Sleight of Light by Allan V. Cotter

Sleight of Light

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In Cotter’s debut thriller, a private eye clashes with an international cartel that has harnessed invisibility technology.

After lecturing to graduates at a university job fair in West Virginia, retired psychiatrist José Maxwell-Sanders is killed. Private investigator William Horner, who works for members of the United Nations Security Council, is there to learn more. He teams up with Dr. Art Bradbury—who saw Maxwell-Sanders as a father figure—and discovers that Maxwell-Sanders had an obsession with global conspiracies. Later, the pair is summoned to Toronto, where they investigate a safe-deposit box belonging to the late doctor. Fresh clues lead them to Dr. Rose Chrysler, a specialist in photonics, who confirms helping Maxwell-Sanders research the way light bends. Meanwhile, news of a deadly stage collapse in Texas spreads on television, and Art learns that mysterious military personnel surveyed the scene with clipboards. At their hotel, Horner and Bradbury receive an anonymous tip about a planned demonstration of invisibility that will cause chaos in London. While a shadowy group toys with the investigators, two sadistic assassins follow, murdering loose ends along the way. Soon, Horner and Bradbury end up in one of the most volatile places on Earth—the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Cotter maintains a moody atmosphere of paranoia; characters are often recorded audibly and visually; and eventually Horner admits, “We are being led by the nose and teased or we wouldn’t have gotten this far.” The villains generally remain a vague cluster of government and military types, except for Gen. Leon Judy, a key player in orchestrating public uses of the invisibility technology, who makes several big reveals late in the novel. Cotter’s prose is smooth, except when he uses terms like “else-ware” and “all most.” Overall, his tale of global manipulation resonates deeply in an era of constant surveillance and government data breaches.

A crafty, quick-witted thriller that champions humanity over national boundaries.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2015
Page count: 188pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
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