Graham Joyce,
(Michael Joseph, 1999;
Pocket Books, 2000)

Graham Joyce turns to suspense fiction in Indigo, a novel that mostly succeeds but does not stustain tension quite as well as his previous novels.

Jack Chambers, former bobby and currently a process server, flies to Chicago from England to serve as executor to the estate of a father he barely knew and understood less. There are some strict requirements Jack has to fulfill in order to collect a sizable fee, among which is to arrange for the publication of a manuscript on the process of becoming invisible.

Jack also discovers that he has a half-sister, Louise, and upon meeting her, he is troubled to find that his feelings are less than brotherly. Louise and Jack join forces in spite of their mutual attraction to find the woman due to inherit a large amount of money from their father.

Woven throughout the narrative is the text o the manuscript, and its arcane discipline and search for the elusive color indigo intrigues Jack as he and Louise follow obscure trails across Rome. Then Louise returns to the States and it is as if the final tie to Jack's "normal" world is broken.

When the two meet again, Jack has undergone a kind of transformation due to his experiences, and they return to Rome to finish their task. Up until the point where Jack returns, Joyce maintains a steadily rising level of suspense. But when Jack returns, Joyce chooses to have Jack tell Louise everything that happened rather than show the reader. Even though Jack's narrative shifts the perspective to the more immediate first-person point of view, the prose falls flat, and the plot becomes cloudy from that point on.

Overall, Indigo is still a good, engaging read if not as exquisite or memorable as Requiem or The Tooth Fairy. Graham Joyce fans in particular will want to give it a try.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 20 July 2002

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