The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON (A Brown and De Luca Novel) by Maggie Shayne

Sleep with the Lights on by Maggie ShaynePublisher:  Mira Books
Release Date:  October 1, 2013
Pages:  384

About the Book:  Through the eyes of a killer...

Rachel de Luca has found incredible success writing self-help books. But her own blindness and the fact that her troubled brother has gone missing have convinced her that positive thinking is nothing but bull.

Her cynicism wavers when a cornea transplant restores her sight. The new eyes seem to give her new life, until they prove too good to be true and she starts seeing terrifying visions of brutal murders--crimes she soon learns are all too real.

Detective Mason Brown's own brother recently died, leaving behind a horrific secret. In atonement, Mason donated his brother's organs, though he's kept the fact quiet. Now he wants to help Rachel find her brother, but when he discovers the shocking connection between her visions and his own brother, he suddenly has to do everything in his power to save her from a predator who is somehow still hunting from beyond the grave.

Wanda's Thoughts:  The premise of this book is exciting and full of mystery and suspense. The tempo moves at a fast pace, never losing momentum. And the storyline, creepy and terrifying, with many graphic scenes, is totally unpredictable. 

Rachel de Luca has been blind for 20 years and having her sight restored to 20-20 was a pretty big deal. Rachel is an author who writes about how to create your own miracles, and now she has a miracle of her own. For six weeks after the surgery life was good for Rachel, but then the recurring nightmares begin and life was no longer serene. 

Organ recipients are getting more than just the organ donated from the donor. They are inheriting habits, tastes, memories and other tendencies that are not all pleasant. 

Detective Mason Brown, a strong and interesting character, is harboring deep, dark secrets. His brother, Eric, who committed suicide early on in the story, was a serial killer, and Mason was covering up this information that could destroy their family. A series of events occur and Rachel is the recipient of Eric's corneas. The "Wraith" - was he still hunting from the grave? And the story unfolds ---

This well written book has an intricate plot that just doesn't let go and a conclusion that took me by complete surprise. My big disappointment in the book was the vulgar language spoken by Rachel. The "F" word was repeatedly used and in my opinion it cheapened Rachel's character. I felt this profanity was not necessary to enhance the book. Unfortunately, I never connected to Rachel, not liking her from the beginning to the end. That being said - the author has crafted an engrossing novel - simply a great thriller. My rating, without the profanity would have been 5 stars, but because of it my final rating is 3.5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley to read and give an honest review. All opinions shared are my own.

About the Author:  I live in the teeny, tiny town of Taylor, NY, (Alliteration Alert!) though my mailing address is Cincinnatus, my telephone exchange is Truxton and I pay taxes and vote in Cuyler. All of these are at least in the same rural county in the southern hills of New York State; Cortland County. There are more cattle than people here. The nearest “big” cities are Syracuse and Binghamton and they are an hour away, in different directions, and not really all that big by most standards, though they both seem humongous to me. I look out my window to see rolling, green, thickly forested hills, wildflower laden meadows and wide open blue, blue skies. My road is barely paved. The nearest neighboring place is a 700 acre dairy farm.

My house is a big, century old farmhouse. I moved in here after my divorce in 2006. Just a little over a year later, the house, which I had named, SERENITY, burned. It was 99% gutted, and I lost my two dogs, Sally, an 11-year-old great Dane, and Wrinkles, my 14-year-old, blind bulldog. This was the culmination of my Dark Night of the soul, which had seemed to hit me all at once in 2006-2007. My mother died that year, after a 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was only 60. The youngest of my five daughters had left home that same year, and while that’s not a tragedy at all, it felt like one to me. Then came the divorce. And finally there was the fire--it seemed my darkest night wasn’t quite finished with me after all. I had lost almost everything before that point, and as I poked through the wet ashes and soot the next day, I realized that I had now been stripped all the way to the bone.

No better time to start over. (And no, I didn’t come to that realization that day--there were a few days of wallowing in pity first, particularly the day after the fire, when I hit a deer and smashed up my car, which I was practically living in!)

That’s when I started to laugh. Just sat on the side of the road as the deer bounded, uninjured and carefree, out of sight, and laughed. It was just too ridiculous at that point, to do anything else!

And from there, I picked myself up, and brushed myself off, and said, okay, there’s only one way to go from here. Forward. And that’s what I did. There I was at the age of harrurmphemmph, living in my one, mostly undamaged remaining room, with a dorm-sized mini-fridge, a futon, a TV, my cat (nine lives!) and a laptop. And not much else. (Though thank goodness the room that survived the fire, was a room that had its own attached bathroom!)

Since then I have rebuilt my beloved home, which really has become my haven, my “Serenity.” I share it now with my fiancĂ©, Lance, and we have accumulated quite the little family together. “Little” being a relative term. We have a pair of English Mastiffs, Dozer and Daisy, who weigh 203 pounds and 208 pounds respectively, and a little pudgy English Bulldog named Niblet, who is bigger than both of them, inside her mind. We also have the aforementioned cat, Glorificus (“Glory” for short,) who adores her canine pups and keeps them firmly in line. And we've acquired a pair of stray cats as well, a mother and son, Luna (Lulu for short) and Butters aka Buddy. Lulu showed up pregnant during a lunar eclipse, had a litter, and vanished again. We found homes for all the kittens except one. Butters. We got him fixed and kept him. A few months later, Lulu returned, again expecting. This litter was born on the "Monster Moon." Again, all the kittens were spayed and neutered and placed in homes, and this time we got Lulu to the vet in time to spay her before the cycle could repeat. 

Glory is not amused.

She has a story of her own, my old Glory cat, having been with me before the Dark Times descended, she went through it all with me, moved with me, survived the fire, and remains with me still. She's tolerating the newcomers. Barely.

My partner is an artist, a mechanic, a welder and an inventor, and the rumors are true, he is much younger than I