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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

The Future is Written / Jonas Saul

The Future Is Written (Sarah Roberts) - Jonas Saul

When Sarah Roberts blacks out, she wakes to find prophetic notes mysteriously
written by her own hand. After receiving a message that someone is about to
be kidnapped with instructions on how to stop it, Sarah’s convinced it won’t be hard
to do. She is wrong.

 

The kidnappers take Sarah instead. She’s thwarted them in the past, and they
want to know how she keeps showing up where she has no business being.

 

Sarah needs help from the police, but they’re hunting her for a different reason.
They found her notebook riddled with prophetic messages, linking her to crimes and
unsolved cases. Is she a vigilante keeping score? Or on a citywide crime spree?

 

Armed with a note that simply states, save yourself, Sarah struggles to stay alive
using her wit and street smarts.

 

First things first: this was really outside my wheelhouse. Not my thing at all. However, the premise was an interesting one, something with potential. This author will be coming to a conference that I’m attending in August and I try to read something by each key note speaker before the conference so I will know who I want to hear more from. I had to order this book by interlibrary loan—my local library had nothing by this author. It turns out that this book was actually a collection of three (as I discovered at the end) though I had guessed that as I was reading.

Thrillers are really not my cuppa tea. I had a similar experience with another author at the conference last year—he was a lovely man, I just couldn’t enjoy his books. Which is fine. There’s a lid for every pot, and these type of books just aren’t my “lid.” I had to laugh, though, when I realized that the bad guys in both this and one of the books I read last year threatened their male associates with castration if they failed. Seriously, is this a thing?

I have come to the conclusion that thriller readers are in it for the plot and only the plot. The characters tend to be cardboard stereotypes and the action is non-stop, with no chances to slow down and consider implications or underlying themes. The paranormal aspects of this book were what made it tolerable for me—Sarah (the main character) is an automatic writer who receives messages from the “Other Side.” Sometimes oddly specific—be under this bridge at this time on this day. Bring a hammer. There’s enough ambiguity to make it challenging.

I realized as I read the afterword that I’ll be interested to hear this author speak at least once at the conference. He described the vivid dreams that he had of his deceased brother that inspired the novel. I’ve experienced similar things and could appreciate what he has done with his ideas.