Review: THE SHIMMER by David Morrell

Thank you to Anna from FSB Associates for sending me this book to review!

Dan Page, a police officer and pilot, comes home from his highly stressful job and finds his wife has disappeared. There is short note from Tori saying that she has gone to visit her mother. A call to Tori’s mother and Dan finds out Tori is driving to San Antonio, 800 miles away. Something is wrong. Dan knows it makes little sense to drive when it would be so much faster to fly and so he sets out to locate her. He picks up Tori’s trail in Rostov, a small town in Texas near the Mexican border that is renowned for the mysterious lights that appear on the horizon every day around dusk.

Based on actual lights that appear near the town of Marfa in West Texas, this novel is an action packed thrill-ride. David Morrell, a meticulous researcher, realized that if his main character were to be a pilot, he himself would have to know what flying was like to infuse the story with reality. In an article published in 2009 he says:

“As a novelist version of a Method actor, I couldn't just cram an airplane into my novel. First, I would need to learn how airplanes worked so that real pilots wouldn't be annoyed by inaccuracies. Real pilots. That's when I realized that it wouldn't be enough to learn how airplanes worked. I would need to take pilot training.”

Well, the authenticity certainly shines through in The Shimmer. Describing what it’s like to pilot an airplane, Mr. Morrell writes (on page 23 of The Shimmer):

"Nonpilots often assumed that the appeal of flying involved appreciating the scenery. But Page had become a pilot because he enjoyed the sensation of moving in three dimensions. The truth was that maintaining altitude and speed while staying on course, monitoring radio transmissions, and comparing a sectional map to actual features on the ground required so much concentration that a pilot had little time for sightseeing.”

That makes complete sense to me. As a person who hates flying I am gratified to think that pilots concentrate on the task at hand!
The Shimmer is a fun book to get lost in. The characters seem like regular people going about their everyday lives until they are thrown a curve ball and find themselves dealing with life-threatening situations. The story moves along at a fast pace. And I really enjoyed the main protagonist, Dan – he was a smart, funny, thoughtful and empathetic character.

I’m always very pleased when I find a new-to-me author that I enjoy and this one fits that bill. I'll be looking forward to reading his other books. If you like thrillers that keep your attention and, well, thrill, then I highly recommend The Shimmer!


bermudaonion on September 24, 2009 at 5:18 PM said...

I love a good thriller and this one has piqued my interest!

Literary Feline on September 25, 2009 at 9:23 PM said...

I haven't tried this author yet, and so I am glad to read you enjoyed this one. I'm always on the lookout for a good thriller. Thanks for your great review!


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