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Sunday, 30 October 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Dream Faces by Steve Shanks

Dream Faces
Author: Steve Shanks
Genre: Supernatural Suspense Thriller

Book Description:
We all have a choice. Do we listen to the whisperings of the Angel on our right shoulder, or to the demon on our left?

Mark Stephens’ quiet life as an artist is turned upside down. At age 42 he finally receives the opportunity he has been working for. A national gallery discovers his art and wants to make him wealthy.

At the same time he has big problems. His current series of paintings are based on the vivid dreams he has recently been having about three girls. The trouble is, as the girls appear in his paintings, they disappear from their families, and the police are eyeing him as the primary suspect. On top of that, the real kidnappers, a group of Russians from Detroit, discover his paintings, and believe he is aware of them, endangering him and his family.

There is a silver lining. Out of the chaos Mark discovers he has a gift. He has the Sight. He can suddenly see his guardian Angel and other more sinister beings.

The police think Mark is insane or at best a suspect. So Mark goes after the kidnapped girls to try and rescue them.

Mark is not an action hero. He is an artist. But he does have a Guardian Angel.

Dream Faces is a powerful new debut suspense supernatural novel about everyday heroes, self sacrifice, and the choices we make.

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MY REVIEW

Dream Faces introduces us to the seedy and terrifying world of human trafficking through the eyes of a painter with clairvoyant abilities. Mark Stephans is a man who has vivid dreams of three young girls whose fates are intertwined when they fall victim to a predatory group looking to sell them to the highest bidder. The story is told from multiple POVs, all linked together by a connection to the three young girls. The concept and the themes presented were very intriguing. The idea that one could be easily influenced and fall victim to predators online was a frightening thought and one that can sadly be neglected if it hasn't or isn't happening to you. It was very thought-provoking. There is a lot to like about this story; unfortunately, its potential is greatly overshadowed by numerous issues.

Although I did somewhat enjoy the story, I was rather at odds with the way it unfolded, the negligible value of the supernatural beings and the grammatical errors, which was very intrusive, oftentimes disrupting what should have been a smooth flow. Usually, I can disregard minor grammatical errors, but it was so consistent that it was hard to ignore. Had it not been for all the errors, I believe I would have paid greater attention to the story, which would have made the experience more enjoyable. I tried to embrace the angels and demons, but their lack of significance and their passive role in the story, seemingly apathetic bystanders, made made them more of a distraction than effective props. Mark being a person with the Sight would have sufficed for the supernatural portion of the story. It just felt as though I was reading two different stories whose genres did not merge well - a suspense thriller trying to embrace the supernatural but not quite utlising the elements to make it feel as though you're immersed in the supernatural.

I didn't connect with any of the characters. Being that the girls were going through quite a terrifying ordeal, I expected to sympathise with them. Due to this lack of connection, I did skim through some of the pages in a bid to get to the end. I don't mind exposition, when done to an effective standard, and especially when it doesn't act as a substitute for the characters' feelings, thoughts and their general portrayal, which happened to be the case here. Most of the story was told to me rather than being presented through the perspective of individual characters. There was too much imposition on the author's part, and the characters' portrayals suffered because of this.

There is a lot of potential here, but I was too disconnected from the story to enjoy it the way I hoped I would.

BRONZE

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via author
Content: Some mild profanity

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