by Lorie Lewis Ham
This week I have the delight of reviewing Jan Burke’s supernatural thriller The Messenger. For those of you who have not yet seen it, I am also posting my video interview with Jan from Left Coast Crime, and at the end of this review is a chance to win a copy of The Messenger!
I am ashamed to say that bestselling author Jan Burke is one of the authors I’ve kept meaning to read forever, and just never gotten around to it. I have however met her several times and she is a sweet, quiet, humble person with a very distinct look with that long, beautiful, gray hair flowing down her back. She has always been so nice to me, I was excited to finally make the time to read one of her books—one I just couldn’t resist because it’s my favorite kind of mix—mystery and fantasy.
The Messenger is a complex, wonderfully written, story that I hesitate to give away too much of because the joy was in the many surprises. The book opens in the Caribbean where a salvage diver hears a creepy voice calling to him from an old wreckage. In return for a promise of riches, the diver becomes the servant of Adrian de Ville, Lord Varre, the strange creature who spoke to him. Varre enlists his help in a hunt for a man named Tyler Hawthorne.
Jump ahead ten years to Los Angeles where socialite Amanda Clarke becomes very curious about and suspicious of her new neighbor, Tyler Hawthorne. Tyler visits Amanda’s dear friend Ron in his hospice room and tells Ron that he will actually live. Amanda is certain it is a con and that Tyler has given Ron false hope.
Her attitude begins to change as Ron begins to get better and goes to live with Tyler. Amanda and Tyler find themselves drawn to each other but they both have secrets. Amanda sees the ghosts of her parents who were killed in a car accident and Tyler made a bargain for his life two centuries ago where in exchange he became a Messenger—one who hears the final thoughts of the dying and conveys their last messages to their loved ones. Tyler’s only long time companion is a strange black cemetery dog named Shade.
Tyler longs to leave this life behind and have a normal one with Amanda but strange things begin happening, including attempts on Tyler and Amanda’s lives. It becomes clear that someone is out to get Tyler. The dead are also able to convey messages to Tyler and they are hinting that an end to his job as Messenger may actually be in site for him, but at what price?
I LOVED this book and really hope that Jan tries her hand at more paranormal thrillers. The characters, the story, the suspense, the writing—everything was wonderful. Once I started this book it was very hard to put it down. I’m now determined to start reading her other books. This is a not to miss author, and if you enjoy the mix of supernatural and mystery the way I do, this is a not to be missed book!
To enter to win a copy of The Messenger, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Messenger”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 7, 2012. U.S. residents only.