Imagin Books (2011)
Dark Visions is the first book in the Sarah Roberts mystery series by self-published writer, Jonas Saul.
I was kind of excited to begin reading this series, probably because the author has the last name Saul, and if he was anything like John Saul, well, I was sure to be in for a real treat. However, as with most self-published books I've read lately, or ever, I was seriously let down.
The book starts on a high note. The main character, Sarah, is an interesting character for sure. She suffers from a mental illness, trichtotillomania. That is, she has the uncontrollable urge to pull out her hair. A unique characteristic for any character in a story for sure. Not to mention she is also pyschic. An Automatic Writer. Meaning, she goes into these black out like states and when she comes to, she has written something in her notebook. A warning, a name, someone who she has to help.
One of these Automatic Writing episodes sends her to a local psyhic fair where she meets another psychic who warns her that she herself could be in danger. Lo and behold, Sarah gets kidnapped while trying to prevent another kidnapping.
Sarah Roberts, exit stage left.
From that point in the book, suddenly it's not about Sarah. She is no longer the lead character. We're taken through chapter after chapter of other characters who are trying to find Sarah. Her parents, the kidnappers, Dolan from the psychic fair, the police.
I am no expert in writing mysteries but I have definitely read a lot of them and never have I read a story where the character, who is supposed to be the one an entire series is about, becomes such a behind the scenes character. Sarah is supposed to be the hero, but for the better part of the book, she isn't even there. She does nothing except get herself kidnapped, escapes, gets herself kidnapped again and so on.
However, the action is great. The story moves forward at a good pace, albeit somewhat boring because I wanted more of Sarah Roberts and her quirky traits.
Most of the dialogue is forced and unbelievable. An interaction between Sarah's mother and father seemed like it was supposed to be heart felt and angry and show the strangled family dynamics, but instead of being sympathetic, I literally laughed and rolled my eyes through the whole scene. In fact, I didn't find I really cared about any of the characters and I really, really wanted to. Especially Sarah since there are more books about her.
Because this is Jonas Saul's first book, I think, I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and move on to the next book in the series in the hopes that the characters become people I want to read about, who I can relate to and be excited or scared for.
If I was one to judge a book by its cover, I would say they are great, because the covers really are incredible. But when it comes down to it, it's what's between the covers, on the pages that really counts, and I was very disappointed.
But on to the next one.