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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Waking Lazarus by T L Hines

The first time Jude Allman died he was eight years old.

That has got to be one of the best opening lines ever.


Jude Allman has died three times. Three times he has been inexplicably raised from the dead. Once when he was eight, once when he was sixteen, and once when he was twenty-four. He is now thirty-two and lives an undercover life as a janitor. He must live under the alias of Ron Gress because one can become a celebrity for dying three times. He is divorced to his wife and son and lives alone. But he has a gift. He has know idea where it came from. All he knows is that it works. By physical touch with a person he can know what is going on in that person's life or what has gone on in their past. This gift comes in handy when his son is kidnapped.

Because this book comes before The Dead Whisper On, I wasn't sure whether it would be good or not. But clearly, The Dead Whisper On was a major slump for T L Hines.

Jude is a very interesting and surprisingly realistic character. Every morning he disengages his elaborate alarm system, searches the house for intruders, and sweeps the house for bugs. This is the reason his wife left him. His paranoia has driven him from the outside world. He is paranoid because everywhere he goes, people recognize him as the dead guy who was raised to life three times.

None of the characters are perfect, in fact. They are all normal people except for the fact that they lack true personality.

The villain, though at first he seems like a mindless serial killer, is not who you would expect it to be. He is not a typical villain, even though he uses random capital words like Quarry and Normal. He is very intriguing and his identity is surprising.

The end of the book is ambiguous if not slightly predictable. There is one part I knew Hines would do, but there are other parts he surprised me with.

So what keeps it from being five stars? The predictable part of the end, and the lack of personalities in the characters. Otherwise, T L Hines has produced an unexpected Elite novel.

Since T L started out this well, I expect him to do more great things in the future like this one and less horrible things like The Dead Whisper On.

4 stars

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