Friday, July 13, 2018

Jana DeLeon - Unseen

Madison Avery is a young woman with a huge problem. From her penthouse apartment, she witnessed a murder in the building across the street, but by the time the police arrived, the crime scene had been wiped clean. Unfortunately, Madison suffers from prosopagnosia—face blindness—so even though she had a clear view of the murder, she can’t describe the victim or the killer. With no forensic evidence that a crime was committed and no description of the victim to match to a body, the police have no choice but to close the file.
But Shaye Archer doesn’t have the same limitations.
When Shaye hears Madison’s story, she believes the young woman saw exactly what she claims, and even though Shaye knows finding the killer will be next to impossible, she can’t turn down the distraught woman. Especially when she finds out that the killer saw Madison. Soon, the killer turns his attention to Madison, taunting her to heighten her fear, and Shaye is afraid his sights are set on his next victim. 

Comment: This is the fifth installment in the Shaye Archer series by author Jana DeLeon. So far, despite the tone of the series being a little too trivial to follow considering the themes, I'm having a great time with the stories. I liked how the protagonist is savvy and determined and smart enough to consider others' feelings and their help when needed.

In this adventure, the focus is on Madison, a young woman, marginalized by her wealthy family because of a mental condition called Prosopagnosia, which means those who have it can't memorize faces or recognize people's faces, including closer family and friends. Madison lives in high located apartment for the view and because of that, she sees a murder taking place in a lower house but in her rush to call the police, she turns on the lights in her apartment, making her an easy target for the killer. However, because Madison can't remember the killer's face, he sets his sight on her.
Madison then asks Shaye to investigate for her so they can catch the guy but of course not before he terrorizes Madison and almost kills her too. Will Shaye save the day again?

First of all, I thought it was great that the author chose quite a theme to start up her story. I had never heard of the situation Madison is supposed to have but after investigating, it's very real and can, of course, lead to a huge amount of self doubt and instability for those who have it and stress for those who can't deal with it, even by proxy. I thought the idea was new enough to make the story more interesting because, after all, Madison couldn't be a reliable witness of the crime and that was the starting point for the whole "trying to find the bad guy" action. If nothing else, it was good to learn something new or becoming aware of it.

As for the story itself, as one can expect, the crime and the investigation are the focus of the whole story. If one starts to compare the investigation to other books with similar situations, then I must say this one is rather simple. We read about what they do, we see characters acting but nothing is too explicit, too detailed nor is it explained to the minimal element. This means that, overall, the feel one gets is of superficiality, meaning we get the important parts, we get what matters the most but it's all pretty basic and to the point.
I can't say it's such a bad thing and, personally, I appreciate it. But then, the same thing applies to the characters' personal lives and in this case, too little or too minimal details can give the impression of not strong enough, not enough emotions and I'd like this aspect to be different.

Another interesting element in these stories is the personal life of Shaye and her attitude in relation to what happened to her. She has suffered many things no one would wish on an enemy but she is a healthy young woman now, very driven, very focused and for me the best part is that although her past does shape some of her attitude and influences her choices, it didn't define her personality. I really like her as a character for that (even if in real life, coping can't be as easy).
As always, we have scenes of her interacting with her mother, friends and it's nice. She also has a developing romance with Jackson, a cop, and it's sweet even if quite a slow burn. It's book #5 and they only kiss and say they love one another. Well, it's also believable considering the abuse she suffered too.

The resolution of this plot was rather simplistic. I liked there wasn't a big mess, that this is never too complicated or, at least, that it's not difficult to solve but the motivation of the bad guy escalated very quickly and I don't think we were given enough psychological context for it to be realistic.
Once again, some things were left in air about Shaye's past... I'm still interesting in reading more and it's always a good thing to know what to expect in terms of style from this series.
Grade: 8/10

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