Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth
In a world where the dead can testify against the living, someone is getting away with murder. To every generation a select few souls are born with violet-coloured eyes – and the ability to channel the dead. Both rare and precious, and rigidly controlled by a society that craves their services, these Violets perform a number of different social duties. But now the Violets themselves have become the target of a brutal serial murderer – a murderer who has learned how to mask his or her identity even from the victims. Can FBI agent Dan Atwater, aided by Violet Natalie Lindstrom, uncover the criminal in time? Or will more of Natalie’s race be dispatched to the realm that has haunted them all since childhood?
I decided to borrow Through Violet Eyes from my local library after reading a review of it over on another fellow book monkey’s blog (you can read his review here). I thought this would be right up my street as I’m instantly drawn to supernatural fiction nowadays. However, I was sadly disappointed to find it more of a ‘FBI chase’ than a supernatural story.
Through Violet Eyes was published in 2009 by Piatkus books, and is the first of a series. It is about a minority of bald-headed people known as ‘violets’ simply because of their violet eyes, and the abilities that come with it – most particularly, the ability to channel the dead through their own bodies. However, when someone starts murdering violets, someone who has somehow managed to keep their identity secret from its victims, it is left to FBI Agent Dan Atwater and violet Natalie Lindstrom to solve the case.
The violets are able to use ‘touchstones’ – items touched by a person when they were alive, to seek out their soul in the afterlife. The soul takes over the violet’s body and is able to talk, usually for the purpose of saying goodbye to loved ones, or for making sure justice is carried out over their death.
There are some intriguing elements in the story, with the characters of the violets, but sadly with the way it was written, it just read like any other unoriginal, boring ‘thriller’. All the technical FBI terms became tedious, and even some of the events that took place seemed ridiculous. The relationship between Natalie and Dan, which although at first is a very tough one considering Dan’s lack of empathy with violets and his fear of their abilities, it is sickeningly inevitable that they are going to get together. I found Dan a cringe-worthy character who was so predictable and lame that it became tedious to read any more of his diabolical dialogue (particularly his constant use of ‘Did I ever tell you, you look good as a blonde?’ referring to whichever colour Natalie’s wig happens to be at the time). Even the identity of the killer became pretty obvious fairly quickly, which is not what you want when you’re reading a thriller!
I think this book had some good ideas, but it was badly executed, and sadly I am left with no desire to read any more in the series.
My fellow Book Monkey did give it a good review however, so maybe if a simple fast-paced thriller with a bit of a supernatural edge is what you’re after, then maybe you will get more enjoyment out of it than I did. After reading such great supernatural fiction this last year (such as The Passage by Justin Cronin), this just didn’t compare…