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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Shimmer by David Morrell (Book Review)



Title: The Shimmer
Author: David Morrell
Publisher: Vanguard Press


First Sentence: From fifteen hundred feet off the ground, the blue pickup truck looked like a Matchbox toy.

My synopsis: Dan Page is a police officer in Santa Fe. On his day off, he likes to fly his Cessna - it takes so much concentration to fly, that he is able to shut out all the negative things that happen on his job. On this day though, as luck would have it, he finds himself involved in a police chase. He is able to radio a gunman position to the cops on the ground - but isn't able to stop the fiery crash that actually ends the chase. He returns home with his guilt, only to find his wife, Tori, "gone". There is a note saying she has left to visit her mother in San Antonio.

When a day goes by and neither Page or his mother-in-law have heard from Tori, Dan puts in a missing person's report. Being a police officer he knows all the terrible things that can happen, so when he receives a call from a local officer in Rostov, Texas, saying that his wife is there and she is fine, Page is confused. The officer, Costigan, will not tell him why she is there, or any information really, just that he has to come there to understand.

Page flies his plan into a small airport in Rostov and locates the police department. Together with Costigan they locate his wife. She is sitting on an observation platform outside of town, just staring across a meadow. She does not even react when Page shows up. They are not there long before other people start to arrive. Evening comes and some of the watchers start to get excited, because they can see some lights in the distance. Some can't though and don't know what the fuss is about. Page can't see the lights at first, but remembers his father telling him that sometimes you have to change what you expect to see, and what you see will change. Eventually he sees the lights and gets swept up in the "dance" that they are doing.

These lights are called the Rostov lights and have been there for as long as anyone can remember, though no one can explain them. There is a facility outside of Rostov that has huge radio observatory dishes pointed towards the sky - all but one. One is pointed horizontally towards the horizon, but has been made to look as if it were being repaired. This is the most interesting one. On this particular night, it begins to pick up some strange music - music that not only can you hear - but you can taste it, feel it. It is clearer than it has ever been. This music is also being picked up at an Army Intelligence Command known as INSCOM and it is affiliated with the National Security Agency. They had been on this project for over 50 years. They are not just picking it up in Rostov but in three other locations around the world as well. They get set to send a team to Rostov as well.

As both the observatory facility and INSCOM are picking up these strange sounds, a gunman appears at the observation platform that is now filled with people from kids to families to a tour bus that has arrived. The gunman is having an adverse affect to the lights though and tells them to go back to hell where they came from. He begins shooting at them - only to turn and begin firing into the crowd. As Page gets his wife to relative safety, hears Costigan return fire, but the gunman hits Costigan first. This is turning out to be a nightmare.

My thoughts: From the reviews that I have read, people either loved this book or hated it. There didn't seem to be any "on-the-fence" opinions. I, myself, was glued to the book and couldn't read it fast enough. I am a fan of short chapters as it seems like you are covering more ground than you are. There is also a report named Brent in the story who I liked very much. You get to know him pretty well through out the book. I read First Blood many years ago in high school (think early '80s) and can remember liking it and using it for a report. I wish I could remember more of it so that I could contrast it with David Morrell's new book!

The Shimmer
Publisher/Publication Date: Vanguard Press, July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59315-537-7
352 pages

2 comments:

Sheila Deeth said...

I like short chapters too. Easier to put down and pick up when family members call me away.

Heidi V said...

This does sound like a interesting book.

Thanks for the review!

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