"It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn."
- Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN
Be careful what you wish for.
In TUNNEL VISION, award-winning writer Gary Braver once again delivers a thriller not afraid to explore the big questions and repercussions of delving into the territory of the unanswerable. With his trademark attention to timely, cutting-edge scientific scholarship and his crisp, riveting writing, Braver's latest offering, in fact, asks the ultimate question: Is there a God? He broaches the subject with seasoned mastery and dares his readers to think about the temptations today's science and technology dangle in front of us.
In TUNNEL VISION, award-winning writer Gary Braver once again delivers a thriller not afraid to explore the big questions and repercussions of delving into the territory of the unanswerable.
Set in Braver's oft-featured city of Boston, TUNNEL VISION is the story of Zack Kashian, a Northeastern grad student struggling with a gambling problem and mounting debt. On his way home from a card game one night, the icy streets of Boston send him headfirst over the handlebars and into a 12-week coma. The atheist awakes on Easter Sunday, quoting ancient Aramaic, a language he has no recollection of having ever been exposed to. A secretly taped video goes viral, and it's not long before his hospital room is visited by fanatics seeking his wisdom and his touch, labeling him a modern-day prophet or miracle maker.
"You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been."
- Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN
Plagued by bills, Zack looks for ways to make ends meet once he's released from the hospital. He is roped into a paying experiment by a friend. Dr. Elizabeth Luria, a neuroscientist, heads a team that is inducing the "tunnel experience" often reported by near-death patients, hoping to find a true connection to the afterlife. They are backed by a wealthy gentleman who desires once and for all to prove that there is a God. Zack turns out to be an exceptional participant and is lured back repeatedly for more tests.
The more Zack participates, the weirder his experiences become. Sarah Wyman, the intern in Luria's lab, chalks it all up to neurobiology, until, that is, Zack starts reporting odd sightings and a string of connected murders strike close to home. Meanwhile, a religious group hell bent on stopping the research hires Roman Pace, a repenting hit man, to save the Church from Satan's science.
"Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you! At last, I know the secret of it all!"
- Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein
Does God exist? Braver doesn't pretend to answer the question in TUNNEL VISION. Instead he gives us a frightening look into what some people will do for the sake of religion or science. He teases with mysterious happenings that leave the reader thinking about the "what if" question that underlies all his best stories. Braver is a masterful storyteller, and I can only wonder "what next"?
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on July 3, 2011