"Eyes to See" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Tor | Forge
Written by Joseph Nassise
2011, 320 pages, Fiction
Released on October 11th, 2011
What are the limits you would go to in order to find your missing child? Naturally, any parent would say there are no limits, but do they really mean that? Would you be willing to give up your eyesight just for a chance to find your kid? Not a guarantee, mind you, just a chance. What if the caveat to that is you will just be blind to the living world as you'd be able to see the dead. And, oh yeah, they will take a notice of you. Still game?
In Joseph Nassise's appropriately titled Eyes to See, the main character Jeremiah Hunt did exactly that. When his daughter went missing, his attempt to find her so consumed his life that his wife ended up leaving him. Alone and possessed with searching for his offspring, Jeremiah followed any lead — no matter how small — and took any chance, no matter how big. And the consequences of one of his drastic actions was that he was blinded. Well, the blind part was intentionally done. The real consequence was he could now see the dead, and they could see him. Having lost his job as a college professor, he has been using his newly discovered skill to make ends meet as a consultant for the local police department. One of the detectives thinks Jeremiah is a psychic, which isn't quite true. Jeremiah doesn't see the future and he can't touch something and get a vibe. Instead, with the help of a mysterious ghost named Whisper, Jeremiah is able to see what happened to the victims through their eyes, in the last seconds of their lives. To say it's a ride on the crazy train would be an understatement.
It is on one of these cases that Jeremiah discovers a very strange connection to his daughter, and he enlists the help of Denise, a witch, and Dmitri, an all around badass with his own tricks up his sleeve. The three get knee-deep in a mystery that involves demons, ghosts, serial killing and more. Oh, and did I mention Scream, another ghost who aids Jeremiah like Whisper does? Yeah, you never want this guy on your bad side. Ever.
While I'd heard of Joseph Nassise before Eyes to See (most notably his Templar Chronicles series which I have, but have not the opportunity to read yet), I had not read any of his work, so I did not know what to expect. What I got was an engaging novel that combined two of my favorite genre's quite seamlessly: mystery and horror. Oft time when an author has strength in one genre or another, it usually sticks out where their strong suit is, but not here. Nassise effortlessly handles both, effectively creeping me out in some parts and keeping me guessing in others.
I really love how the Jeremiah Hunt character is an asshole. Bitter about the hand life has dealt him, he has a tendency to misplace his anger. Often, Denise is on the receiving end of this (although she does manage to put Jeremiah in his place a few times in the book). I prefer my main characters to have an angry edge to them, and Nassise delivers that to me here. Plus, as much anger as Jeremiah has, he is never unlikable and his distemper is not just acceptable, but expected due to his unfortunate situation.
All of the characters in Eyes to See are well written. While Dmitri is a bit cookie cut straight out of the Russian Bad Guy Handbook, all of the side characters are interesting enough that I want to know more about them; Scream in particular. This cat expounds large amounts of damage when called upon and he's a complete mystery. Granted, you find out who he really is at the end of the book, but it's not enough. Fortunately, Eyes to See is noted as "Jeremiah Hunt #1" on Nassise's website, so perhaps in future books I'll get my wish of a deeper background.
As great a job with the characters Nassise did, the best part of Eyes to See is how mean it is. Not only does he beat the hell out of his characters regularly, but the ending is one hell of a punch. And not the good kind of punch you get from your mistress until you shout out your safety words "Golden Grahams!", but that awful hit that comes in slow motion. You feel the air change slightly because you know something bad is coming, you see the wind up and you can't stop reading as the bruiser of an ending is delivered. The whole time I was reading the inevitable conclusion, I was thinking how unfair it was, but Nassise, like the woman who doesn't care about your Golden Grahams, doesn't give a shit about your meaningless feelings and follows through. And that's what a good writer is: A mistress who fulfills your needs whether you like it or not.
If Eyes to See is indeed the start of a series as Joseph Nassis's site suggests, then this is a fantastic introduction to Jeremiah's world. The character is one that I have immediately taken a liking too, and I can't wait for his next case because I'm going to be right there with him tagging along. And with Nassise guiding the way, I know it will be a helluva journey.