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Affaire de Coeur
This book is a real page turner.
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This book is a real page turner.
"Apocalyptic novels come in all sizes and shock levels, but Roddy's debut offers something a little different." —Booklist
"This book is a real page turner." —Affaire de Coeur
Craig Thomas glanced at his two boys in the rearview mirror just as he merged with traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge approach. Ignoring the dread that pitted his stomach at his glimpse of five year-old Lucas's guileless expression, he distracted himself with thoughts of John Thomas.
By age three, his oldest son had no longer responded to being called John or Johnny. John knew his mother was Mary Thomas and his father was Craig Thomas and that he was John Thomas. He required everyone to call him John Thomas, though his mother was allowed to call him Honey. Craig smiled at the memory.
Perhaps it was time to relocate to a family neighborhood beyond the fringes of the city. He and Mary had talked of such a move after Lucas was born. John Thomas had fit well into their life in the heart of San Francisco, but somehow Lucas's arrival had pushed them off center. Then Mary had died and thoughts of relocation vanished.
In the backseat, Lucas was chattering to John Thomas. Another glance in the mirror showed John Thomas looking out his side window, ignoring Lucas. He knows, Craig thought suddenly, and could no longer shunt aside his dread. He felt again the chill that had frozen his heart the day the truth about Lucas had slammedinto him.
He and his sons had just crossed Fulton Street, bordering a playground in Golden Gate Park, when they heard a car horn blare through the screech of tires, and saw a golden retriever tumble into a convulsive heap. Ear-splitting yowls pierced the air. A young boy, maybe eight years old, like John Thomas, dashed to the dog's side, his screams broken by hysterical pleas for help. Passers-by rushed to them, milling helplessly.
The howling of both dog and boy evoked such misery that Craig was momentarily stupefied. Hands trembling, he drew his boys to his side and caught his breath at the sight of John Thomas, face twisted in empathetic pain too large for him to understand. Craig dropped to his knees and folded John Thomas to his chest. Turning to Lucas, ready to absorb his pain, as well, he stiffened in shock.
Lucas was smiling.
Craig stifled rising panic. He's too young to understand, he reasoned, as fear thudded through him. It's a blank smile, not one of pleasure. But Lucas was staring at the hysterical boy, the piteously screaming dog, and his smile didn't waver. Craig frantically scanned the faces of children in the crowd, seeking reassurance in their expressions. But not one was smiling. Even a toddler, clutched in its mother's arms, had tears rolling down his round cheeks.
Worse yet, Craig's fear felt familiar. Lucas's cold smile only strengthened what he'd suspected for quite some time; there was something dreadfully wrong with his younger son. There'd been too many hints in the past year that Lucas's emotional reactions weren't normal. For one thing, Lucas was indifferent to John Thomas, something that had always puzzled Craig. He'd assumed younger siblings tagged behind older ones like orbiting planets bound by gravity to their sun. But Lucas ignored John Thomas's activities. And John Thomas didn't tease Lucas.
Craig wasn't sure whether their odd relationship was due to Lucas's strangeness or to John Thomas's precocious maturity. But was John Thomas mature enough to recognize a problem with Lucas?
Craig now knew he had lost all trust in Lucas. That cold smile. How was it possible? Then it struck him: Should I even leave John Thomas alone with Lucas? He was horrified at such a thought about his own flesh and blood.
* * *
Northbound traffic was moving smoothly on the Golden Gate Bridge. They were nearly across the bridge when Craig felt a slight dizziness. In the next second, vertigo engulfed him and he couldn't feel his hands on the wheel or his foot on the accelerator. Awareness of his boys in the backseat, of the car hurtling at close to fifty miles per hour on a bridge packed with other cars, screamed alarm through him. Something huge pressed upon his consciousness. He frantically tried to maintain focus on the road, to regain control of his muscles. Helpless rage battled against the numb tingling that stung his body. A surge of panic, then consciousness left him.
And billions of others.
* * *
Vertigo and unconsciousness were indiscriminate. Every highway, bridge, and street was filled with horrific accidents as drivers slumped over their wheels.
In their Volvo, Craig and his sons plowed through a narrow opening between careening cars, bounced off the side rail of the Golden Gate, then received the impact of the vehicles piling up behind them. The blow carried them beyond the cement boundaries bordering the end of the bridge and bounced them to a halt on the shoulder of the Bayside exit to the Vista Point parking lot.
The horrific collisions took less than a minute, and were followed by the sounds of still-running engines, several stuck horns, and an occasional upturned wheel spinning out its slowing force.
For three minutes, not a whisper of consciousness flickered in the minds of any of the survivors trapped in the distorted metal wrecks.
* * *
United States, est. population (pre-blackout): significantly above 300 million. United States, est. population (post-blackout): 198,879,233.
Excerpted from A Catch In Time by Dalia Roddy Copyright © 2010 by Dalia Roddy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted April 22, 2013
This book was a disappointment to me. It had an interesting premise, and could have been a pleasure. But the story exchanged some of what could have been useful character motivations for whst seemed like utterly gratuitist violence. The graphic nature of the violence and thoroughly evil unredemptiveness of some of the characters was overly simplistic and unneccessary. You simply had to hate the "villains" because there were no redeeming qualities in them, there was no inner struggle by which you could identify with them. It produced a sickening pall over the entire book. People were lumped into two categories: good (should live), and evil (should die). Completely unrealistic. And the mumbo-jumbo about life-forces and energy was the stupidest thing I've ever been forced to swallow for the sake of a story. Then trying to tie the ridiculous theory into physics and m-theory, well that was just an insult to science and anyone with any education or knowledge at all. I feel like reading this book was two days of my life I'll never get back. Wasted. And I felt sullied and dirtied for having wallowed in it's filth. Definitely won't ever recommend it to anyone. I love sci-fi, and dystopian fiction, but this was TRASH.
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Posted July 5, 2012
Posted April 5, 2010
Great read! It's been a long time since I've read something so original.
Real, well-rounded characters, good, hard-core reasoning tying a
complicated plot, fast-paced, and with a fully satisfying ending. Can't
wait to read Roddy's next novel!
Posted March 2, 2010
A mysterious force leaves people unconscious for three minutes. When they awaken, they remember nothing about what went on during that time and the global population was decimated. The only person to recall what occurred was Laura who saw an energy dimension and a community of Shadows on the other side of the "barrier". They are the creators for every life form on the planet and responsible for the evolutionary leaps from amoebas to humans.
A second wave causes massive headaches as a dark energy bombarded the world, which made people evil. They become Shaitan and since the energy well is closed, all newborns are filled with dark eyes marking them as the evil Shairan. Older children and adults that were turned by dark energy are recognizable by their darkened eyes. Years later Laura's daughter Lily is kidnapped by her Shaitan father. Laura and her family mount a rescue and while they are doing this they want to find a way to open the energy barrier so the souls can come in and the dark will leave so that the balance will be restored.
Readers who enjoyed THE STAND will want to read A Catch in Time. Although bizarre religions emerge after the energy waves strike, this is not a religious thriller as the heroine sees through the false prophets. No one believes what she claims she saw during the unconscious state, but she insists the devolution of humanity is happening with dark energy entering people especially babies. Although not fully explained why the waves started, Dalia Roddy provides an intriguing thriller.
Posted June 12, 2013
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