Lee Driver,
The Unseen
(Full Moon, 2004)

When Sara disappeared, Dagger did not understand the depth of his grief. A hard-edged private eye ought not care about a teenaged girl on the verge of adulthood. But when she reappears with silent scars, Dagger has to re-open his heart and home to her. And when a mysterious man with shady intentions starts shadowing Sara's every move, when invisible robbers get away with murder by vanishing into thin air, Dagger has to put his questioning heart aside to find the killer before Sara disappears again -- permanently.

The Unseen is a rare specimen in mystery novels: a story with compelling characters and a terrible plot. Dagger, though stereotypical, is smoldering and sexy. Sara is an interesting enigma. Their evolving relationship -- from guardian and ward to romantic lovers -- is compelling and not as creepy as it sounds. But the plot is awful: trite and silly, with jagged character development and premises too thin to support a novel. Sara goes from young girl to sexy vamp to commando killer in the space of two pages. Villains develop supernatural abilities in the blink of an eye, then lose them before their eyelashes lift back up from their cheek. And the technology that explains all the mysteries is laughably simple.

Nothing after the first 20 pages in The Unseen lives up to the illicit promise of Dagger's and Sara's relationship. In fact, Lee Driver would have done better to write a romance novel rather than a mystery, since the most intriguing part of the novel is a burgeoning love affair and not a series of murder/robberies with ghostly overtones. There are plenty of well-written supernatural mysteries out there: more written, in fact, then ever see the publishing light of day. Go buy one of those and spare yourself the aggravation of this uneven book.

- Rambles
written by Tracie Vida
published 18 December 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.