Fahy’s debut thriller, Night Visions,
has nearly enough momentum to stave off a reader’s
growing concern that the plot might not be as strong
as it promises in the early pages.
those early pages certainly are strong.
a series of quick scenes, we witness two grisly
murders that share a common theme: each of the victims
has been crucified upside down. Then Fahy cuts to
his lawyer protagonist, Samantha Ranvali, who has
just awoken from a dream and found herself, again,
in the grip of sleep paralysis.
a recurring problem for her: insomnia mixes with
nightmares to make her waking life unsettled and
disturbed. Throw in the fact that she is still recovering
from the breakup of a significant relationship and
we have that set-up all Hollywood scripts require:
a character in jeopardy.
pages, the ex-boyfriend resurfaces with a strong
(if not highly original) call to adventure. He’s
working for a corporation that “specializes
in investigative work for high-profile clients,”
and he needs Sam’s help tracking down a wealthy
family’s missing daughter. After initial misgivings,
Sam agrees to help.
will they find the woman in time?
does strong work tying the missing woman’s
case in to the crucifixion-themed serial killings,
which continue to accumulate at a gruesome, sometimes
breathless pace. And since the murders are separated
by both distance and time but march closer and closer
to the novel’s present, they offer themselves
as a time-based puzzle for readers to solve.
sweeten the reader’s experience, Fahy introduces
an intriguing twist: Bach’s Goldberg Variations
were commissioned by an insomniac seeking a soothing
cure, and many of the serial killer victims (themselves
insomniacs) were listening to the Variations when
they were killed. A little research suggests that,
in some strange (possibly supernatural) way, the
Variations and the murders may be connected….but
story that combines Glenn Gould recordings and a
slasher-flick body count would seem to offer the
perfect balance between guilty pleasures and heady
problem is that it takes a while to turn the corner,
plot-wise, and readers who pay close attention to
the characters and dates in the various flashbacks
will crack the puzzle before Fahy’s characters
do. (And that’s never a good thing.)
problems occur. The ease with which Samantha slips
into crime scenes seems a little improbable, to
put it mildly, and the cops tend to talk like they’re
TV cops rather than real cops.
it’s an entertaining way to pass an evening,
even if it doesn’t ultimately live up to the
complex puzzle it initially seems to be offering.