Fearless by Mike Dellosso
“Suddenly he felt a presence there with him and opened his eyes. A face materialized out of the smoke, hovered over him. Small, soft, white…the face of an angel. Blue eyes that seemed to glow from their own light. Hair the color of flax and pulled back off her face. A girl. A young girl, just a child. She smiled at him and placed her hand on his chest. Her smile was sweet and innocent, the smile of a child who’s never known the worst of this world. Oddly, in the midst of such chaos, such hellfire, she showed no signs of fear.”
From the very first paragraph, Fearless starts out in a sprint and doesn’t slacken pace for the entire book. With elements of the paranormal, suspense, mystery, and intrigue, the action keeps the reader guessing every step of the way. Once I started reading, I found it difficult to put the book down.
First a fire, then the mysterious appearance of a little girl out of the blue. Her name is Louisa, but she can’t remember her last name, who she is or where she is from, but her appearance saved Jake from the fire. While investigation to find her family draws a blank, the police chief places Louisa with Jim and Amy, foster parents who are still grieving the loss of their own unborn daughter. Her presence brings mixed reactions from the couple. Amy has reservations, but Jim wants the diversion.
A serial killer is loose in the little village of Virginia Mills. There seems to be no motive, no evidence or clues, and no reason to the killings. Alicia was in a dead end relationship and lying to herself that her boyfriend loves her. She wants to end it all, until the day she talks with Louisa, the little girl who saved Jake’s life. One touch from her hand and Alicia feels renewed.
Jim takes Louisa around town hoping that something will help trigger some memories, giving them some clues to her identity. One of the stops is the elementary school playground where the children from the school are playing. She seems to blend in and fit well. When she spots a girl in a wheelchair, she stops to talk with her. Jim doesn’t take much notice until he sees the wheelchair bound girl actually get up and take a few tentative steps. Louisa said all she did was pray for the girl.
Nearby on a remote farm, an older couple lives contentedly until a man disturbs their peace and takes them captive in their own home. He talks of a purpose but none of it makes sense to them. He builds a cage down in the basement and locks them up like animals until he done doing…what?
These seemingly unrelated events overlap with a few common threads between them, but are so obscure they keep the reader puzzling over them until the final chapters begin to coalesce.
What I find unique about this book and the events unfolding before us is the way the author creates an atmosphere of unease. The reader is kept off kilter first by the eerie awareness Louisa seems to possess whenever she comes in contact with people. She seems to look into their very souls and discerns what others either can’t or won’t understand. Her faith in God is simple and pure, and seems to put others off. Like the old black and white television mysteries of the 1940’s where most of the suspense is in the imaginations and anticipations of the viewers, people read into it mystique and almost diabolical intent that’s simply not there.
Secondly, the author takes a different tack and relates the operations of the serial killer from the point of view of the killer himself. The reader becomes privy to his distorted reasoning and preparations. The darkness surrounding him becomes part of the eerie atmosphere of the entire book. It was one of the reasons why I found the book so hard to put down even when I really needed to.
I found some of the descriptions of the killings disturbing. I’m not so sure I can justify the detail, although the details do serve as a clue to the identity of the killer, which is kept a secret until the very end. If you find that type of violence uncomfortable, then I do not recommend this book for you. However, overall, the writing style is exceptional, fast paced, and alluring. He makes the combination of paranormal, suspense and mystery work through excellent storytelling. I am curious to see if other books he writes are as compelling as this one is.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria on behalf of Charisma Media and Charisma House Book Group/Realms. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”