"You will not fear the terror of the night." —Psalm 91
A monstrous waking nightmare is pursuing graduate student Hailey Maniates across San Francisco to Golden Gate Park where she is rescued by a towering homeless man. She seems able to read her rescuer’s mind, but is it just a delusion? Doctors diagnose her as a paranoid schizophrenic and attempt to prescribe away her alleged hallucinations. But too many questions remain around Hailey and the man who saved her. He appears to suffer from her same mental condition and is convinced that some type of Gypsy vampire is trying to kill them both.
Against reason, Hailey finds herself more and more attracted to this strange man. But what if he is a fantasy? What if he is the monster?
Before my review I just want to share my tale of how I got a copy of Shade thanks to the wonderful author John B. Olson.
I first came across this book when it was being offered as part of the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing, right away I knew this would be a book for me. Sadly I was not chosen to be a match, but that wasn't going to stop this determined reader. With much nervousness I sought out the author John B. Olson and (biting back my shyness) contacted him in hopes that he may have a few extra ARCs lying around. I received a very nice email back from John stating that he did not have any, but he would forward my message on to his publisher, who did in fact send me out a copy of Shade asap. Woohoo did this author make my day!
Okay now onto the review. Pretty creepy cover eh? Not to mention the fantastic trailer. But how about the story itself? Yuppers, you guessed it, creepy stuff indeed. However, this isn't just a scary story, it also manages to mix in lots of suspense and a little bit of romance too. Strangest thing of all to me was that this book is considered by some to be Christian fiction, I didn't discover this until I'd finished reading it. Shade does contain a thought-provoking look at faith and how it relates and balances out with science and a fantastic battle between good and evil, but in no way is this novel religious-heavy like some Christian literature. It is simply a fun and enjoyable read, that I believe will appeal to people of all faiths.
Hailey, a graduate student, is the type of person that believes science can find an answer for everything. So when supernatural forces start wrecking havoc with her life (not to mention her mind) she feels like her world is shattering. The handsome Melchi is there for her though, as a protector, a teacher and a friend.
It seems that Melchi believes there is something evil out there, that he must stop. Now Hailey must come to terms with the fact that science cannot explain what is going on.This will not be as easy as one thinks, because Hailey and the people around her are convinced she is going insane...or maybe Melchi is the insane one? Who and what can she trust? Can she even trust herself anymore?
So we have the basic plot, it's a terrific good versus evil type of story, with a whole lot more thrown in the mix. Hailey and Melchi are amazingly well-developed characters. Witnessing the downward spiral that Hailey experiences really connects the reader to her and creates tonnes of emotional response. Melchi is quite the mysterious man, which keeps the pages turning as you try to learn just how he's involved and exactly what he's involved with. As Hailey experiences doubts about this man, the reader also starts to question things.
The plot of Shade quickly pulls the reader in and enmeshes them in the tumultuous mayhem that the characters are caught up in. Written in a well-paced mode the suspense grows with each chapter. Realistic dialogue helps to make this story and it's characters come to life. There are also touches of humour spread through the writing, here is one of my favourites: "That's right. Butter up the crazy person before she snaps and goes Ninja Turtle all over your car." Although there are a few places where the action and narrative flow become chaotic and a little confusing, these passages do manage to create a connection to how the characters are feeling. All in all, Shade was a very enjoyable read for me and I look forward to reading more from John B. Olson.
About The Author
John Olson is an award-winning novelist and speaker who lives with his wife Amy and two children in San Leandro, CA. John earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and did postdoctoral research at the University of California at San Francisco. After eight years as a director and principal scientist at a major scientific software company, John has quit his day job to devote himself full-time to a ministry of writing and speaking. He has won several awards for his writing, including a Christy Award, a Christy finalist, a Silver Angel award, and placement on the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age.
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