Debut author Jordan presents a dark novel about a curious Irishman.
Michael Eustace has an odd gift: He can see the color of people’s auras. It turns out that every living human has an aura, every one of them is unique, and people sometimes leave behind traces on objects that they touch. This latter aspect occasionally allows Michael to help track down missing persons. He appears twice a week on an English talk show as “Michael X,” the “Irish mystic,” but his TV career is brought to an abrupt end when he attacks two parents on-air after figuring out that they’re abducting children. Fourteen months later, Michael is bound for a place off the coast of Ireland called Skellig Éin. He plans to see his twin brother, Francis, a priest on the island. His trip happens to coincide with a law enforcement conference, the arrival of some Dublin thugs, and the disappearance of a university spelunking expedition. Then there’s a brutal murder, which spurs the mostly mild-mannered “Irish mystic” into action. The story winds up encompassing a great many characters, and readers will find that keeping them all straight is no simple task. Some are more distinct than others, though, such as DI Brian “Horse” Hopkins; a repulsive criminal mastermind; and a virgin pimp. However, some details of their backstories seem unnecessary, such as the fact that two minor characters had a friendship that “grew and over the years they came to depend on each other for companionship and support.” Much greater excitement is generated by events in the here and now; if the reader thinks, as they may at different points, that they’re in store for a simple missing persons case, or a drug-ring investigation, or a monster tale with a logical conclusion, they’re sorely mistaken. Instead, the narrative cuts a bizarre path that incorporates everything from a Michael Crichton–esque cave exploration to an enumeration of the virtues of Redbreast whiskey. The narrative is always on the move, and the places that it goes are rarely predictable.
A wild and sometimes-overcrowded supernatural adventure.