Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Review: Faces In The Fire by T.L. Hines

Book ReviewT.L. Hines weaves an unusual story in Faces in the Fire -- a story of four people who know nothing about each other but have everything in common. A disjointed story where the chapters come out of sequence and somehow the ending is the beginning. Or the beginning is the ending. Either way, the ending is a shocker, totally unexpected and unforeseen.

* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

It was somehow oddly appropriate that I finished reading this book on September 10, after struggling through the first half of the book for some two weeks -- much longer than it ever takes me to read a book.

As Hines guides the reader through a scattered story where things happen out of order but somehow still have a sense of flow, we get to know four people: Kurt, Corinne, Grace, and -- in the end -- Stan. We learn of the quirks these characters all have that make them feel like bottom feeders -- like catfish.

In the end, we learn of Stan, a contract killer working for an organization that holds him captive in his career by threatening harm to his mother if he steps out of line. But as Stan is caught in the act by Grace, who saves the life of his intended victim, Stan fails for the first time, and is sent by the organization on an unexpected mission -- a mission that requires him to fly across country on Flight 93. On September 11. 2001.

Stan -- traveling under the alias of Kurt Marlowe -- finds himself as one of the heroes aboard Flight 93 as it is forced down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11/2001. The same Kurt Marlowe who opens our story, having survived a fiery crash that has wiped out his memory. The fiery crash of Flight 93, though he doesn't have any memory of it -- or of who he really is.

* * * END OF SPOILERS * * *

Faces in the Fire started as a somewhat difficult book to read, but as the story progressed, and I got into the rhythm of the jumbled timeline, I found myself finding it more and more difficult to put the book down. And when I came across the surprise ending -- well, I was floored.

I have to recommend this book, but you have to commit yourself to get through the first half, no matter what. The second half will make it well worth it.

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