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Luke, "Blink of an Eye" (reviewed by Karen Hamilton) Options · View
Posted: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 12:33:48 PM

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Location: Chula Vista, CA

Title:  Blink of an Eye
Author:   Gregg Luke
Publisher:   Covenant Communications
Genre:   Fiction/Mystery
Year Published:   2010
Number of Pages:  293
Binding:  Paperback
ISBN10:   N/A
ISBN13:   978-1-60861-026-6
Price:  $16.99

Reviewed by Karen Hamilton for the Association for Mormon Letters

Life is wonderful and precious.  There are so many possibilities and each person is filled with potential.  But it can change in the blink of an eye. Everything can be wonderful and just the way that you want it to be going and the next it can come crashing in on you. 

Joseph Ramirez has the life that he wants.  He is in the honorable position of being a Junior High Science Teacher.  He has a home in Solvang, California that is next to a bakery. Life couldn’t get much better. All of that changed in the blink of an eye.

“…When the light turned green, Joseph Ramirez edged forward to make a left-hand turn onto the county highway.  The five o’clock traffic was exceptionally hectic, even for a small tourist town like Solvang, California.  Five cars went before him --- three of the drivers making the turn while talking on their cell phones.

“As he followed the cars in to the intersection, a blur of motion flashed in his peripheral vision.  He heard the thick screeching of tires and turned his head just in time to see the grill of a large truck in his driver’s side window.  Before he could flinch, the sound of exploding safety glass and rending metal filled the air.  Shards of glass flew into Joseph’s soft flesh as the truck’s grill entered his small Nissan Stanza.  His vision narrowed as he felt a sudden weight press down on him.  A moment later he was lying sideways across the passenger seat.  The console between the front seats pressed painfully into his ribs.  He thought he felt one crack – maybe two.  He couldn’t see anything other than the area below the dashboard and found it curious how he’d never noticed the airbag icon embossed in that section of the vinyl dashboard.  He smelled diesel exhaust, burnt rubber, and the coppery scent of fresh blood.  The ever-increasing weight compressed his left leg, snapped it.

“Joseph knew exactly what was happening.  He knew it would hurt at some point, too, but the adrenaline in his system was circumventing any immediate pain.  The screeching, bending, sliding, shattering, and collapsing seemed to last forever.

“Then he heard a deep, hollow pop and felt a shifting of bone just under his scalp. An instant later the tormented sounds vanished.  The flashing lights darkened.  He tried to stir but couldn’t. … His head felt particularly strange.  It felt… liquid.

 “He knew pain was imminent.

“…The intense pressure in skull told him he was seriously injured.  Worse, he couldn’t feel anything from the neck down. But he could still think.  That had to be a good sign.  Didn’t it?

“Slowly, the sounds began to fade into a muffled gloom.  No light penetrated his closed eyelids.  Even the taste of blood turned bland, flavorless.

“Amidst a jumble of incongruous, amorphous thoughts, Joseph wondered, Am I still alive?  And if so, for how long?  (pg 1- 2)

It takes longer to read what happens to Joseph than it actually took to happen.  In a blink of an eye he went from great science teacher to mangled mess. 

The next thing Joseph is aware of is that he is thirsty.  Three weeks have passed between his last thought and realizing that he was thirsty. 

As the recovery process continues, Joseph is tortured with heart-wrenching vivid and graphic nightmares. These are becoming more and more detailed and lead him to believe that he murdered his father.  He is realizing that he has an entire childhood of repressed memories, and that they are not pleasant ones.

The lawyer that represents the truck driver’s employer is ruthless and a slime ball is challenging Joseph’s innocence in the traffic accident.  On the other side of lawyers is Michelle Haas, defense attorney.  She comes and helps him with all the legal mumbo jumbo; she also offers him friendship.  As they uncover his past Michelle and Joseph discover they knew each other as children.

Together they work with Joseph’s psychiatrist to uncover the root the night terrors, the memory fragments and the unaccountable overwhelming fear that comes along with them. It one way of finding the truth about himself and his family—that is reliving a past he has worked unknowingly to forget.

This is a great and gripping story.  I was up late reading, anxious to come to the end of the mystery.  Gregg Luke adds vivid and correct details that help the characters pop off the page and come to life.  The scenery is accurate and easy to visualize.  “Gregg Luke masterfully employs contemporary hypnotherapy to uncover a devastating past in this psychologically gripping novel.  Intense and very moving. – Brian Matthew Jensen, M.S., PSY.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist (back cover)

I highly recommend this as a change of pace in reading.  It is intense and one that will be hard to put down.  There are difficult “memories” that are uncovered that detail a childhood riddled with child abuse.  The abuse is physical, emotional and mental.  I will let my teenage daughter read this book, but not the tween.  This is a personal choice and one based on how well they deal with the unpleasant aspects of life.
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