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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson

Josee Walker has returned to the hometown of her birth parents with her mind full of questions of why she was given up for adoption. Her birth father, Marsh Addison, a wealthy vintner, wants nothing to do with her because of what she reminds him of. But Kara Addison sets out to an arranged meeting place to meet the child she gave up years before. But when Kara disappears and her car is found at the bottom of a ravine, Marsh, Josee, and a local police officer are forced to join forces against something evil and sinister that wants to control them. Marsh discovers something uneasy about his father's past, and Josee discovers something terrifying about her boyfriend. Before they know it, they are thrust into a race against time, fighting against the supernatural and a potential end to the world. It's only a matter of time...

Debut novels from spec authors are not usually very interesting. Eric Wilson adapts a typical save-the-world situation, mixes it with a supernatural plot, a custody case, a kidnapping case, and a few original elements. Perhaps this is the reason for its 400+ page length. Yet I found that the length only prolonged the agony of unoriginality.

The characters lack personalities, yet most of them are imperfect. They make wrong choices that lead to some consequences. Giving the characters personalities would have raised the rating slightly. The villains are quite typical, even though one of their identities is unexpected. Demon possession has been taken to the extreme in villains. It has become very cheesy and sensational and should be discontinued unless it is going to be used in a correct way.

There are many mixed plot elements in Dark to Mortal Eyes. Eric Wilson underlies a chess theme that is used in an un emphasized and interesting fashion. There is virtually no romantic subplot, even though Eric hints at several. This was one of the stronger points because most authors believe that a romantic subplot is a staple to fiction, especially debut authors. A conflict is introduced to whether Josee is really Marsh's child or not, but it was unnecessary because it was resolved. There is one key character who is seized by demon possession but is never recovered from their grasp. Marsh's father is not found to be innocent of the matter in the end.

All these conflicting elements cause this book is be a little above average. It is good to know that Eric Wilson has learned from his mistakes and his written better books since this one. This shows the mark of an author who wants to improve.

3 stars

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