Review

Second Sight: A Novel of Psychic Suspense

by George D. Shuman

The publicity materials that I received with SECOND SIGHT,
George D. Shuman’s fourth book featuring Sherry Moore,
helpfully describes it as “(A) novel of psychic
suspense.” While true, it is also a technological thriller, a
character study, a romance of sorts, and, above all, a subtle
page-turner that begs to be read in one sitting.

If you don’t have Shuman on your must-read list of
authors, SECOND SIGHT will provide you with an excellent reason to
do so. It would be easy to describe Moore as a “blind
psychic,” but she is much more than that. Her lack of
physical vision is not congenital, but was visited upon her ---
apparently from some unknown trauma --- while she was still a young
child. It left her with an ability to tap into the final memories
of a deceased person by touching them (to call it
“channeling” would not be entirely accurate), an
ability that has brought her fame, notoriety and tragedy.

Indeed, SECOND SIGHT begins with Moore being accidentally
exposed to a potentially lethal dose of radiation while assisting
on a case in New Mexico. The exposure, and the resultant treatment
and testing back home in Philadelphia, is one of the “ticking
clocks,” if you will, that resonates throughout the book.
There is, however, another that is of arguably equal import. Moore,
while on a hospital gurney, comes into contact with the body of
Thomas J. Monahan, a long-term resident of a mental hospital
in rural New York. In addition to experiencing a series of visions
that are by turns horrific and enigmatic, Moore suddenly and
inexplicably regains her sight. As one might imagine, this
unleashes a whole series of questions and concerns, not the least
of which is whether Moore still possesses the ability to visualize
the last memories of the recently dead. That question is answered
in a dramatic moment, but more are raised along the way.

Moore understandably feels a link to Monahan and wants to find
out more about him. She begins asking questions about the man, a
Korean War-era serviceman whose official Army records don’t
coincide with his medical transcript. Garland Brigham,
Moore’s seasoned and extremely capable neighbor, is there to
help (and to slowly entangle himself emotionally with someone as
well), but his enigmatic and subtle efforts and Moore’s own
tenacity attract the attention of Edward Case, the wealthy and
influential head of a major pharmaceutical company whose fortunes
are tied to keeping the true story behind Monahan quiet. In order
to maintain the status quo, Case unleashes Troy Weir on her. Weir,
Case’s stepson, is totally without scruples, and worse, he
possesses a weapon prototype that is even more chilling in its
execution than it is in theory. As a final confrontation is carried
out against the backdrop of a dangerous and ironic tableau, Moore
learns the answer to more than one question that has been troubling
her, even as her own life is in mortal danger.

Shuman is an amazing craftsman whose best stories have yet to be
told. While SECOND SIGHT is complete in and of itself, one can see
potential plot lines radiating out from it for future volumes.
Brigham, a retired Admiral with friends in the highest of places,
is a fascinating character in his own right. Additionally, the
cases on which Moore consults are interesting enough that they each
could provide fodder for an entire novel on their own. Primarily,
however, the greatest mystery revolves around Moore’s
background: who she is, where she comes from, and how she came to
be what she is. There is a lot to love about SECOND SIGHT, Shuman
and Moore, and much more that has yet to be unveiled.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Second Sight: A Novel of Psychic Suspense
by George D. Shuman

  • Publication Date: August 4, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1416599797
  • ISBN-13: 9781416599791