The Unseen

( 19 )

Overview

Lucas is a loner, but he's never alone.

From secret hiding places, he peers into the lives of others--watching them while they work, while they commute, while they sip their morning coffee. He is a master at remaining silent and unseen in his carefully constructed world as an invisible observer.

But when a chance encounter turns the tables, the watcher becomes the watched. Caught up in an escalating series of ...

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Overview

Lucas is a loner, but he's never alone.

From secret hiding places, he peers into the lives of others--watching them while they work, while they commute, while they sip their morning coffee. He is a master at remaining silent and unseen in his carefully constructed world as an invisible observer.

But when a chance encounter turns the tables, the watcher becomes the watched. Caught up in an escalating series of events he is powerless to stop, Lucas discovers an underground organization with a chilling mission.

Anyone can be watched. No one is safe. And the most terrifying secrets of all remain Unseen.

Until now.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of Waking Lazarus and The Dead Whisper On brings another quirky but mostly successful supernatural thriller. Set in Washington D.C., this bizarre noir digs a hole to the underworld through the sleuthing skills of Lucas Freund, a loner running for his life and seeking a new identity. Hines peeks into the weird and surprisingly sinister world of urban explorers who enjoy the surge of going behind locked doors, in city tunnels, and behind walls in public places. A dark obsession that wars against a strong drive for justice drives Lucas to dig deeper into a group called The Creep Club, which secretly videotapes people in their homes. But the maze is more complex and interconnected to international counterintelligence than he imagines, and when members of the club get killed and he is blamed, he doesn't know whom he can trust. Hines's dialogue is darkly funny as he explores the depths of the human desire for authenticity. Although too many underdeveloped and unsympathetic characters may leave readers wondering who to care about, fans of breathless suspense that's a little off-center will enjoy this.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In Hines's (Waking Lazarus, The Dead Whisper On) latest supernatural mystery, Lucan Freund is an urban explorer, investigating the hidden areas of city buildings. Then he meets a group of strangers who take this habit to a new level, that of exploring peoples' homes and observing their lives. Freund is coerced to join "The Creep Club," whose members begin to die mysteriously, leaving him the chief suspect.


—Tamara Butler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595545855
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

T.L. Hines writes "Noir Bizarre" stories, mixing mysteries with oddities in books such asThe Unseen, Waking Lazarus, and The Dead Whisper On. Waking Lazarus received Library Journal's "25 Best Genre Fiction Books of the Year" award.

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Read an Excerpt

THE UNSEEN


By T.L. HINES

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 T.L. Hines
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-7193-1


Chapter One

PERCHED ON TOP OF THE ELEVATOR, LUCAS PEERED AT THE WOMAN BELOW and created an elaborate history in his mind.

Elevators and their shafts were easy places to hide. Easier than utility chases. Much easier than ductwork, popularly portrayed in movies as cavernous tunnels through which a man could crawl. Lucas knew better; most ductwork was tight and narrow, and not solid enough to hold 150 pounds.

But elevators. Well, the film depictions were pretty accurate with those. You could indeed crawl through the small access panel in the ceiling, sink a sizable hole with a hand drill, and then watch the unknowing people below as they stepped through the bay doors all day long. Provided you bypassed security, of course. And did your drilling outside of regular office hours.

Most of the time he preferred to work in DC proper, but with height restrictions on the buildings, he never got much of a chance to do elevator surfing; for that, he had to move farther away from the city, where skyscrapers were allowed.

He returned his attention to the dark-haired woman who was currently inside the car with four other less interesting people. In his history, she was a widow. True, she was probably in her early thirties, if that, but her stern look, her rigid posture, suggested overwhelming sorrow in her past.

Lucas recognized such sorrow.

So she was a widow. She had moved to Bethesda from her rural home in Kansas after losing her husband, an auto mechanic who had been crushed by a car in a tragic mishap.

Below Lucas, the dark-haired woman moved to the side for another person entering on the eighth floor. As she did so, the overhead light in the elevator car flickered a moment, then returned to full strength.

Puzzled, the dark-haired woman raised her eyes to the ceiling and looked at the light. It happened. For a moment, she stared directly at him, directly at the secret peephole he'd carefully drilled in the ceiling, directly at the constricting pupil of his own eye.

Then she dropped her gaze back to the other people in the elevator with her, offering a little shrug of the shoulders.

She had looked, but she hadn't seen. Like so many others.

When she had looked toward the ceiling, his heart had jumped. He had to admit this. Not because he was worried about being discovered, but because the knowing had started-the long, taut band of discovery that stretched between his eyes and the eyes of a dweller, then constricted in a sudden snap of understanding.

The Connection, he liked to call it.

Once he'd spent several weeks holed up in an office center on Farragut Square; during that time, his favorite target had been the reception area of an attorney's office. A one-man show named Walt Franklin, the kind of attorney who chased ambulances. And so, Walt Franklin was chased by people with grudges.

Lucas's observation deck in that office was one of his most brilliant ever: the lobby coat closet, a small cubicle not much bigger than an old telephone booth-something, unfortunately, he didn't see much of anymore. The closet had an empty space behind its two-by-four framing and gypsum board, leaving enough room for him to stand. An anomaly in the construction, one of many he'd seen over the years.

But what had been so wonderful about this space, this anomaly, was its perfect positioning between the reception desk and the lobby waiting area. By drilling holes on two opposite sides of the small space, he could simply turn and view the woman who usually sat at the front desk-a large, red-haired woman with a genuine smile-or the people in the reception area. No need to change positions; he could simply turn his head and watch whoever seemed the most interesting.

Over the several hours he'd spent cramped in that space, he'd seen dozens of intriguing dwellers-people with complex, magic-filled histories, he knew-sit in the lobby's molded plastic chairs and wait to speak with Walt Franklin. Their savior.

Once he'd experienced a Connection with the large, red-haired woman who sat at the desk. One minute she was working away, doing some filing. The next moment she simply stiffened, then looked nervously around the room.

"Whatsa matter?" he heard a man's voice ask from the lobby area. Lucas turned quietly and looked through the peephole at the man. White hair. Too much loose skin under his chin.

Back to the redheaded receptionist. "I ... don't know," she stammered. "I just feel like ... someone's watching."

The jowly man in the reception area half snorted, half laughed. "Wouldn't doubt it, the kind of stuff old Walt's involved in. Either the mob's watching him, or the CIA. Or both." He offered another snort-laugh.

The receptionist didn't share his humor, obviously, but she smiled at him. Except, Lucas could tell, this wasn't her usual smile. Her normal smile. Lucas was a student of the smile, and he knew this particular one was forced; it barely turned the corners of her mouth.

She hadn't seen Lucas. But she had sensed something of his presence, and his mind kept returning to that. Returning to all the people, maybe a dozen in all, who had made the Connection and intuited his presence in a closet. Under a floor. Above a ceiling. Hers was all the more special because she hadn't actually seen any evidence of him. She'd only felt it.

I just feel like someone's watching.

As Lucas left his daydream and returned his attention to the dark-haired woman in the elevator below, now staring at her feet, he wanted her to make that Connection too. He liked this woman; he wanted to feel something more than the typical subject and observer relationship. He wanted the Connection.

Instead, she lifted her face toward the doors, caught in midyawn, as they chimed and opened on the twenty-third floor. She slipped through and into the offices beyond.

So much for Connection.

Still, he would wait. It was early morning, and he'd have another half hour of steady traffic. If no other interesting dwellers stepped on the elevator before then, he'd choose the dark-haired woman. She was, after all, the only one who had inspired a secret history in his head all morning. That had to count for something.

Maybe, just maybe, this dark-haired woman with the full lips and the eyes like bright marbles and the overwhelming grief at the loss of her husband would pull him back to the twenty-third floor. Maybe she would make the Connection after all.

He could wait.

LATE THAT EVENING, WHEN THE DARK-HAIRED WOMAN HAD LEFT THE office and returned to her modest home in her Ford Taurus (this is what he imagined she drove), when the entire office building had emptied, Lucas let himself into the company offices where she worked and began to search.

This building didn't have much security. A few cams, but those were on the building's exterior. And the janitors here weren't all that attentive. They often left their industrial vacuums or their carts filled with cleaning supplies sitting alone in the hallways, rings of master keys jangling loosely from them. So really, it was easy to take master keys and make copies-he even knew of a key machine he could use after hours just a few blocks away from the building-then return the keys, safe and sound, to their carts or vacs.

So the dark-haired woman's office space was only a key turn away.

He slipped the key into the front door of the office and turned it. He pushed open the door, listening for the telltale click or buzz of an armed alarm system. Nothing. Alarm systems weren't common in these kinds of office parks, because the tenants seemed to rely on the buildings' inept security guards. But he'd run into a few.

Closing the door behind him, he looked for light switches and began to examine the space. His mind took in all the architectural details as he explored, looking for his first target: the break room.

He found it on the far end of a row of cubicles, a smallish office behind a glass wall, with a table, some chairs, and a soda machine. Casually, he strolled the floor to the break room and entered. Just behind the door he found an under-the-counter refrigerator and opened it.

No funky smells. Good. Often, when you opened these refrigerators, you were greeted by the whiff of month-old Chinese food or curdled milk, long forgotten by the office workers who had stashed them there. Usually he ended up cleaning out rotten leftovers from these office refrigerators, performing a crude service in return for the edible food he took.

That was his real reason for seeking out office break rooms and refrigerators: they always held whole lunches packed and brought from home, leftover pizzas from office parties, takeout orders left untouched. Lucas couldn't remember the last time he'd had to buy food for himself. Occasionally he liked to go to a restaurant or get a special treat, but usually he found more than enough in the many offices of the greater DC area.

For that matter, Lucas didn't need to spend money on much of anything. He was happy with clothing from Goodwill, and his home constantly rotated from office building to office building. No rent, no food, no clothing-without those expenses, Lucas had been able to stash away several thousand dollars over the last few years, all while doing menial cash-under-the-table jobs.

In this particular refrigerator he found a full wrapped sandwich (turkey and tomato), a couple unopened cartons of milk, and some apples. Dinner. The cupboard held a few bags of chips; he took one of the bags and put it in his backpack for later.

As he sat at the small table and ate, listening to the low rumble of the HVAC system deep within the building, he stared at the small metal refrigerator. He knew all about these office refrigerators, yes. But what about refrigerators in homes? Those had to be different, didn't they? Surely no one just put food in the refrigerator and forgot it, did they? Home refrigerators, well, they were like small gathering spaces. Always near breakfast nooks or dining tables where families congregated over cookies and milk, talking about their days at the office or their projects at school or their meetings at Junior League. Yes, the home refrigerator had to be more like ... home.

Not that Lucas knew. Or would ever know, for that matter. He'd grown up in an orphanage, never known his parents, never known anything about the traditional ideas of a home. A real home. It was all so foreign to him, so other. That's why he preferred the institutionalized feel of offices and commercial buildings. They felt more comfortable. His forays into the dark, hidden spaces were always in public buildings, never private residences. He wasn't a Peeping Tom, or a stalker, or anyone sick and demented like that.

He was an artist.

An artist who worked in concrete and glass and fiberboard, creating menageries out of the colorful existences lived by the dwellers inside his monitored offices. Yes, they had existences outside of those walls, but Lucas wouldn't cross that threshold; his imagined existences for dwellers were always more interesting anyway. He didn't, couldn't, understand their private lives in private homes. His own sense of ethics told him it would be wrong, and so he didn't question it.

After finishing his last bite of turkey and tomato, he cleaned the table and threw everything in the garbage, noticing that the janitorial staff hadn't emptied the office cans yet. That meant he'd have to be on guard as he worked.

He wiped his hands on the front of his jeans, adjusted the pack he wore on his back, and went outside the break room, scanning the middle cubicles and looking for the space where the dark-haired woman sat. Was she a receptionist? He didn't think so. She didn't have quite that disaffected air, and she'd been entering the building later; most receptionists were among the first to arrive.

He stood motionless, studying and considering as he scanned the offices. If they could be called offices. They were small cubicles, partitioned by cloth dividers, filling a large, open space. The place had a boiler room feel to it. Lucas hadn't bothered to check the name of the business at the front, but he was guessing this was a telemarketing facility of some kind. Maybe a phone support center.

He began to work his way through the cubicles, a Minotaur winding his way through a maze, looking at individual desks.

Eventually he found her. Even in places such as this, especially in places such as this, people tried to bring a bit of themselves to their work spaces. Photos were common. Knickknacks and trinkets. Comics and cartoons clipped from newspapers.

It was a photo that identified the dark-haired woman, and when he saw it, he knew he had been drawn to a very special dweller indeed.

The framed photo that sat next to her computer terminal proved it. In it, she had her arms wrapped around two preteen kids-one boy, one girl-and a look of pure joy on her face, matched, amazingly enough, by the joy in the children's faces.

As he stared at this photo, Lucas imagined the family camping on the Kansas prairie, enjoying a long weekend together. This would be when the father was still alive, he decided. Just before snapping the photo, the father had made a particularly funny comment, an inside family joke they all loved-everybody say 'nubbins'!-and then clicked the shutter.

He went to the desk, opened her top drawer. A time sheet for the next day lay neatly inside, the name Noel Harkins printed neatly at the top. Noel liked to be organized, he decided.

Of course, she would have to be organized, to bring her family through the tragedy of her husband's death. She would have to be strong, and steady, and an inspiration to her two beautiful children. And that was why she kept this photo on her desk: it was a reminder of happier times, of together times. The photo was a totem for her, a bit of magic that could transport her to her Happy Place with one glance.

(Humpty Dumpty had some great falls.)

Lucas closed his eyes for a moment.

These words were his own personal totem, of sorts, but an incomplete one. They were brief whispers of a past he couldn't remember, memories he couldn't bring to the surface. Haunted whispers of the Great Before, which was pretty much anything before the orphanage, anything before his sixth year. These words were, in fact, the only thing he had from the Great Before, and they were mere shadows of whispers, maddeningly brief.

(Humpty Dumpty had some great falls.)

The orphanage. A cliché, really, the loner kid who never had close relationships with anyone because his parents had been killed when he was young and he'd been raised in an orphanage on the outskirts of DC.

Except he'd never known his parents. He knew they were dead-that's what the people at the orphanage had told him-but he'd never been told anything about his past, and so he remembered nothing of it.

Nothing about the Great Before except ...

(Humpty Dumpty had some great falls.)

Yes, except that, a nonsense line that came back to him at the strangest times, meaning nothing, doing nothing, representing nothing. And yet it leaked from the cracks of his memories even now, more than two decades later.

His memories, what fragile shells of them existed, began at about age six. Before that, there was nothing. Just a solid expanse of white, stretching from horizon to horizon. He had existed in that time, he knew, and yet he had not existed.

It wasn't bad, as orphanages go, he supposed. Certainly not like the fanciful orphanages of literature, where young children were whipped into silence by angry and sadistic nuns wielding leather strops. No nuns at all in his orphanage; in fact, Lucas hadn't even seen a nun until he left the confines of the orphanage at age eighteen.

Still, even his most vivid memories of the orphanage were painted in broad strokes. He hadn't formed any close friendships with anyone there, couldn't even really say the names of any other kids, now that he thought about it. He saw their faces in his memories, of course, but that's all they were: faces. Even the teachers and staff were little more than that.

Instead, he remembered the roof. From his room, shared with so many other children, he had a clear view of the window. And through that window, when he ventured to it, he saw a far-off land of light and magic. He would find out later that those lights were the Metro DC area, but in his six-year-old mind, they were simply a promise. A promise of something he didn't fully understand but wanted to find.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE UNSEEN by T.L. HINES Copyright © 2008 by T.L. Hines. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2009

    Keeps you guessing

    This is the first novel by TL Hines that I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At times creepy, thrilling, poignant, and even confusing, it's never dull or boring. I'm in awe of Hines' talent for plotting and weaving such a complex story. As I read the book and tried to figure out where the story was going, the prose played out in my mind like a movie, and I could easily seeing this play out onscreen. It's written in a wonderfully cinematic manner.

    As this book is published by a Christian publisher, I found myself searching for a Christian message or theme in the book. That there isn't anything overt in the novel doesn't detract from it one bit. The protaganist constantly experiences a struggle within his soul and finds solace and answers in an abandoned church, but that's the closest to a "faith message" that can be found. And that's just fine with me.

    One thing I appreciated was the lack of foul language and sexual deviancy in the book. Is this representative of reality? Considering the subject matter, no. But as someone who doesn't want to be pummeled with cursing and assaulted with perversions, Hines has proven that you can write a solid, entertaining, and thrilling thriller without them. The Unseen is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it for fans of thrillers, mysteries, and even sci-fi.

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  • Posted January 14, 2009

    This one will keep you guessing to the last page!

    The Unseen is the first book I've read by T.L. Hines, and I look forward to reading more! The plot twists and turns keep you guessing until the very last page. When the book begins, you start to get an idea of just who Lucas, the main character is...then you very quickly learn that there is more to him that you imagined. Little by little, throughout the book, Hines pieces together Lucas' past. He gives you hints, but he still completely caught me off guard with the ending. The plotline was very original and kept my glued. As you progress through the book, you wonder how the author is going to pull what seems to be several different plot lines together, but once they all tie in, it whole story comes together wonderfully. I got so involved with the book and so caught up in the storyline that I wanted to check every ceiling, closet and crawl space in my home and office as I was reading - you'll understand what I mean after just a couple of chapters! After reading The Unseen, I would love to pick up more books by T.L. Hines. If you are a fan of suspense and mystery novels, I would definately recommend this book!

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  • Posted January 13, 2009

    Good book overall

    Hines describes the genre of his books as "noir bizarre". You can see his blog (at http://www.tlhines.com/questions/content/whats-noir-bizarre-thing) for more of an explanation, but I think bizarre is a pretty accurate description. In his latest book, "The Unseen", the main character is a little hard to like at first. Lucas is a loner who likes to hide in public places and observe the people around him. He limits himself to public places, but soon gets caught up with a group who spies on people in their homes. He struggles with the morality of what they are doing, but also gets caught up trying to help out the people they are spying on. At the same time, Lucas is dealing with his past, which he has a hard time remembering. While I started out a little put off by the topic, I soon found myself intrigued and wondering what was going to happen next. Ironically, I realized that reading a book is very similar to what Lucas is doing, putting yourself in a voyeur position in the lives of the characters of the book. Overall, this is a pretty good book with several twists that you won't see coming. The ending was a little strange, but that just brings us back to the bizarre part of "noir bizarre".

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  • Posted January 12, 2009

    One of the best books

    The Unseen by T.L. Hines is one of the best fictional books I have read. Hines wrote this book so skillfully and had me at the edge of my seat. The book, is about Lucas, who's a loner who watches people and makes up stories about their lives. Then Lucas meets Donavan, who is involved with the Creep Club.The Creep Club is a group who watch people inside of their houses and very much invade personal space for fun.But the catch is, the more disturbing the situation, the better. Lucas finds himself with quite a few tough choices and also finds out about himself along the way. <BR/><BR/>This is a book you need to read before judging it by its description. It can be a bit different because it talks about a bunch of people watching other people, but it does not get to odd to where you can not understand what the book is talking about it.But again, you need to read it completely before deciding that. It probaly will not be everyones favorite book, but I would recommend it to someone who would be interested in a, as they describe it, Supernatural fiction. ( It is not a freaky-like supernatural book.)

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  • Posted January 11, 2009

    The Unseen was Unexpected.

    When I started reading The Unseen by T.L.Hines I thought I was going to be creeped out by it. The back cover copy says, ¿Lucas is a loner, but he¿s never alone. From secret hiding places, he peers into the lives of others. Creepy, huh? The whole idea that someone is watching you is creepy. Though in my work office you¿d be hard-pressed to watch me without my knowing it. Despite my misgivings, I decided to try the book anyway.<BR/>I¿m glad I did.<BR/>This book isn¿t just about a guy who watches other people. Lucas is a man with a past. He thinks he knows what that is, but you find out he doesn¿t. So as not to spoil the end, I won¿t say more than that.<BR/>One day he runs into another person in the steam tunnels under Washington DC. He¿d never encountered someone in his territory so he Googles the person. He finds out there are others who watch people as they work and live. He goes to a meeting of a group called The Creep Club. He doesn¿t like what he sees.<BR/>This is where his life goes South. I could not have predicted how events unfold in the rest of the book. This is always a plus. As a writer I have a pretty good imagination and I know all about twists and turns. When an author can keep me guessing that makes for a good read. So two thumbs up to T.L. Hines.

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  • Posted January 10, 2009

    Intense

    I have never read a book by T. L. Hines, but I selected it to review from the Thomas Nelson website because it sounded interesting. <BR/><BR/>I don't think I have read a book in a long time that had so many twist and turns in it. At first it was sort of boring, but once Lucas says hello to another urban creeper his whole world is turned upside down. You don't know who is the good guy or who is the bad guy through out the entire book and that makes for a really good read.<BR/><BR/>I will defiantly have to go back and take a look at some of his other works and see if they are as good as this one. <BR/>I know that just because it is a CBA book doesn't necessarily make it a shall I say Inspirational book and I guess I just read my first one because I thought this was a secular book at first. :)

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  • Posted January 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Unseen, A Must Read

    Previously, author T. L. Hines revealed the lives of Jude Allman, a man dead three times, yet alive in Waking Lazarus and Canada, whose dead father speaks to her from shadows in The Dead Whisper On.<BR/><BR/>With The Unseen, Hines shows us Lucas, a man with seemingly no past, working odd jobs for money he stashes away in secret places. With no home, he residences in hidden spaces of public buildings. Elevator shafts, crawl spaces, etc. Spying on strangers, seeking connection. Lucas is alone and a loner to the nth degree, pushing away people who try to get close, even his pretty coworker.<BR/><BR/>Until the Creep Club invades his world. His lifestyle's a hobby for them. Urban exploring. They take it further than Lucas would dream. Filming their adventures, making their own home movies. Cheap thrills, not connection.<BR/><BR/>Lucas finds he must intervene. A life is at stake. This decision forces him to unravel a past he didn't remember.<BR/><BR/>Once again, Hines creates a compelling protagonist and throws them in a blender of the unexpected. Sometimes his writing is downright lyrical, yet simple and readable.<BR/><BR/>Consider becoming a volunteer publicist through his website. You just find yourself in a future T. L. Hines novel. I'll be in his upcoming release, Faces In The Fire.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    "The Unseen" by T. L. Hines

    We've all had those moments when we felt like we were being watched--unseen eyes hovering nearby, taking in our every move.<BR/><BR/>That creepy feeling becomes reality in T. L. Hines latest novel, The Unseen. <BR/><BR/>The main character, Lucas, has an interesting hobby. He likes to watch people without them knowing it. He is a loner who spends his free time sneaking into places that most people don't even know exist. From his unseen vantage points, he quietly watches people go about their every day lives.<BR/><BR/>Within a few pages, things get turned around, and Lucas gets drawn into a world of espionage and danger, losing the anonymity that he feeds on.<BR/><BR/>T.L. Hines is a skilled expert at enticing the reader into the story and compelling us to empathize with Lucas in spite of his questionable activity. All the characters are portrayed as unique individuals, clearly drawn and brought to life on the pages. In a word, they are unforgettable.<BR/><BR/>Before the book is over it has turned into a fast-paced, high-action suspense thriller that you can't put down. As I read the book I could see the scenes playing out in my mind, much like pictures on a giant movie screen. <BR/><BR/>The story won't just tug at you a little; it will grab you by the throat and refuse to let go until the last page is read. T. L. Hines not only puts the reader in the mind of the character, but in his skin. <BR/><BR/>After reading only a portion of the story, I found myself checking to see if someone was watching me. I even examined walls in public places to see if there were suspicious-looking holes, and I locked doors behind me in my own home (after checking all possible hiding places, of course)!<BR/><BR/>(See http://wordvessel.blogspot.com for more book reviews.)

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  • Posted January 7, 2009

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    Making a Connection with The Unseen

    I just finished the book, The Unseen, by T. L. Hines today and I'm glad I started it during winter break. Almost any book that can carry a story will also carry me from my obligations to a world where all-I-want-to-do-is-find-out-what-happens-next. This novel was certainly no exception. It was a different read for me, as I'm looking at the page of publishing data right now, it falls into the category: supernatural. I don't think that such a vague term really gives the book credit, as it stretches your capacity to believe in unfathomable ways. <BR/><BR/> For starters (and not for the spoils) you are introduced to a character named Lucas. He. Is. Weird. This guy knows how to tuck himself away into the smallest spaces and the tiniest gaps. He will create a setup for himself where he has the most opportune way of spying on people. One day he'll suspend himself behind acoustic ceiling tiles and stare down at his subject from microscopic peepholes he has drilled. In another instance, he has found a way to squeeze into a cleaning closest at a donut shop and feed the desire to make a Connection with customers on a purely sensory level; to create that feeling that we¿ve all experienced of being watched. <BR/><BR/> But Lucas' character grows on the reader and it's not long before you accept his lifestyle as normal compared to an elite group he encounters that takes the hobby of infiltration to the next level: enter the Creep Club. <BR/><BR/> Lucas' very independent, sterile and controlled routine rebels and takes on a life of it¿s own, throwing him into a tumult of action, double agents, lies and layers of hidden secrets. Is he being used? Who is behind the Creep Club? And is there any rhyme or reason to who is being watched? <BR/><BR/> The last fourth of the novel was a little too high octane for me to follow, as the pacing of the book attempted (although I'm not sure of how successful it was) to keep up with Lucas' sudden and reactive responses to his circumstances. I'm still processing the ending, which is almost too unbelievable. And yet in the final pages, my curiosity got the better of me, and I knew wanted to find out what would happen to these characters beyond the covers of this book, I made the connection. <BR/><BR/> I would suggest this book to those who like thrills, quick movement, and fluidity and for anyone who has ever wanted to look and see. This book will pull you into a vivid world of people who are The Unseen. (Interestingly enough, I found the discussion questions in the back very thought provoking and helped me to interact with the characters and text in a way I would not have otherwise pursued).

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  • Posted January 6, 2009

    Really Liked It!

    My head is spinning--in a good way. There are so many layers to The Unseen, that I didn't see it coming (pardon the pun.) The book starts with Lucas, a man who spies on people in public places, and lives in underground tunnels and other unauthorized areas. Honestly, I didn't know what to think of him at first, and thought he was kind of creepy for a main character. But the longer I read, the more I found myself concerned for Lucas and drawn into his character journey. <BR/><BR/>Enter the Creep Club. The book escalates to a new level when Lucas finds others like himself who watch people. (As a side note, one of the websites mentioned in the book is real: infiltration.org, and there really are people slinking around in places they don't belong, and then bragging about it!) From there we have a surprising mixture of secret agents, genetics, and the key to Lucas's past. Though he was an unlikely hero in the beginning, he had me rooting for him in the end. Lots of twists and surprises, and there was no way I could've predicted the end.

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    Book Review - The Unseen (T.L. Hines)

    The Unseen poses a controversial hero, Lucas, who lives his life away from society eyes. He has no identity, no job and no home address. He spends his life hidden in ceilings and ventilation systems of public buildings, secretly spying on the lives of the people working in those buildings. <BR/><BR/>At first, I was appalled at the idea; however, the voyeur within soon began to enjoy the thrill of secretly observing the lives, habits and ¿totems¿ of people. Silent, moving smoothly, leaving no traces, feeding on food left in refrigerators after office hours. He avoinds any human encounter, his only interaction with society being the totems he likes to subtly collect from the people he watches. His only desire is to remain unseen. <BR/><BR/>Lucas appears to have grown up in an orphanage, and his interest in spending his life hidden in places hard to reach derives from the times in his childhoold when he crept on the roof of the orphanage. <BR/>Reading Lucas¿ story and overcoming my disagreement with his way of life, I grew to look at things through his eyes. I began to feel curiosity towards the people observed, and to feel the desire that no one interacts with me or finds my location.<BR/><BR/>Therefore, I was as startled as Lucas when his entire universe was overthrown, as he was caught in the midst of racing action, and his profile came into the spotlight, while he ducked his way through secret agents encounters and gunshots to keep his life. In the end, it all comes together to make sense, as Lucas finds the truth about his origin and chooses a new way of life.<BR/><BR/>Overall, the book kept me on my toes in a rush of suspense, andrenalin and tables turned.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2008

    The Unseen Excellence!

    I¿ve never had an interest for reading fictional material unless it was required. So in writing this review, I lack much prior experience of what makes up for a creative novel. That being said, The Unseen is an immediate masterpiece that centers around Lucas, a loner who makes his home in abandoned buildings, and underground areas. He often creates hiding decks in public areas while he carefully observes people¿s expressions and behavior. When he saw people with sorrow, he often imagined a story to explain that sadness.<BR/><BR/>Lucas is an interesting character, for he sought more than a ¿observational¿ relationship - he wanted that connection, something that could bring happiness. He often kept pictures of people as a collection of some sort to remind him of that happiness. It brought him comfort to perhaps ease his dark vibration; his longing for something bigger. What makes this books special is how it puts Lucas in positions that pushes him to do things he never would¿ve imagined himself doing. <BR/><BR/>Yet he sought for it, and so the plot thickens to unpredictable twists. Someone invaded his area, and he¿s determined to figure it out. He finds others like himself, that he believed would understand his vibration but they go too far. He creates enemies left and right while struggling to survive. As with most novels, it does have a ¿good & evil¿ theme, though I believe it is by far the most unique. <BR/><BR/>While this is a Christian novel, don¿t expect any metaphors or explicit references to God. It has neither of those and if I had not known the writer is a Christian, I probably wouldn¿t have guessed it was written by one! Nevertheless, it does avoid sexual or profane scenes but don¿t let that discourage you. This is definitely not some cheesy novel with predictable concepts, but a rather engaging story that encourages you to evaluate the character and situation.

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  • Posted December 26, 2008

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    Quite Unsettling - but a good read

    TL Hines latest book The Unseen is unsettling due to the fact that it affects you on a very primal level. Lurking, spying, snooping, whatever the term, Lucas' life revolves around it. He lives in abandoned buildings, crawl spaces and under the metro line in Washington, DC. Collecting mementos from offices and other semi-private places, but never homes. That is until he meets The Creep Club, a small group who's primary focus is filming and documenting their 'projects'. After Lucas befriends fellow creeper Donovan it isn't long before Lucas is involved with nefarious elements of all kinds and creeds. Somehow even with his under the radar living style he's contacted by the CIA. Or is it the FBI? The struggle to distance himself from The Creep Club's motivations leads him help one of their projects in what can only be described as a clever twist on the age-old cat and mouse game.<BR/><BR/>In reading The Unseen the reader gets the unique point of view of watching someone watch someone else. Quite a unnerving point of view, but done with a quick writing style and separate story lines. This novel could have taken a turn toward the voyeuristic but Hines cleverly doesn't allow that to happen. All in all a very favorable foray into the world of hiding and watching the world go about it's business.

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  • Posted December 19, 2008

    Good But Not Great

    The Unseen has a few things really going for it. It's a fast paced, action packed story with unpredictable plot twists. The main character is developed really well. I became almost attached to him, as his motives, thoughts, actions, and emotions were so raw and realistic. As I read, I felt like I had become entangled with the main character in this impossible and dangerous web. I would have thought I would find the idea of a loner who felt connected to people while observing them without their knowledge too creepy, but instead I felt a compassion for him. I even liked him. And occasionally the writing of this novel reaches lyrical and expressive beauty. That being said, there are also some drawbacks. I felt the overall story which only becomes visible in the end was rather weak. There was a lot of bloodshed and trouble over something that didn't seem very important to me. All characters other than the main character are one-dimensional and their motives, thoughts, actions, and emotions did not always seem very believable to me. Especially at the very end when a female character makes some choices regarding the main character that I found totally unbelievable. I finished the book quickly because it held my interest and I wanted to know what was going to happen. But I was left with a feeling of wanting more substance. I was hoping all the confusing twists and loose strings would wrap up in something a bit more amazing. I would only recommend this book to people who absolutely love science fiction thrillers. Anyone else would probably be disappointed.

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  • Posted December 16, 2008

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    When you look, do you really see? What about the unseen around you?

    "...but no one seemed to notice him. This he knew he could count on. People looked, but they never saw." <BR/> <BR/>Have you ever had that creepy, gives you goose bumps, feeling that someone was watching you and your every move? What if someone truly was watching? What if there was someone--someone in the walls peering out at you, trying to make a connection, trying to get a small glimpse into your life? <BR/><BR/>In The Unseen, by T.L. Hines, Lucas, aka Humpty, reaches out trying to connect with the world around him, while staying hidden. He is harmless, simply spying on those around him in public places and inventing stories about their lives without ever approaching them. This loner lives vicariously through the lives of others. Through his daily infiltrations in the metro DC area, he discovers he is not alone in his urban exploration. He encounters a group called the Creep Club, a club that takes his ¿creeping¿ a step further.<BR/><BR/>Lucas soon gets in over his head and is pulled into the world of double agents, the mafia, and a folk tune singing guitar player. He continues on his quest to do the right thing while struggling with the Dark Vibrations inside.<BR/><BR/>Hines does an expert job of building suspense and throwing the reader for a loop with the number of twists and turns this novel takes. Surprisingly, although published by Thomas Nelson there is not a spiritual side to this book. Although one could make spiritual applications, I expected a more straightforward approach from the publisher. However, that should not stop anyone from reading this excellent novel. The creativity of Hines is enough to keep any thrill seeker turning pages until he reaches the surprising end.

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  • Posted December 15, 2008

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    Creepy on so many levels! Must read!!!

    Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Have you ever looked up or turned around and found no one there? Have you ever felt the eyes of someone who wasn¿t there boring into you? T.L. Hines has brought new meaning to these feelings of paranoia.<BR/><BR/>Above ceiling tiles, behind closet doors, and atop elevators hides Lucas; watching. Lucas watches others while they work and interact. He creates histories and stories for these individuals. He takes a memento from each of his targets; a picture, a favored scarf, some precious object. <BR/><BR/>Raised in an orphanage outside the Washington D.C. area, Lucas discovered his love of watching others from the roof outside the windows of the orphanage. He watched as the children interacted and played. He watched as the caregivers searched for him. Always watching, never being. Lucas does not technically exist. However, the life Lucas has always known is about to change drastically and his existence will no longer be hidden. A chance encounter begins to unravel a world of deceit, conspiracy, and treachery that Lucas never believed could exist. Lucas discovers that he is not the only person who watches. He finds a group of people who have crossed the line and who must be stopped. <BR/><BR/>Lucas is quickly submerged into a world of lies, creepers, and murder. His existence is made extremely public. He has become the target. The deception peels away like layers of an onion and finally reveals a terrifying link to Lucas¿s past. <BR/><BR/>When I started this book I couldn¿t help but look up at my heating vents. I am thankful that I do not have tiles in my ceiling. The book began to drag in the middle but picked up shortly after I got bored. Once the tangle of lies began to be unknotted I could not put the book down. I also can¿t stop thinking about it! I think everyone must read this book. Maybe these people are really out there.<BR/><BR/>To read this book is to look over your shoulder. Each turn of the page makes the reader feel less and less alone. Each new description of the ¿observation decks¿ created by these people instigates another bout of paranoia and raises questions. Am I being watched? Is someone there? Someone who wishes to remain¿unseen?

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  • Posted December 13, 2008

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    A thought provoking thriller.

    For many years Lucas Freund has lived his life by mostly being unseen. He has a fascination with hiding small nooks and crannies in buildings all over the city watching strangers through hidden peep holes. He makes up elaborate stories about their lives that give him comfort in between the times when he makes a connection with them. The connection happens when someone either feels his presence without seeing him or when someone seemingly makes eye contact with him again without seeing him. <BR/><BR/>Lucas is a loner with no permanent address. He sleeps in vacant buildings or underground tunnels. One night, his home for the time being is almost found by another "infiltrator", Donovan. Surprisingly Lucas is drawn to Donovan and meets with him the next day. Donovan introduces him to a group called Creep Club whose members watch and record people in their homes... the one place Lucas never dared to watch. <BR/><BR/>Soon Lucas is approached by a federal agent who wants his assistance in gaining access to the group. Lucas is torn by this request but when people start disappearing and turning up dead, things start spiraling into chaos and Lucas is forced to figure out a way out of the trouble.<BR/><BR/>The Unseen pulls you in from the first chapter. Although Lucas has a strange way of life I was rooting for him right from the start. He's such a likable character who is a "do-gooder" at heart. The book is full of surprises coming in the form of plot twists and other characters. <BR/><BR/>The only thing I felt let down about was a strange character at the end (when you read it, you'll know who I'm talking about). Maybe I just didn't understand the author's intentions with this character but I felt he really didn't belong in story and thought the book could have had the same type of ending without him.<BR/><BR/>To me the best part of the book was that it brought up a great point. Many of us see without really seeing. I know I'm guilty of being oblivious to my surroundings which drives my husband nuts. Reading this book has made me a little more conscious of the happenings around me and I've been constantly thinking, "Someone could be watching me right now". I recommend this book for all suspense and thriller lovers.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    The Unseen gets Seen

    Lucas has lived most of his life being unseen. He likes the small hidden crevasses above the office spaces in the metro D.C. area. Being able to spy on others is one of his passions. Although he means no harm to them. Since Lucas has no permanent address he sleeps in underground tunnels and vacant buildings. He meets another "infiltrator" Donovan, and is drawn to him. Donovan introduces him to the Creep Club whose members watch and record people in their homes . . . The one place Lucas never wanted to do. While this is something he doesn't want to do he is drawn to them. As with all things, plans spiral out of control and Lucas is forced to figure a way out of the mess.<BR/>This is the first book I've ever read by T.L. Hines, and let me tell you it was a thrill ride from page 1! I give this book a lighthouse and shine a light on it for a great book.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    A Good Book to Leave Unseen

    The Unseen by T. L. Hines started with a strange protagonist living out strange fantasies, and the plot never looked back. The author self-describes his genre as "noir bizzare," and the book lived up to the genre.<BR/><BR/>Lucas, the main character, has no identity, no home, and no normal life. He travels from place to place, spying on unsuspecting men and women. He tries to fill a void in his soul, a void that longs for the "Connection" he gets when someone discovers he is watching. And that's the most normal part of the plot.<BR/><BR/>From there, Lucas becomes involved with a variety of unsavory characters and organizations. In the end, Lucas is made to be something of a hero, but the redemption story was anything but satisfying.<BR/><BR/>Lucas was never a likable character, he never drew the reader in to the story, and I found myself putting the book down time and again, always frustrated that the plot wasn't improving.<BR/><BR/>The only thread keeping me hopeful was the possibility that the novel would take a turn and leave the reader with a more enjoyable storyline. Unfortunately, that turn never came, and I finished the book with an emotional mix swinging from a lingering confusion to a disturbing sense of unrest. The main character and his acquaintances were not inviting, the plot was unappealing, and the entire book was less than enjoyable.

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