say I’m glad I chose to read it because I would have missed an amazing book. Cayce’s mom is written such that you can’t stand her. She shows up in the beginning but not the end. If my parent did what she did and caused what she caused, then I would wash my hands of her as well! I hated that Detective Simmons though Cayce was a nut job when he went to try and help and explained his visions. But it turned out later that she was actually a great character. She is strong when she needs to be but compassionate as well. It was fun to see how Dave’s conscience checks changed from being about his job mostly and a little bit about supporting Cayce to completely supporting Cayce. The fact that he kept checking with himself why he was doing what he was doing was pretty great by itself. It was wonderful seeing the story from multiple points of view. Since it wasn’t mainly a romance, it felt like Rick had the freedom to look at other characters in the story and give them more of a voice. Seeing inside the head of one of the killers was interesting. I wasn’t expecting some of the justifications and thoughts the accomplice had. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the sense of place. I felt like I was there in Fawcettville, a fictitious town in Western Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh. There is a tiny opening for more books if Rick wants to write more. As someone that doesn’t like horror and killing, I’m asking for that to be a yes! However, there’s no loose ends that leave me hanging so if he never does I will be alright with that.
Four and a half
Cayce was just about to put the paper aside when another article—and a familiar name in the byline—caught his eye. “Teenager Reported Missing,” by Dave Newton. It wasn’t so much the headline that got his attention but the picture of the young girl beneath it. Pretty. Long blonde hair. And disturbingly familiar.
Even though Fawcettville was a small town, the girl’s name, Lucy Plant, didn’t ring any bells. Perhaps Cayce had waited on her at the Elite, the diner where he worked. But still, no specific recollection came back. Cayce couldn’t visualize the girl sitting at the counter, nor at one of the booths.
And yet she looked so familiar, as if she were someone Cayce was friends with, or even a relative.
Cayce scanned the story. The girl had been reported missing by her mother yesterday afternoon, just before the storm that had caused such a turn in Cayce’s own life.
There were no clues. The girl, at least according to her mother, could not possibly have been a runaway. “Lucy’s a good girl,” Amy Plant had told Fawcettville police detective JT Simmons. “She wouldn’t even go down the block to visit a friend without telling us first.”
The last time anyone had seen Lucy Plant was when her mother looked outside the living room window. Lucy had been playing with her Barbie dolls on the front lawn.
Cayce closed his eyes. He remembered, suddenly, the storm coming, and not knowing where Luke was. He sympathized with the girl’s mother and the panic she must have felt when she couldn’t locate her daughter.
A ceiling fan. Beneath his closed lids, Cayce saw a ceiling fan. He didn’t know why. He didn’t own one himself, and the one in his parents’ living room was an entirely different model from this one, which was white, with a plain globe. His parents’ fan had four frosted-glass light fixtures and faux wood blades.
Cayce kept his eyes closed, watching the ceiling fan whirl, its blades blurring and becoming singular. There was something wrong with the fan. It didn’t work quite right.
Cayce felt nauseated and opened his eyes. His face was glazed with sweat. His stomach churned, and he was afraid he would vomit. Why was seeing a ceiling fan so disturbing? Or was this some sort of aftershock, an effect of his accident?
Cayce didn’t think so.
He glanced down at the face of Lucy Plant and sucked in some air. “Oh my God,” he whispered, “she’s dead.”
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
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