03 January 2015

Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

 Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn't sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.

When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls' parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the "third eye."

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.
Rick Reed is so consistently good, I always know it’s going to be at least a 4 star read for me even before I’ve laid eyes on the first words. This one is a bit of a departure for him and I was excited to read it for that reason. There’s a lot more darkness in here than his typical fare and it even edges into Stephen King territory (something that one of the main characters alludes to in the beginnings of the weirdness). I’m also a sucker for a serial killer plotline – not sure what that says about me – but it’s true.

The story opens with the harrowing description from a thirteen year-old girl’s point of view on just how she managed to allow herself to fall into the clutches of a psycho. It’s heartbreaking not only in the sense of the tragedy of it all, but in how well Reed takes us through her inner reasoning as to why it seemed like a good idea to get into a car with this stranger. Reed is spot on as he portrays her behavior and thoughts and reactions – going from wanting to impress a handsome man and not be treated like a child anymore, to discomfort and confusion, to outright panic and terror. I get chills now just remembering it.

Next, we are introduced to one of the MC’s – Cayce. He’s the notorious gay single dad in this small town on the banks of the Ohio River. It’s long seen its hey-day. And most of the residents just muddle through their daily lives as best they can. Cayce is hanging around his small home, pondering, when he realizes his seven year old son, Luke, isn’t in the front yard. A bad storm is brewing and he begins to worry over where his son might be. As he races around outside in the increasingly raging storm, he’s almost struck by lightning and a heavy branch breaks off a tree and whacks him on the head. After that event, he starts having visions of not very nice things. One of them involves a dead thirteen year-old girl.

Once you reach this point – which is essentially only the beginning – you cannot put this book down. I had to know what was going to happen and how everything would play out. Dave, a slightly older, Sam Elliot-esque reporter complete with a British accent, becomes involved in the peculiar situation Cayce finds himself in. As you can imagine – his weird visions are not treated with seriousness and almost serve to get him into trouble – as well as danger.

I loved the romance between these two very different men. It’s not the main part of the story, but it provides a feeling of hope. Both men have been alone and unlucky in love and they are brought together through tragedy and the hopelessness of finding these young girls when it’s too late to save them. How they work together to deal with all that’s happening is what made them work for me as a couple.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced story and would recommend it to anyone who loves reading suspense thrillers, crime or mystery. Be warned however - there is graphic violence and visions of child rape, if that is a trigger for you.

My rating for Third Eye is an enthusiastic 5 lizard claws.


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