* Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster for review *
Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O'Hara is a single mum trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lacklustre love life.
Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India's ambassador to the United Nations, starts having violent visions. Maanik's parents are sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father - a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels - but when children start having similar outbursts around the world, Caitlin begins to think that there's a stranger force at work.
With Asia on the cusp of nuclear war, Caitlin must race across the globe and uncover the supernatural links between these seemingly unrelated cases in order to save her patient - and perhaps the world.
I've been a fan of actress Gillian Anderson for many many years, beginning with the epic TV Show The X-Files. I went on to enjoy her portrayal of Miss Havisham in BBC's Great Expectations her roles in Bleak House and The Crimson Petal and the White and she's simply brilliant in the TV show Hannibal as Hannibal's psychotherapist.
When I heard she was teaming up with author Jeff Rovin to write a sci-fi thriller called A Vision of Fire, I was really excited.
The book starts off with a very international feel, with one of the main characters being the daughter of the Ambassador to India currently engaged in peace talks. This wasn't really essential to the main plot but added depth and suspense later on. So did the fact that the protagonist Caitlin O'Hara has a deaf son, I really enjoyed his small role and their interactions together.
There's the discovery of an artefact, which for me was the most exciting part of the novel and I would have loved to read more about this set of characters.
The first half reads as a well-written thriller and it was hard not to see Gillian Anderson as the character Caitlin in the novel. She's smart and intelligent and great at her job. The second to last third of the novel is where things really move into the supernatural themes that made The X-Files so popular. It's not that Anderson and Rovin are using themes or ideas from the show - theirs is all new material - but the explanation for the fits and visions the young characters are having is pretty 'out there', and won't appeal to all readers. In fact the climactic scene almost reads as if it were a dream (I'd love to know which of the co-authors was the primary contributor here) and felt like the scene was transcribed from memory rather than created as fiction. Strange.
I'm pretty sure there's nothing out there at the moment (in the thriller genre anyway) quite like A Vision of Fire and it's exciting to see Gillian Anderson published as an author. The ending leaves room for a sequel and this novel is Book One of the Earthend Saga, so I guess I'll be staying tuned for the next one.
My rating = ***