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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.