Pros: Dramatic, gripping tale of murder, psychic abilities, scientific discovery, and psychopaths.
Cons: One almost-borderline not-quite deus ex machina
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Jackson Lee’s life changed forever when he picked up his little sister’s pink shoe and realized she was dead. Tess’s death kicked off a bloodbath that left Jackson with only his other little sister, Glory, as family—and the state separated them. Jackson did everything he could to avoid using his new ‘gift’, even acting as a carnival psychic strictly as a con. Finally he found a place for himself, actually using his gift for money as the All Seeing Eye. He’s still skeptical, bitter, and nearly alone, but he has a dog, one friend, and a bit of peace. At least, until someone comes from the government to blackmail him with his sister Glory’s troubles. The military needs his help to contain an experiment-gone-wrong that’s triggering horrific reenactments of old murders. Now Jackson is caught up in a dangerous and bizarre situation that can’t possibly end well for him.
Rob Thurman’s All Seeing Eye is probably best described as a paranormal mystery—paranormal referring to psychic powers and related government experiments in this case. As for the mystery, we find out early on that there’s been a murder. We get to try to figure out whodunit as Jackson tries to avoid being the next casualty. Nothing makes a murderer as paranoid as having a psychic on board, even if that psychic needs to touch people or their belongings in order to ‘read’ them.
All Seeing Eye is fast-paced, with plenty of explosions and assassination attempts, races-against-time to prevent the reenactment of old horrors, and danger galore. It still remains an intensely personal story told from Jackson’s point of view, in which he’s forced to allow people into his life despite all desire and better judgment to the contrary. And he’s going to have to push his gift farther than he ever has before, risking his sanity and his life in the process.
My only feeble complaint is that there’s a sequence of events toward the end that could come across as a deus ex machina. However, I think that there are sufficient small clues and feeder events leading up to it that it ends up on the good side of that line.
The first time I read this book, I shed tears at the end. The fact that I read it a second time speaks very well of it indeed, since I don’t often re-read books. It’s one of those books where it helps to go back afterward and catch all the little things you missed the first time around.
If you enjoy the genre/premise, then by all means pick up All Seeing Eye—it’s a fascinating read with a rollercoaster of revelations and emotions.