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The Shimmer

A book by David Morrell

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A smart, complex, effective thriller

  • Oct 20, 2010
  • by
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.

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More The Shimmer reviews
review by . September 23, 2009
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 …
review by . June 21, 2009
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 …
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Rich Stoehr ()
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I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this book


The unexplained real-life phenomenon of the Marfa, Tex., lights in the sky provides the inspiration for this patchwork thriller from bestseller Morrell (First Blood), who plays with possible theories to account for the mysterious lights—the shimmer of the title—as well as the various reactions people have had to them since as far back as WWI. When Tori Page, wife of Santa Fe cop Dan Page, unexpectedly turns up in the small west Texas town of Rostov, the book's stand-in for Marfa, Dan flies to Rostov, where he winds up trying to understand the lights' powerful effects. Some can't see the lights, some feel they can produce miracles and some viewers turn homicidal. Still others hope to harness the power of the lights for military uses. A massacre, secret government installations and experiments and Page's investigative efforts fail to coalesce into the kind of riveting suspense that has been Morrell's hallmark.10-city author tour. (July)
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ISBN-10: 1593155379
ISBN-13: 978-1593155377
Author: David Morrell
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Vanguard Press
First to Review

"Creepy and thrilling"
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