Sweetwater Books - Thriller/Paranormal
When the author contacted me about reviewing A Circle of Souls, it sounded fabulous. I'm a little squeamish about violence in books, but I liked the sound of the paranormal aspect -- a young girl whose dreams are actually psychic messages from a murdered child.
The squeamish bit kept me from reading it for quite a while. I received the book in July and didn't read it till December because I kept thinking it was something I would have to be in the right mental state to handle -- and apparently, I pretty much never consider myself in the right mental state to handle violence, but I finally opened the book and found that I couldn't put it down. What a shock to find that in spite of the initial horror (the young girl's death is pretty brutal) the pages absolutely flew.
A Circle of Souls has two storylines that converge. A young girl is found brutally murdered and FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving missing children, is called in to help solve the case. I'm actually writing this backwards -- first, the reader gets to know the murderer in a vague way and then the little girl strays into his path and is killed. That part is horrible and I don't believe it's a spoiler or I wouldn't have mentioned it. It's not till later on that Leia is brought in to investigate, when some clues are uncovered and it becomes certain that the missing girl is not alive.
Around the same time of the murdered girl's death, a seven-year-old girl named Naya is brought in to the Emergency Room after a nightmare caused her to endanger herself by climbing onto a balcony wall in her sleep. Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist assigned to Naya's case to determine the cause of her nightmares, first decides he must rule out any physical cause (such as brain tumor or seizures) before checking her into an inpatient children's psychiatry unit to attempt to unravel the problem.
Naya is a remarkably skilled artist who draws images of her dreams. When the psychiatrist in charge of Naya's care realizes her dreams are actually psychic images sent by the murdered girl (her explanations of her sketches help lead him to that conclusion), he connects with Leia, the agent in charge of the murder investigation, to help her solve it.
I was stunned at how beautifully this book was written. I didn't pay attention to information about the author, at first, but it was written in a way that made me think either he was an amazing researcher or a genuine physician -- especially during scenes that ring true to my own experience, such as the doctor having to dicker with people at the girl's insurance company to make sure she got the care she needed. I finally flipped to the back and found that the author is, in fact, a psychiatrist. Not all physicians can write so well, though, in spite of their knowledge. I found the book impressive in craftsmanship. Besides being well structured, the author nicely inserts his medical expertise without ever going overboard and carefully doles out clues in order to maintain suspense.
A Circle of Souls was by far the most gripping book I've read in ages, well-balanced and written in a way that convinces you, "This could happen." For the subject matter -- a girl who is receiving messages from a murdered child -- I think it's pretty stunning the way the author pulled it off and maintained suspension of disbelief.
5/5 - A gripping, beautifully written, believable story. I couldn't put this book down and look forward to future works from this author.
Just finished:The Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories by Roald Dahl
Plus, I'm a sucker for a bookish quote. As a side note, I have forgiven my mother for raising me on that disgusting dried crap known as Nestea. You have to wonder what she was thinking. It took half a sugar bowl to make that stuff palatable. I didn't taste brewed tea until I was a married woman. Anyone who thinks that's beyond weird, hold up your hand.
Now drinking:Novel Teas. You've probably heard about Novel Teas. I need to find a link to let you know where to buy some because I'm not even sure where to find the stuff, but for now . . . just a word about the tea. I've seen this particular brand of tea mentioned at other blogs and I wasn't quite sure I got the point, then I was contacted and asked if I'd like to sample it. So, now I "get it". It is simply a good blend of tea with a little tag containing a bookish quote. I like tea, although I don't think you could call me a huge tea drinker -- I tend to veer toward flavored and herbal teas. But, I can tell you I do love this tea. It's smooth, not bitter. I don't drink sugar in my tea unless it has a bite to it and there's no tang that needs to be covered up in Novel Teas.
Gotta go baby my furball. Hope your Wednesday was full of wahoos!