Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Shimmer

Publisher's Summary. Creator of Rambo and co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization, David Morrell has been called “the father of the modern action novel.” Now this award-winning, New York Times bestselling author delivers The Shimmer, a novel of chilling impact.

When police officer Dan Page’s wife disappears, her trail leads to Rostov, a remote Texas town where unexplained phenomena attract hundreds of spectators each night. Not merely curious, these onlookers are compelled to reach this tiny community and gaze at the mysterious Rostov Lights.

But more than the faithful are drawn there. A gunman begins shooting at the lights, screaming “Go back to hell where you came from!” then turns his rifle on the innocent bystanders. As more and more people are drawn to the scene of the massacre, the stage is set for even greater bloodshed.

To save his wife, Page must solve the mystery of the Rostov Lights. In the process, he uncovers a deadly government secret dating back to the First World War. The lights are more dangerous than anyone ever imagined, but even more deadly are those who try to exploit forces beyond their control.

With The Shimmer, David Morrell takes readers on a brilliant, terrifying journey. Suspenseful, yet thought-provoking, it is the master at his very best.

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Review. By Renee A.J. Dan Page is a good guy, who tries to do the right thing, yet something out of kilter with his life – somehow his life doesn’t seem to be working. Thing’s haven’t totally gone bad – but they look like they’re going that way. Dan is a good luck seems to be running a bit short. On his day off, he’s flying his small plane for relaxation and ends up helping his fellow police officers chase a suspect in an SUV – the chase ends with an explosion as the SUV hits a gasoline truck. Dan imagines the agony of the truck driver who died in the flames. Dan stops by his home and finds that his wife, Tori, has left him with a note says that she’s on her way to see her mother. Unfortunately, Tori’s mother doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of the visit. Dan follows Tori’s to the small town of Rostov, Texas where she has become enraptured with an odd phenomena of colored lights called the Rostov Lights. This is where the story begins to weave a mystery, a history, a love story, a competition, and a government conspiracy into a journey of strength and self-discovery for a cast of characters.

The Rostov Lights seem to affect individuals in many different ways – some don’t see any lights and call them a hoax. Some see a shimmer of colored orbs and call them an optical illusion. A few local residents are simply satisfied to watch the Ghost Lights seeing them as mysterious, beautiful, and possibly healing. Col. Warren Raleigh seems the view the lights and the mysterious sounds that accompany them as an alien weapon that can cause men to perform great acts of violence; therefore he hopes to harness the power of their power as a weapon for the U.S. military. My sole criticism is that the author may have tried to include too many perspectives from too many characters - yet, by the end of the book, I wanted to know how each character had managed his or her vision. Tori is entranced by the lights, which Dan can’t see. As Tori turns away, Dan allows himself to expand his view and he, too, sees the lights. And somehow the theme of the story – though told from various perspectives by various characters – seems to be not so much the alien phenomena, but rather humanity’s reaction.

Dan’s muses “The[lights] match what people bring to them. If you need something to believe in, they’ll inspire you, but if you’ve built a wall around yourself, you won’t be able to see them. If you’re angry, they’ll make you angrier. If you want to turn them into a weapon, they’ll use that weapon against you and make you realize just how terrifying a weapon can be.”
“Plus, if you hope hard enough for a miracle,” Tori said, “they can make one happen.”

The Shimmer details Dan’s growth, celebrates the essential strength of his character, and brings healing to the relationship between Dan and his wife. I think that these interwoven tales might help many of us cope with today's confusions by remembering that the essential gifts of good deeds and good people will ultimately triumph over greed, deception, violence, and military might.

Publisher: Vanguard Press (July 7, 2009), 352 pages
Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the publisher and FSB Associates.


  1. I've never read anything by this author, but this sounds really good.

  2. This was not a huge hit with me. It was just okay. You did a great review.

  3. Mary D

    Previous to your review, I'd not heard much about this book - you did a very good job, btw :)
    I've heard about similar phenonema (like the Phoenix Lights) and am curious to read it, might see if my library has a copy. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Nice review.
    Perhaps a book I could introduce to my nonreading boyfriend