Monday, October 3, 2016

Face Blind by Lance Hawvemale

First Sentence:  No rain has fallen here in four hundred years.
Gabriel Traylin witnesses a murder outside an observatory in Chili’s Adacama desert.  By the time the police arrive, the body has disappeared.  What is found is a bag containing a severely mutilated body.  Due to prospagnosia, a neurological condition which prevents one from being able to differentiate facial features, Gabe can’t describe the killer, or the victim, to the police, making him a suspect.  With the help of three strangers, Gabe sets out to find the killer he thinks of as The Messenger.
How fascinating to be in a setting new to most readers—“Four hundred years, not a single teardrop from the sky.  … Precipitation here was measured in millimeters, and even then it came only as an infrequent fog—and to learn about a neurological condition of which I doubt many readers have heard, let alone trying to imagine living with—“Gabe has grown up recognizing is mother by her clothing, her slender wedding band, and of course by her voice.”
Such unique characters Hawvemale has created; Gabe who can’t recognize faces, Mira and her brother Luke who can only read the words in one book, Ben the author of that one book which is the only book he ever wrote, and Vicente who is Gabe’s friend from the observatory.  Yes, there are a few TSTL (too stupid to live) moments, but they make a weird sense when you consider the characters.
The author has an interesting use of language—“Gabe closed his eyes and wove that name on the loom in his mind.  Alban Olivares. He bound the threads around the soldier’s fallen body, making him into something more than just a runner in the night.  By christening him, Gabe created  him.”—so much so one is inclined to check whether it is a translation.  The plot is highly unpredictable.  You never quite know where it’s going, but it’s filled with excellent twists.  When danger comes, it is as unexpected and shocking to the reader as if it was real.  The story has a good ending, even if a bit unbelievable.
FaceBlind” is hard to describe but completely absorbing.  It may not be the best written book, but it definitely a compelling read.         

FACE BLIND (Susp-Gabe Traylin-Chile-Contemp) – G+
      Hawvemale, Lance – 1st in series
      Minotaur Books – August 2016

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