Brilliant, beautiful and blind, psychic Sherry Moore makes a second compelling appearance (18 Seconds, 2006), this time in a duel with a deadly, vengeful mama’s boy.
All over Pennsylvania and Maryland, Kenneth Dentin has been killing women—in bunches, in a particular way. He hangs them, strangles them slowly, then leaves them to be discovered clad only in…gas masks. We meet him early in the novel—a schoolboy, hurrying to see if his mother has bought the new blue bike promised for his birthday. She’s home all right, in the bathroom: “She was hanging from the old light fixture, naked, her face and hair covered with a black rubber mask with glass eyes and a respirator hose for a mouth.” Flash forward. He’s 27 the day Sherry meets him—at a time when both know a good deal about each other, and when it’s clear to each that they are natural adversaries. Sherry has become something of a media darling, famously helpful in several garish murder cases. Allow her to hold the hand of the dead, this blind woman argues, and she can see memory—the corpse’s final 18 seconds worth. Despite her successes, a hard core of skepticism remains, but Dentin’s a believer. With a sociopath’s desperate intensity, he needs answers to questions that have both tormented and twisted him. It’s his mom’s last 18 seconds he obsesses about. How did he figure in them? Did he figure in them at all? When Dentin kidnaps a female police officer, it’s a ploy for leverage. Whatever her reluctance might be, Sherry will now have to deal with him one on one—a life depends on it. Or, as it turns out, two lives.
Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, and—except for occasional dry patches caused by an excess of subplots—engrossing.