Saturday, August 15, 2009

Strange, But Intriguing Novel

Faces in the Fire traces the intertwined lives of four characters. Each has a serious problem: amnesia, drug addiction, lymphoma, and assassination, and each, in his or her own way, is withdrawn from contact with others, until a mysterious catfish symbol and a string of numbers enter their lives.

I found the section about Corrine, the spammer with lymphoma, to be particularly poignant. Hines made her character come to life. The other characters, however, were not as believable. I enjoyed Kurt Marlowe, the truck driver turned artist, but felt his character was almost a rehash of the lead character in Hines book, The Unseen. The assassin and the tattoo artist, while interesting characters, came across as more two dimensional.

The story is told out of sequence, which, at first, is disconcerting, but I got used to it. The major problem I found with the technique was the repetition caused by using almost identical passages when presenting the same scene from a slightly different point of view, as the lives of the characters cross. However, the intertwining was skilfully done and made the rather strange story more believable. The story twists and turns until in a surprise ending all the threads come together.