Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Blind Rage" by Terri Persons

FBI Agent Bernadette Saint Clare is convinced that a series of supposed suicides by drowning are actually the work of a serial killer. The victims are all psychologically troubled women. When a woman is found drowned in a tub, Bernadette believes the killer has evolved to take a more active part in his killings. With her boss Tony Garcia, the suspect pool is narrowed down to Professor Finlay Wakefielder, Dr. Luke VonHader and Luke's younger brother Matthew VonHader.

Wakefielder runs a class on Suicide in Poetry, which was attended by some of the victims. Luke is a doctor who treated some of the victims. What could be the connection between them? Which one could be a killer? Bernadette, who also has a psychic ability to allow her to see through the killer's eyes, must find the culprit before another emotionally unstable woman becomes the next victim.

The back of this book claims this is "the most unique thriller you'll read all year". If by unique they mean reading about the world's most incompetent FBI agent who can't even use her psychic ability properly to help her solve a case, then they might be on the money. Otherwise, "Blind Rage" is a completely by-the-numbers effort that would be a lot shorter if the main investigators had two brain cells to rub together.

I loved how Bernadette is told by a student in the same class as one of the victims that she never spoke to the victim, only for Bernadette to then respond: "did she ever indicate to you she was having problems with a boyfriend?" Yep, Bernadette, you're real sharp. When her limited questioning skills fail to result in a suspect confessing all and sundry, she petulantly flat-out accuses them of murder, or in one case, attempting to murder her. Great way not to show all your cards at once, Bernadette. The author should have renamed her Bernadolt.

The red herrings that abound are clumsy and obvious. I wasn't able to pick the killer through any carefully laid clues. I simply picked a person who was never a suspect and just happened to be right. While I do like it when I'm right, since it doesn't happen very often, I think I prefer it in a mystery thriller when I'm proven wrong. That's the nature of a mystery, right?

The actual circumstances of Bernadolt's second sight are flimsy. She can handle an object and then see through the killer's eyes. She can also see dead people. In fact, the dead people she associates with are able to take corporeal form and use computers and move objects. Huh? Later in the novel, any injuries that befall the killer also happen to Bernadolt. Except, conveniently, when the killer is shot. Double huh? The author is unable to maintain any sort of consistency whatsoever with the supernatural angle, which basically renders the whole enterprise as ridiculous and tedious.

I've since found out that Terri Persons - which the book cover heralds as a "new" voice in crime fiction - is actually a pseudonym for Theresa Monsour, who previously published three books featuring Detective Paris Murphy. I read the first one - "Clean Cut", which was utterly routine and I didn't bother with any further entries. By the looks of things, Persons has now vanished off the radar again, since the next entry "Blind Sight" was published in 2009 and there hasn't been anything since. And if she does pop up again with a different name, I probably won't know until it's too late, because I will have already read the thing!

No comments:

Post a Comment