Title: The Finder
Author: J.E. Lorin
Length: 284 Pages
Category: Speculative Fiction
At a Glance: August Goodson has enough charm and personality and vulnerability to carry the story; add to that the mystery and romance, and it all comes together for some truly entertaining reading.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: At the age of sixteen, August Goodson developed a strange and mysterious power overnight: he can find people. Victims of murder, suicide, kidnapping, accidents, and rape; August can find them all, usually dead, but sometimes still alive.
Nine years later finds August volunteering his services to the police. He’s still smarting from the loss of his long-time love Dante, who cheated on him with his best friend, and harbors a deep crush on the incredibly handsome, and oh-so-straight, Detective Luke Williams.
But there are bigger concerns on August’s mind: a serial killer is loose in the city, one whose victims are a little too much like him for comfort.
When August finds a living victim who may be one of the serial killer’s, he’s drawn even deeper into the case. Will he make it out alive, or will he soon be the one in need of finding?
Review: “Being sort-of psychic can be a real pain in the ass.”
When I ran across J.E. Lorin’s The Finder, I was hoping for a nice mix of Odd Thomas with a little Victor Bayne. What I got, instead, was 100% August Goodson, and I liked him plenty, all on his own merits.
Auggie is a talented man. He runs his own business, has since he graduated from high school. It turns out that he can fix pretty much anything he lays his hands on, and he’s made a successful go of repairing all sorts of broken things, from vacuum cleaners to VCRs. The only thing August can’t seem to fix is himself. That’s not easy to do when you didn’t even realize you were a little bit broken. But, being abandoned by his adoptive parents (the irony of Auggie’s last name doesn’t escape me) and then cheated on by his boyfriend—with his supposed best friend, no less—will tend to leave a few lingering scars on a man’s heart, and a powerful reluctance to allow anyone to get too close to him again.
Fixing broken things isn’t the extent of August’s talents, though, and his story quickly draws readers into a world of psychic phenomenon which he uses to help police locate the victims of violent crimes. Auggie, as it happens, also hears dead people. Or, at least he always did, up until a voice called out to him in the night, a survivor, the victim of a vicious beating who has a mysterious and disturbing mental connection to Auggie. With a serial killer on the loose, one who’s been targeting men like Auggie—young, pretty, and gay—the stakes escalate as the body count rises.
J.E. Lorin uses the first person narration to great effect in this novel. Told from Auggie’s point of view, readers are swept along on the race to catch a killer, as well as becoming privy to the immense weight and impact of this ability that surfaced out of nowhere when August turned sixteen. He’s part hero and part victim of circumstance, in ways, and while the burden is a lot to bear, especially as it becomes apparent that Auggie himself is in grave danger, he carries it all with more courage and grace than most men would. I connected with him in every way that’s important to the success of a story told in the first person. August has enough charm and personality and vulnerability to carry the story; add to that the mystery and romance, and it all comes together for some truly entertaining reading.
Even as I became more certain of who the killer was, it didn’t at all spoil the excitement of the events as they unfolded. I loved the way Lorin kept things moving forward with various concurring plotlines: The mysterious identity of the survivor who’s in a coma but still draws August to him. The friction that builds in Auggie’s relationship with his best friend, Cherry. And his relationship with the two police detectives he works with when he feels a victim’s pull—one of whom Auggie has a mad crush on, even though he’s certain Luke is straight. I also liked that the author didn’t go with the more predictable homophobic hate crimes angle here. In fact, gay, straight, bisexual, wherever a person falls on the spectrum, is an altogether non-event in the story, so there’s this sort of utopian vibe that’s disrupted by the heinousness of the crimes, and I liked the contrast.
Although there were some points in the storyline that I felt were hammered out a bit repetitively, when it came to the climax and how the mystery wrapped up, I was hooked. Everything comes together for Auggie with perfect hindsight—just a little too late for him to escape unharmed, unfortunately—but from it all comes something beautiful.
One of the things The Finder did most effectively was make me want to read this author’s other books, something I plan to do soon. This is a fun bit of escapism with a sympathetic hero, plenty of suspense, a nicely rounded cast of characters, and some sweet romantic elements to tie it all together.
You can buy The Finder here: