A Trick of the Light
A Trick of the Light has a suspenseful psychic plot line and is a good bet for paranormal fans sick of the flat characterization so often found in this subgenre.
While trying to help a duck safely cross the road, kind-hearted Chloe Samm is struck by a speeding car. Chloe dies (for a few minutes) and while crossing over, a strange woman approaches her and begs her to go back and find her son Teddy, whom she hid before her death.
Dylan McKain believes it is his fault that his wife, Wanda, was speeding and caused the accident that leads to her death and nearly ended Chloe’s life. Dylan had been following Wanda because she had been acting strangely and had refused to let him see their son. He is too late to save Wanda but revives Chloe and overhears her ask “who’s Teddy?” when she regains consciousness. Can it be a strange coincidence that she just happens to mutter his missing son’s name? He doesn’t think so, and in desperation questions her and is not satisfied with her answer. Chloe insists that she doesn’t know anybody named Teddy and tries to explain her near death encounter to Dylan whose knee-jerk reaction is to assume that she had something to do with his son’s disappearance. Despite his doubts about Chloe’s sanity, she becomes Dylan’s only hope when the police exhaust all leads and become too busy to look for little Teddy. It seems that Chloe’s accident has awakened psychic powers and she’s been having dreams of Teddy.
If you asked me early on what I thought the chances were that these two would end up falling deeply in love, in a believable manner, I would have said slim to none. After all, Dylan’s wife dies in the opening pages of the book and the poor man is an emotional mess throughout the story. His three year old son is missing and odds aren’t good that he’ll be found in time. How can one think of beginning any kind of relationship while in the midst of such a desperate situation? I wondered this often while reading the first hundred pages, but as the story developed and more of Dylan’s past was revealed, I found myself losing my reservations and rooting for the couple to get together.
Dylan is far from perfect hero material at the beginning of the story. He grew up without love (yeah, yeah, I know you’ve heard that one before but you’ll have to trust me because it really does make sense here). His mother was mentally unstable and his father became a workaholic to escape. Dylan follows in has dad’s footsteps without even realizing it. He marries a woman who is beautiful on the outside but very disturbed on the inside, they have a child, and he becomes a workaholic. He has built an impenetrable wall around his heart and has enough emotional baggage for ten heroes but he changes into a better person over the course of the book. Really, he does. Still, this is one guy who needs lots of tender loving care.
Lucky for him he meets Chloe. And even luckier for us readers. Chloe saves the book from becoming too morose to bear. She is a sweetheart of a heroine with one of the most likable personalities that I’ve come across in a good long while. She’s strong, quirky, and smart with a tender heart. She also has some very humanizing insecurities. But the best thing about Chloe is her unwillingness to change anything about herself to please someone else despite the fact that she has felt like a misfit her entire life. Chloe’s great, more heroines should be like Chloe.
I recommend A Trick of the Light for those who can appreciate a fairly complex read, even though some of the sub-plots are wrapped up a bit too neatly. The narrative is occasionally interrupted by secondary characters and their own issues. But these flaws are overshadowed by the strength of the characterizations, as well as the fact that this enjoyable paranormal romance has such a strong romantic component. What a wonderful change of pace from the many mediocre paranormals out there who over-emphasize the suspense to the detriment of the romance!
|Review Date:||February 10, 2000|