All Seeing Eye by Rob Thurman (Pocket Books, July 2012)-The death of one of Jackson Lee’s sisters, Tessa, at a very young age, a death that Jackson himself was able to “see” using his gift, spurred a retaliatory act of violence that led young Jackson to the Cane Lake County Home for Boys, where he was called Shotgun Jack, a name he came by honestly. As things go, Cane Lake could have been much worse (it was bad enough), and Jackson even met someone that would later influence his life, but it wasn’t to be his last stop before adulthood. In fact, the carnival was, where he read cards and moved his hands over a crystal ball to make his way, and also where he met a sweet young girl named Abby who would make an indelible impression on Jack and would come to be an important part of his future as well. As an adult, Jackson finds himself making a decent living in Atlanta finding lost items, since all it takes for him is a touch. The only problem is, Jackson sees everything, but he’d never tell his clients that. It’s not a bad living, and with Abby as his secretary, he’s fairly content. Abby is away visiting family, however, and so he’s been on his own for a bit when a man walks into his office that will change his life forever.
When a man calling himself Dr. John Chang comes into Jackson’s office, he’s immediately suspicious, and with good reason. Dr. Chang wants him to participate in a “study” of his abilities, but Jackson isn’t having it, and after seeing Chang on his way, he thinks he’s seen the last of him. He hasn’t. In fact, Chang isn’t his name at all, and he’s using the fate of Jackson’s remaining sister, Glory, as leverage in securing his help in a government project gone wrong, one that involves the energy of violent death and someone from Jackson’s past; someone Jackson cared about very much. Finding it impossible to say no, Jackson joins the project, and what a ride!
This is my first novel by Rob Thurman, and if it’s any indication of her other work, count me as a fan. Jackson serves as narrator and I found myself drawn to his seemingly unsentimental façade, but of course, he’s not as unfeeling as he’d like people to think. In fact, if anything, it’s the complete opposite, since his gift allows him to completely read people at a touch. It’s caused him to put up a wall, forever shutting all but a few people out, but over the course of the book, that wall begins to erode, much to his chagrin. In fact, revelations from his violent childhood will come to light and everything is not quite what it seems. This also applies to people, of which he’s already painfully aware. The twists and turns in All Seeing Eye are legion and I was constantly kept guessing. In spite of the action, if you’re looking for a shallow thriller, this isn’t it, and in fact, in reminded me of some of Dean Koontz’s best work. Some portions are downright scary and Thurman doesn’t shy away from some of the more graphic aspects of the narrative, but I like some horror elements in my thrillers, so that was just fine with me. I found All Seeing Eye to be both unique and terrifying, even poignant, and a journey well worth taking! Fingers are crossed for more books in Jackson’s world!