Length: 336 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Joe Knowe has a talent, something that some would call a gift and others, a curse. She can see things before they happen – but only very bad things. They sometimes come to her as flashes. But sometimes, when whatever is going to happen is really bad, laced with pure evil, she sees them differently – she sees them as sketches that her own hand draws. That was how she learned of the massacre that was going to take place at the university where she was a student. She knows what is going to happen, she even roughly knows when. But everything else is a mystery. And unless Joe can find out who the unclear, shadowy stranger in her sketch is, unless she can stop him in time, a lot of people are going to die – innocent people who have no idea about the evil that lurks around them.
Errors are a big turnoff for me, anyone who’s read any of my previous reviews will know this. These errors can simply break an entire book, in my opinion, because they have the ability to alter the entire reading experience. You’re reading a book peacefully and bam! You’ve got an annoying misprint, syntax error, missing word, or even grammatical error that makes you go back and read entire lines and paragraphs again to make sense of what just happened. The error changes the meaning entirely, leaving you incredibly confused and floundering about until some re-reads put you back on track. But your experience has taken a hit.
Joe has quite a few such errors that will make you go back and re-read a few lines. And that can be a real annoyance when you’re reading a book so full of suspense.
Then there are the many characters other than Joe, each of which have their own point of view, and each of who make an appearance every few chapters. You’re constantly moving between parallel running, but entirely different, story lines. In fact, I had to pause on multiple occasions and rack my brain to remember who the character was and what had happened thus far in his story. Like a Mary Higgins Clark book, which always has a few too many characters, this adds greatly to the feeling of being incredibly lost for the first quarter.
But here’s the thing – Gordon manages to make you associate with each of those characters. The confusion eventually wears off and you won’t even realize when that happens. The acceptance of each character and their stories is that smooth. Then you have Joe herself – a girl who does the best she can with the hand that she’s been dealt. She has a realistic understanding of who she is, her strengths, her weaknesses, and her abilities. All in all, an excellently portrayed, realistic character who can steal your heart from the get-go (of course, the cover image sure helps in imagining Joe the way Gordon did while creating her).
The story itself is not unique (the concept of premonition is not an uncommon one for books), but it is surely innovative in its presentation, take, and writing style. The style may take getting used to, but it catches on easily enough. And then you find yourself furiously turning the pages to know what happens next. What really makes you absolutely love the book though, is the end. There are very few authors who can make you feel real emotion even though you know what to expect, at least to a certain extent. And that is just what Gordon manages to do, making the book one that really reaches out to the reader.
Joe is a really good read that takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and you truly begin to feel for the characters. So it isn’t too much of a surprise that once you’re done with Joe, you’ll be rushing to pick up the sequel. I especially liked the book because in spite of the errors, which is something of a pet peeve of mine, I found it to be a touching and warm read with real impact. Gordon is surely a gifted story teller and one from whom I’d love to read more. If you like mysteries or suspense or even books with a touch of the supernatural, then Joe is one book that you must surely read.