Monday, November 10, 2008

The Devil's Eye - Jack McDevitt

The Devil’s Eye
An Alex Benedict Novel
Jack McDevitt

Science Fiction/Adventure

As a dealer in interstellar antiquities, Alex Benedict is used to strange situations. His assistant, Chase, is getting used to them, too. Arriving home, they find a message left by Vicki Greene, a novelist famous for her horror stories. She looks scared, which is a lot less funny than you might think. She says she doesn’t know what to do, that everyone is dead. When they try to contact Vicki, they discover that she’s had her entire memory erased. Her memories, everything that happened, everything that made her Vicki Greene, are gone forever.

This doesn’t do much to deter Alex. He feels a sense of duty, especially since, before her mind wipe, Vicki transferred a huge sum of money into his account. Alex and Chase decide to retrace Vicki’s steps. She’d made a trip to Salud Afar, a planet just about as far as you can get from the center of civilization. Apparently, Vicki was making a tour of the many supposedly haunted and strange locations on the planet. Following her path proves difficult, but not impossible. Solving the mystery turns out to be only the beginning.

Newcomers to this series (like me) will have no problems starting here. There are clearly references and ties to previous novels, but there’s enough background provided to fill in the blanks. I admit, though, that hearing references to the previous novels makes me want to seek them out, immediately. Even readers who are not fans of scifi should enjoy this novel. Although it takes place on a distant planet in the far future, it reads much more like a mystery/adventure than pure scifi.

Chase, the narrator, and Alex clearly have a long history, and their characters and personalities really drive the story. Solving the mystery of what Vicki found is the focus of the majority of the novel, but I was pleased to find that, once that happens, there’s still plenty of plot. Without giving spoilers, what they find affects a great many people, and the aftermath is just as much a part of the story as the initial search. It makes for a much more complete and satisfying reading experience.

Rating: 9
November 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01635-8 (hardcover)


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