"My hands feel peculiar. I attempt to lift them from the steering wheel and find there is an odd adhesion; they yield with an audible smack. I take my eyes off the road for a moment.
I look down.
Blood. My hands are covered in blood.
The clock ticks again. It is 5:54 a.m.
Oh yes; I remember now…
In four minutes, I will be dead."
So begins Visions Through a Glass, Darkly, my attempt to create something completely different in the genre of psychological suspense.
This is unusual, complex literary fiction and designed to be unconventional. In all honesty, it should carry a warning label. The novel starts slowly, lulling you with back story then grabbing you by the throat. It may disappoint an impatient reader looking for a quick fix or a formulaic approach. At times, the story line may seem to be just a background for the real tale: the horror in the mind of the main character, Richard Goodman.
But there is a story, of course, and it centers on Mr. Goodman, an administrator for a school that instructs disabled people in the art of watchmaking. There is a stark glimpse not only into the Lilliputian world of the watchmaker, but also into the lives of people with physical disabilities.
Goodman can be described as a psychic being driven mad by his own inimitable gifts over which he has no control. Demons come to him at night and invade his nightmares. The dead may stop over to pay him a visit at any time, but each time conveying a message that something or someone believes he must hear.
But Goodman is to acquire one more unique ability, along with a terrifying prophecy delivered by a Coney Island fortune teller that he has less than three days to live.
As the clock of his life counts down, a still greater threat emerges: An uncanny assassin who will destroy everyone he knows and loves. Unless he can discover who the killer is. And stop him in time.
Richard Goodman is a conflicted character, as so many of the characters in this novel are. He is tortured not only by the result of his unique abilities, but by the memory of an event that occurred when he was nine, and by his failure to reconcile with a father who committed suicide. He believes his life is a runaway freight train he is not in control of. But at the same time he holds out hope. A part of him believes that he can control his destiny and that a higher power may be watching over him.
Ultimately, Visions Through a Glass, Darkly is a parable with intense philosophies to relate. Nonetheless, I don’t suggest all the answers, and as to many things, I leave a blank space for the readers to fill in for themselves. As such, this novel may mean different things to different people and it was intended to be perceived that way.
It was my wish that some of this would scare just about anyone and that I might write words capable of bringing the hardest hearts to tears. By writing Visions I tried to convey what, to me, is the essence, the center, the core of true horror: To be alone.
I hope you find that Visions contains a passage or two like nothing you’ve ever read. I hope you find that some of it is beautifully written. I believe in the power of ideas and of words and I will try to make them beautiful when I can. Maybe this is because I also believe that their power to reach us lies in their beauty.
One more thing… As to the ending of this novel – as you may find in the ones to follow – nothing is as it appears to be.
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About the Author
David I. Aboulafia is an attorney with a practice in New York City. He is also the author of "Snapshots From My Uneventful Life," a collection of hysterical, uplifting essays which Readers' Favorite Book Reviews called, "...an inspiration and a joy to read." The sequel to "Snapshots," entitled "MORE Snapshots From My Uneventful Life" has been completed and is expected to be available later this year. From now one, tales of psychological terror will take center stage, and he is currently working on four projects simultaneously, switching from one to the other as the mood suits him. Readers will soon discover that characters and places from each book will appear in subsequent novels. All of Mr. Aboulafia's novels will be linked together in some way, until it appears - in the author's words - as if he has written only one; one continuous story that never ends.