April 29, 2012

Veiled Eyes

As I have mentioned previously, I will have guest reviewers of books from time to time.  This is one of those times.  I was talking with Ed Ackley several weeks ago about some of the books I've read over the past year, and then the conversation turned how authors sometimes write in different genres.  One such author came up, C.L. Bevill.  I had read one of her mysteries last year and really liked it, and Ed found one of her paranormal thriller - romance books and wanted to give it a go for me.  So, with out further ado...

Title:               Veiled Eyes (Lake People)
Author:            C.L. Bevill
Publisher:       Amazon Digital Services
Medium:         Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:  Anna St. Thais has always wondered who she was; an orphan or abandoned child. As she travels to New Orleans she quickly realizes that the dreams she's had of a strangely attractive man are very real and that he has a strong psychic connection to her. She finds the the enigmatic Lake People and there she will unravel the mystery that is her life.

Veiled Eyes by C.L. Bevill starts with the protagonist/heroine, Anna St. Thais hitchhiking her way across Texas after having her car freshly repossessed in Midland. Anna has to get to her friend’s house in Louisiana for a fresh start. Anna is down on her luck and literally out in the cold. Although this scenario isn’t anything new, Bevill does a good job with putting us right alongside Anna, “feeling her pain”. Then, as in any hitchhiker scenario, the lone trucker pulls up to help our damsel in distress, uh, okay...our down-on-her-luck mechanic.

Bevill’s execution of the introduction to Veiled Eyes is pretty well done and the reader certainly gets a solid feel for what will be the author’s pretty straight-forward writing style. Bevill’s prose is serviceable, if not a bit clunky at times, which offers the opportunity for a pretty quick read.

“Anna shivered. She opened her eyes and saw a little low-wattage yellow light bulb above her.
Dan had left the sleep light on and she was lying on her back on a fairly comfortable mattress
in a narrow space with storage bins above her. Her eyes felt heavy...”
“Her arms were above her head, posed unnaturally and she pulled at them twice before she
remembered that her wrists were connected to something.”

After scoring a ride with the lone trucker along the lonely, cold stretch of highway, Anna quickly finds herself on a wild ride. From here Veiled Eyes quickly takes on the aspects and pacing of a thriller. Certain aspects about who and what Anna is start to unfold which help to propel the action forward to where Anna finds herself in the town of Unknown, Louisiana. Once in Unknown Anna uncovers more about who she really is. This is where the novel’s plot and pacing starts to suffer a bit. Veiled Eyes takes on a more romance novel quality and pacing that starts to derail the more thriller-like aspects the author established from the novel’s beginning.

With this being said, one of the strongest points of Veiled Eyes is Bevill’s ability to make the paranormal and fantastic aspects of Veiled Eyes (Lake People) believable without any major threat to the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief. C.L. Bevill also does an effective job in painting Unknown, Louisiana with a local color that is nothing short of distinctive and delightful. Add to these things C.L. Bevill’s ability to weave a colorful tapestry of mythology and folklore in which she shrouds the town of Unknown; readers might start finding some of Veiled Eyes’ pacing issues forgivable.

I will also add that the Kindle edition I read would benefit from further proofing and another editorial pass. Simply put, the grammatical and text errors add up to the point of more than simple distraction; reader experience and overall story start suffering due to some rather simple and correctable issues. As for any Kindle formatting issues--none observed.

Overall, Veiled Eyes by C.L. Bevill serves as a manageable, light read with enough uneven action to maintain reader interest. If Bevill is already on your bookshelf; you should find discovering Unknown, Louisiana through Anna’s adventure enjoyable. If you’re looking for a more polished novel with attention to detail and thriller pacing, then Veiled Eyes might not be a trip you should take.

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