Secondhand Sight

Fiction - Supernatural
428 Pages
Reviewed on 08/16/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John L. Leonard was born in Savannah, Georgia and graduated from Savannah Christian School. He holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Georgia and worked as a computer programmer for more than twenty years before becoming a writer.

John has spent most of his adult life in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. His writing has also been influenced by shorter stints working as a bartender, real estate investor and landlord.

He has been married to wife Lisa for twenty-three years and is the proud father of two and grandfather of three, as well as pack leader for several wonderful dogs and a hostile Maine Coon cat.

His first non-fiction book was published in 2010.

John writes detective novels under the pen name Rocky Leonard. His first detective thriller was published in 2012.

The local color in his writing is equally authentic whether the setting is a Georgia beach, downtown Atlanta, or the Appalachian foothills in north Georgia.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite

Dan Harper is just an ordinary guy, having an ordinary day until he spills sauce on his tie during lunch. When he visits a Humane Society thrift store near his office for an inexpensive replacement, merely touching a secondhand tie triggers a flood of gruesome images only he can see. Blood spatters the mirror and his hands. He looks again, and the images disappear. He is under pressure at work, and his wife, pregnant with their first child, has been rushed to hospital. Could it be stress? Are these images hallucinations, or suppressed memories, or, even more horrifying to contemplate, are they the consequences of his own actions? When Dan starts having strange dreams in which he sees and speaks to the victims, and even watches the murders unfold before his eyes, he knows he is in trouble psychically. He seriously doubts his sanity, and even imagines he has a brain tumor causing the weird flashes. Dan desperately wants these visions to be nothing more than a product of his imagination, but soon enough, his efforts to play detective reveal real crime scenes and murder victims. Dan can no longer ignore the unseen powers forcing him to confront the demons of his past. Dark forces prod him to seek the identity of the faceless murderer haunting his dreams. His attempts to alert the police draw suspicion to him. Dan’s worst fear is that he’ll eventually see the face of this brutal killer in the last place he wants to look — the mirror.

What a riveting read! This book grabbed me from the first page. Author John Leonard creates a thrilling and chilling murder mystery, with an intriguing touch of the paranormal. The title is apt, describing Dan’s ‘second hand’ flashes, which come from the object he touches. The threads pull together via various characters’ points of view, to a harrowing climax. I also liked the way the characters’ relationships develop and strengthen; and in the midst of all the mayhem, people find themselves and each other. The plot is deceptively simple because it is so ingenious. Dan’s descent into a manic paranoia is skillfully documented, and one feels for him in the mental confusion that accompanies his visions. The author also includes some interesting thoughts on the nature of dreams, hallucinations, psychometry (psychic revelations via touching objects), and the power of the mind. Murder mystery and paranormal fans will love this book.

Anne B.

Dan Harper’s day started out as usual. He went to work, settled in at his desk, and talked to his co-worker/friend Tiffany. He and his wife Beth were expecting their first child and she was beset with constant morning sickness. Dan planned to do a little shopping for the nursery on his lunch hour. A fast food lunch left his tie spotted with horseradish sauce. Knowing he couldn’t return to the office with a ruined tie, Dan headed to the new thrift shop for a replacement. The moment he touched the tie he knew something was wrong. He felt queasy; he saw blood on his hands and clothes. His hand felt heavy as he saw a circular saw in it. He saw the body of a naked dead woman and in his vision he was cutting her into pieces. Then he began having visions: an old man in the house, an old woman in the living room . . . What was happening to Dan? Could the tie somehow allow Dan to look inside the mind of the serial killer terrorizing the Windsor Forest area? Is Dan’s life in danger? What about Beth? Would she and the baby survive?

This book is both mystery and paranormal at its finest. John Leonard’s "Secondhand Sight" grabs the reader’s attention right from the start. The suspense slowly builds to an amazing crescendo. Dan Harper is a great character; he is a devoted husband and soon to be father. His character demonstrates great courage throughout this tale. The character of detective Wassner is very realistic. He is skeptical at first and then allows himself to trust Dan. I found the ending of "Secondhand Sight" to be very satisfying. There is just a touch of Christianity without being preachy or over the top. The ending also leaves room for a sequel. John Leonard is an extremely talented author. I look forward to reading more of his books. I do hope he plans a Dan Harper series. "Secondhand Sight" is an extremely entertaining read. Mystery fans won’t want to miss it.

Alice D.

Dan Harper lives in Roswell, Georgia, with his pregnant wife Beth and their cat Abby. Dan works as a technical expert for Quick Pay, a software company which services cash registers, card swipe boxes, and ATM's. Despite getting in trouble once in college, Dan now prides himself on getting along with everyone. He goes to the new Humane Society thrift shop to volunteer and buys one of their neckties to replace his soiled one. Wearing the tie, Dan sees his hands covered in blood and good friend Tiffany from work lying dead on the floor. Pulling and tearing, Dan finally gets the necktie off when he reaches home. Beth falls, hurts her head and is hospitalized as she needs to gain weight in her pregnancy. On the way home from the hospital Dan finds himself going to a strange, dark house that he is convinced is related to the awful necktie he bought at the thrift shop. Suffering hallucinations and blackouts, Dan is stopped by the police when he visits the strange, dark house on Maid Marian Lane a second time. The elderly couple who own the house have been attacked, the man killed and the woman badly wounded. Then, Dan dreams of a Peter Bristol and finds his submerged body in a unkempt Stone Mountain lake. Psychic Anita tells Dan he has the gift of sight through touch but what does this mean and will Dan, Beth and their baby be okay?

"Secondhand Sight" is a first-rate thriller with suspense that builds and builds believably to the story's final pages. Dan Harper's developing gift of insight through things he touches is unique and a good device that propels the story to its riveting conclusion. All characters are fascinating, especially Peter Bristol who communicates with Dan from the dead. "Secondhand Sight" is a must read for everyone!