I will admit to a great deal of reluctance when sitting down to write this review. But it’s no use procrastinating. Sight Unseen was painful to read, and even more so to finish.
Faith Connors’s vocation to become a forensic investigator became clear early on, when she suspected her best friend’s untimely death to be murder, but wasn’t able to back up her suspicions with evidence. So Faith went out of her way to get all the required degrees, only to find upon her return that there were no public funds (and no need) for such a position in little Bradbury Falls, Pennsylvania. Luckily Faith is in possession of a wealthy uncle, Ramsey Parrish, who dotingly provides her with a forensic lab and team, and thus, as the story opens, 28-year-old Faith is a local homicide detective and forensic specialist, having worked her way up from county coroner and medical examiner, though she still does autopsies when then mood strikes.
Faith’s arsenal of expertise is finally called upon when philanthropic Uncle Ramsey is mysteriously murdered. However, poor Faith’s scientific investigation leads nowhere, so she reluctantly turns to a psychic for help. She teams up with loner Jonathan Ashland (whose only companion for the last five years has been his wise cat) to solve her uncle’s murder, falling in love with him while thwarting the villainous plans targeted against her.
My problems with Sight Unseen started right from the beginning and didn’t stop. The zoom-in into an obsessed stalker’s thoughts regarding heroine Faith makes an unremarkable beginning. After that the point of view switches to Faith, who conveniently takes a mental walk through her personal history while driving to her uncle’s place, where she finds him dead, with a supposedly ominous object (a paper heart that reads “To my Valentine”) in his pocket. Before I had the time to get over Faith’s subsequent lackluster (and unsuccessful) investigation, her homicide colleagues suggest she consult the local psychic to pick up the investigation’s dead ends. Sight Unseen then sets sail into psychic mysticism, with the author throwing in many bonus psychics along the way (including a cat).
Unfortunately, not only are the villains stereotypically over the top, the main characters are insultingly sappy. While psychic Jonathan is a cross between a good-natured bore and a pushover, heroine Faith certainly redefines the term TSTL. I can’t decide where Faith is at her best; being rude and self-righteous, or thinking in clichés and acting unimaginably fatuous. Considering she is the one who sought Jonathan’s help, her arrogance toward him is surprising. Jonathan might have reasons of his own to consent to aid Faith’s investigation (I rolled my eyes when I learned of his motivations later on), nevertheless I was baffled by how stoically he puts up with Faith’s condescending attitude, reasoning that he always goes through this with people anyway and has become used to it.
The author also loves spelling everything out repeatedly (perhaps that’s why her protagonists’ overwrought reactions and feelings always seemed stronger than mine).
“Every object her eyes skimmed renewed a memory she’d thought safely buried. Tears stung her eyes, and her hand trembled on the doorknob, before her knees buckled and she sank to the floor in tears. ‘Oh, Daddy, what do I do now? Where do I turn?’ She whispered tearfully, hugging herself as a wave of bitter agony washed through her.”
In the same vein, I scratched my head listening to the author’s happy depiction of poor Jonathan’s quick and undeviating infatuation with Faith, not able to fathom any chemistry between them. In fact I had to revisit the uninspiring sex scenes to come up with a sensuality rating for this review. Technically, the sensuality is “Warm.” However, the sex was mechanical and straight out of a how-to-write-sex-scenes romance textbook.
Despite hoping otherwise, Sight Unseen wasn’t a thrilling romantic suspense with romantic banter between a capable scientist heroine and her psychic opposite. Quite the contrary. The forensic suspense and romance underwhelmed me to a degree rarely encountered, and the psychic aspect was entirely overblown.