Welcome to the first chapter review of Joseph Nassise’s book Eyes to See.
I gave up my eyes in order to see more clearly.
The first line doesn’t start with any kind of action, but it has a pull to the reader. I like this first sentence; how often does someone give up their eyes to see clearer? How does that even work? It immediately makes the readers ask questions, and usually when we ask questions, we’ll read further to find out the answers. Eventually we’ll find the answer, but we’ll also have even more questions until we just have to read the rest of what’s going on.
So in this first chapter we’re introduced to the protagonist Jeremiah Hunt. We learn that he made the bargain with his eyes because he was desperate to find Elizabeth.
Now, if it wasn’t for the back blurb, the readers wouldn’t know who Elizabeth is right now, and that’s one of my pet peeves. If we learn the name of someone important, I’d like to know why they’re important. Some people may think wife as the number one possibility, others may think daughter, others may think sister.
I did find a quote I particularly enjoy:
I was pretty desperate in those days, the search for Elizabeth having consumed every facet of my life like a malignant cancer gorging itself on healthy cells, …
More to the sentence, but that’s the spot that I enjoyed of the sentence. The fact that writers can come up with an example like this. It really brings the reader in to the situation at hand…or in this case the feeling of the desperation.
It goes on to explain to us that he isn’t completely blind, which is what we figured from the first sentence. Instead, he can see perfectly in darkness because everything is in different shades of gray, but put him in the light and he can see nothing but white.
Interesting. I can already see it having its good and bad side effects.
We learn that Jeremiah can see ghosts, and some people may call him up for a job opportunity that he’ll sometimes take–especially because his cash is a little low at the moment from trying to find Elizabeth. He’s stated he doesn’t go around advertising his exorcism abilities to the public, and only a handful of people know what he can do, so they tell him about certain jobs.
He goes through talking about how the dead are all around us. Especially in crowded places such as subways and train stations, possibly because they miss being alive. I can believe that, I suppose, though I don’t often get those “cold chills” from out of nowhere, I do sometimes get the feeling I’m being watched.
He’s dropped off by a cab who asks if he’s sure he wants to get out here. Hunt can’t see what the cab drive sees, but he’d driven through the neighborhood back in the old days and knows why the cab driver is leery and nervous of the area. He remembers the area, with all the gangs and graffiti and such.
So he paid the driver and asked for a five back–the silly cab driver gave him a single back instead thinking Hunt was actually blind, but hello mysterious person outside the car who points it out.
Hunt roughs the cab driver up a bit (twisting his wrist) and decides to get the full amount of money back instead of offering a tip. We get a nice visual of what his eyes look like now (nope, not spoiling!) and exits the cab. The mysterious person is Joel Thompson, the man that had talked to Hunt on the phone.
I recognized his voice, a thin, reedy warble that reminded me of a whip-poor-will.
Just so you know what Joel sounds like.
And we finally know where we are! Massachusetts. I’ve never been there, so I don’t know what it’s like.
We get that he doesn’t care what other people think of him, rather wanting the money from the job at hand than anything else. He’s introduced to the other people.
Olivia Jones (elderly by the thinness and frailty of her hand), Frank Martin (a tank of a man whose dark form loomed over Hunt and a grip that felt like it could’ve crushed steel), Judy Hertfort and Tania Harris (both seemed to favor cheap perfumes), and Steven Marley (sounded like he meant it when he said “Pleased to meet you.”).
Apparently these six people were well-known for what they didn’t do–help out a young woman on the street named Velvet. She’d been beaten, raped, and left for dead. The “Silent Six” heard it, saw it, and did nothing. Later they came forward and had put the murderer in jail, but Velvet wanted to make them pay, thus haunted them.
It’s here we get information on what’s going on. A spirit that knocks things off the shelves and has suddenly become more violent, trying to do harm.
We find out even more information on what kind of ghosts there are. Hunt believes that Velvet is an angry, but harmless, poltergeist waiting to be sent on her way.
Hunt starts to leave, whistling for the cab when Martin told him he’d get the money once he’s done the job. Apparently Hunt didn’t like that comment, and I can see why. I already don’t like the big dude, but Thompson halted him for the moment, going back and talking with the group.
Hunt’s terms are that he gets paid up front, whether he completes the job or not.
I can see that as being fair. Getting rid of ghosts isn’t a walk in the park, as he says.
We end the chapter with these final lines:
…and then asked the question that would separate the men from the boys.
“So who’s going in with me?”
A nice end to the first chapter! It does make the reader want to turn the page, just to see if the big dude Martin will be a chicken-shit or not. We only really know about the characters Martin, Thompson, and Hunt right now.
We’ve already got Hunt’s personality down, I think. He really doesn’t care that much for people, probably because they judge him based on his looks, but he’ll do jobs because he really needs the money to find Elizabeth. The only thing he won’t do is show his desperation for needing that money.
Martin is someone I already can’t stand. A guy that thinks he’s Built Ford Tough, I guess. They always try to intimidate, and are almost always angry when dealing with certain people who are helping out. I mean, I’m right here, aren’t I? In almost every book if there’s a big, buff guy, he’s usually the one sneering at people. Hunt calls him Grape Ape in this chapter.
I like Thompson. He’s desperate to get the ghost out because he’s afraid, no doubt, with knowing what all of them could’ve done but didn’t do to help the girl out, and with the fear that she might kill them. He wants Hunt to do the job, so he talks to the group.
Not a bad first chapter. Not bad at all. It’s not often I read a book on ghosts that isn’t stuck in the horror genre, so this is definitely a change so far, since we learn about the different kinds there are.
The next chapter will come later!