I'll take a cue from Morrell's style and get right down to it: The Shimmer is one of the best thrillers I've read recently.
The story is a complicated one, spanning generations and peopled with many characters. Despite this, Morrell handles it all with what looks like natural ease, transitioning from the present-day to the past and back again, from one character to the next, moving the ball forward at a steady pace. As the story begins, we get to know a policeman and his wife and their troubled marriage, an ambitious journalist on the rise, an Army man and a secret weapons project. We get glimpses of history, as characters from the past are introduced to flesh out the events of the present day.
And over it all are the lights - the otherworldly Rostov lights, hovering and dancing just out of reach, unknown and unknowable. The lights are the center of this story, and each character is touched by them in a different way. Each feels their influence, and each has their own part to play.
The Shimmer is ambitious, starting out as a simple story of a couple on the rocks, but expanding quickly to encompass years of history of the desert town of Rostov, famous film stars, a disastrous ghost hunt, and even the arms race and the development of the atomic bomb. Again, Morrell's command of all of these points is excellent. He rarely overreaches and even if the ending leaves some story elements open-ended, it is mostly satisfying and works.
David Morrell is a no-nonsense storyteller who knows how to spin out an effective yarn, and The Shimmer is a compelling read.
Dan Page is having a bad day. Flying the small airplane he inherited from his father usually provides him with an escape from the pressures of being a Santa Fe policeman, but today Page finds himself involved in one of those high speed chases the news people so much love to follow while pretending they are not hoping for a chase-ending crash of some sort. This one does end in a crash and, despite having done everything correctly, Page cannot help but feel a bit guilty about his role in the chase … more
I have read some of David's Morrell's previous books and I have to say that The Shimmer is quite different from what he has written previously. In The Shimmer, we meet our main character Dan Page - as the storyline opens, he is in a high-speed car chase that goes very wrong and he ends up witnessing the car he was chasing colliding with a gas tanker - which, in turn, explodes killing the people involved. Fraught with guilt Page goes home, only to discover that his wife is … more