Wall’s debut novel features an ordinary young man who finds himself thrown into a series of extraordinary events.
Derek Jones is an unemployed baker living with his mother. On his 25th birthday, Derek gets the vague feeling that something’s wrong with his next-door neighbor, but he writes it off to exhaustion. The next morning, Derek learns that the neighbor has suffered a heart attack. In the following days, Derek’s premonitions keep coming, but he refuses to take them seriously even when they allow him to narrowly avert a serious car accident. Then he meets a girl, Selena Jacobs, and has a premonition that she’s in trouble. He ignores the feeling and later finds out that she was mugged in the parking lot that night. After this, Derek starts paying attention to his premonitions and is able to stop an armed robber and save an elderly man from a bad fall. His heroics stir up Selena’s interest, and the two begin dating, but Selena is concerned because she knows her father and brother will consider Derek too low-class for her. Her family also belongs to a charismatic Christian church, so Derek’s being a lapsed Catholic is another impediment to their romance. Meanwhile, Derek starts to experience strange dreams in addition to his premonitions, dreams that enable him to uncover secrets about his family’s past. Wall’s character-driven plot feels disconnected, sometimes even muddled. The point of view bounces among several characters, further adding to the sense of disconnection. However, this mirrors the confusion Derek feels as his premonitions push him from one strange event to the next. Overall, Wall’s competent writing style brings the characters to life in all their occasionally twisted glory. With its cliffhanger ending, the final chapter clearly sets the stage for a sequel, but it’s therefore rather unsatisfying.
An intriguing, periodically dark tale with a disappointing finale; fortunately, there’s more to come.