In 1969 a woman is admitted into the hospital in critical condition after having been the victim of a drunken driving accident. It was only after having undergone extensive testing including several x-rays to determine the nature and scope of her injuries that her pregnancy was discovered. Though under normal circumstances the woman would’ve been healthy and recovered well if not completely from a rather broad spectrum of injuries her bruised and battered body is laid waste as the child within her grows and develops at an astounding rate. When the doctor is forced to perform a caesarean section and deliver the baby several weeks premature the woman bleeds out and dies and everyone believes the baby will too.
In present day Colorado adult Raine Donnelly lives the kind of quiet, solitary, uncomplicated existence of which no self-respecting adult can fathom the value, much less handle with any degree of equanimity. When he has a dream that begins to haunt him and strange, frightening things start to happen that he can’t control or predict like the radio on the kitchen counter that turns on by itself or the spinning vortex of ordinary toiletries in the bathroom followed by draining exhaustion, he seeks a doctor’s advice.
During the time that Raine is waiting to see the doctor as he called for an appointment in the middle of the night he conducts a search of his home and property hoping that he might find some clues that would explain what he was seeing and what was happening and why. While he doesn’t find anything that might shed any light on what’s been going on, he does discover a whole network of surveillance equipment, i.e. cameras hidden throughout his home and on the property, one of which he hides before he cleans up and goes to the doctor.
Dr. Clifford Maxwell listens to Raine’s story and then recommends that Raine see a specialist in Denver, as the doctor believes that Raine has a brain tumor and is hallucinating and having black outs that account for the extra-long naps and the unbelievable weariness he’s experiencing. He wants Raine to get an MRI to know for sure and refers Raine to a colleague of his, Dr. Lynn Calloway to obtain the needed tests.
When Raine gets back home from his doctor’s appointment all the cameras with the exception of the one he hid had all disappeared and Raine decides to leave for Denver ahead of his appointment and stay the night there. When he’s leaving he’s so absorbed in his own thoughts he’s almost hit by the snipers bullet that was aimed at him though he peels of in his SUV amid gunfire and another blackout.
When Raine is getting the MRI he is plagued by blinding pain and terrible convulsions and passes into unconsciousness during the procedure though no one really knows why. What puzzles everyone more though is how the machine itself could have completely crashed and every image produced by the MRI could have come out crystal clear. That’s when they discover the gland situated at the base of Raine’s brain next to the pituitary gland though what purpose it serves is a mystery to them.
Sierra Nicole Donnelly, widow of Raine Donnelly is planning an eminent vacation to Colorado Springs, Colorado with her twin daughters Renee and Elizabeth to visit her aunt Selby. Upon disembarking from their flight when the plane lands in Denver however, both twins have a strange episode that leaves one unconscious and the other complaining of a terrible headache and so thoroughly frightens Sierra that she decides to have them checked at the hospital once they regain consciousness. It’s when Raine is discharging from the hospital and Sierra is waiting for the twins to wake from sedation that they come face to face and Raine recognizes the ring that Sierra wears from his dreams. Completely taken aback by her fury and shocked to the very core of his being, Raine at first does not understand what’s happening when they overhead lights begin to explode and Sierra begs him to stop before someone gets hurt.
After a string of electrical explosions that leaves several minor injuries and plunges the whole floor of the hospital into darkness the twins wake up and seek out their mother and Vince Avery, the assassin who is out for Raine’s blood arrives with unwanted partner Leonard Hendrikson in tow. Raine is forced to take flight with his newly reunited wife and children despite Sierra’s protestations that she and the twins are ill-prepared to brave the frigid weather though they have no real or safe way to retrieve their belongings.
While they are on their way to Selby’s house which is the only place Sierra can think of that they would be safe she begins to teach Raine how to use abilities of which he is until now unaware that he possesses and he is able to see a memory of the two of them together through her eyes though he still can’t remember her or the twins. When they arrive at Selby’s he is once again greeted with a certain kind of anger on Sierra’s behalf though he braves it stoically and seems to win Selby’s grudging respect if not her belief in his innocence and errant memory.
While Dr. Lynn Calloway is treating burn injuries and glass cuts at the hospital following Raine’s flight after she learns that Dr. Clifford Maxwell is dead and she is confronted by Vince, who doesn’t know who she is and is asking about her. Pretending to be someone else because she is frightened by this stranger who is claiming to be an old friend of hers, Lynn narrowly avoids revealing her identity to Vince and decides she needs to seek out Raine to warn him that he is being pursued and that she believes his life may be in danger which is decidedly something of which he is already aware. It’s when she is packing at home to make her getaway after a chance encounter with another doctor that gives her a good idea of Raine’s whereabouts that Vince shows up and she is forced to take flight though Vince sees her and recognizes her from the hospital. When Lynn arrives in Colorado Springs she is involved in a tragic car accident in which she is fatally wounded when a van loses control on a patch of ice while traveling down a steep hill and the driver is unable to stop.
While Raine spends time with Renee and Elizabeth at Selby’s house, Sierra takes a shower and the smell of her shampoo and soap prove to be the trigger that leaves Raine flooded with an overwhelming tide of memories followed by the immediate certainty that Lynn Calloway is urgently in need of his help. When he arrives on the scene of the accident he uses his gifts to save and then heal Lynn and earns the wary distrust of everyone on the scene because of the frightening spectacle.
Unfortunately, while Raine is helping Lynn Calloway, Vince is traveling around the scene of the accident and arrives as Selby’s house ahead of Raine. Though Raine knows immediately that his family is in terrible danger, he arrives back at the house to find that Vince has already absconded with Sierra and the twins and Selby has been dumped in a closet with a nasty lump on her head.
While tending to Selby with the newly mended Lynn Calloway close by, there is a knock at the door and a great, hulking bull of a man introduces himself at Luther, the guy who dated Sierra while she thought Raine was dead. Then he reveals that it was mostly in line with undercover work as he was the one assigned to watch Sierra and keep the truth from her at which time Luther reveals as much of the full story to Raine as he knows and gets his nose broken for his troubles though Raine takes care to heal it again promptly. Then Luther tells Raine that he knows where Sierra and the twins were taken and in short order he and Raine are headed for the mental asylum where Raine spent a large portion of his childhood.
During the ride there, Raine finds himself dwelling on the situation so much and is so stressed out about Sierra and his daughters that he tends to lose his tenuous hold on his self-control and mentally begins to mess with the electrical systems in the SUV. Everything from the headlights to the radio begin to work erratically and Luther, in an effort to distract Raine begins to tell him about Baxter Cates, who oversaw every aspect of Raine’s upbringing from his diet to the various experiments conducted on him to what he was and wasn’t allowed to learn.
When they arrive at the asylum, Raine feels pulled helplessly to the office of Dr. James Worthington, a psychiatrist at the asylum whose experiments on Raine were little more than mad science and ranged from tests of his gifts to various experiments involving Raine’s immune system and eventually became work involving memory modification and erasure. James Worthington reveals to Raine as much as he knows about the scope and breadth of Raine’s gifts while keeping a gun trained on Raine followed immediately by suicide when he realizes that Raine won’t do the job for him.
Luther meanwhile is conducting a search and locates Baxter, Vince and Leo as he is called and then returns to lead Raine to them after Raine walks out of the office of the now dead psychiatrist to the accompaniment of a moment of panic for Luther when he hears gunfire. As it turns out, Luther needn’t have worried for though Raine is mildly shocked he is uninjured and knows quite a bit more about who he is and of what it is he’s capable.
This serves him well when he confronts Baxter, Vince and Leo as Baxter is overly confident and reveals to Raine that he struck his wife which in turn causes Raine to let go of any hold on his self-control in a moment of fury and he takes over Baxter’s mind. Baxter, completely controlled by Raine begins to fire his weapon wildly in no particular direction and ends up fatally wounding Leo, who stepped in the way of a bullet that was headed for Vince. Then Raine takes over the mind of Vince who, against his will as he has no control over his own actions, lifts his own weapon to his own head and pulls the trigger.
After Raine heals the black eye that Baxter gave Sierra, he, Luther, and Sierra leave the asylum while doing their best to shield the twins, who don’t need to see Vince and Leo dead on the floor.
Baxter is found after a weekend spent wandering aimlessly around inside the wing of the asylum where he had been keeping Sierra and the twins, as he is firmly locked away inside his own mind without even the ability to communicate or respond to communication in any way. James Worthington is buried on asylum grounds and the security guard who failed to keep the asylum secure quits his job and checks into the asylum for he is badly shaken by what he’s seen.
Review: I was fortunate enough to come across this book by pure chance. I started reading this book thinking that I would spend the next few days battling through a mindboggling read. Fortunately I began the read and before I knew what hit me I was drawn in and had the entire novel finished in 3 hours. I could not believe how intensely I got involved in this novel and I felt and I mean really felt every emotion and sense that Raine felt. Do not pass up this gem hiding in the ruff. Well worth the time and expense.
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