Here’s a novel opening for you!
Collin Boyd stepped off the Metro bus on his way to work, and across the street he saw himself strolling down the sidewalk.
A stubborn but warm February rain was pouring hard across the concrete canyons of downtown. His foot had landed ankle-deep in a drainage puddle, and his half-broken umbrella wasn’t extending as it should. But the umbrella, which had rarely seen use, quickly fell out of his hands and he no longer noticed the rain. His eyes were fixed, his head turning slowly to follow the other man down the opposite side of the street.
It wasn’t until someone shouted from behind that he finally got his legs moving again.
The man he watched with rapt attention weaved his way casually through the crowd, headed in the direction of Collin’s workplace. He wasn’t a man who merely resembled Collin. He was him. The same face, the same body, the same walk, he wore the clothes and raincoat Collin had put on that morning. He carried Collin’s briefcase.
The text goes on for a few more paragraphs while Collin tails his doppelganger in disbelief, wondering whose idea of a joke this is, wondering if they’ve started cloning humans, wondering if he is really in a padded cell somewhere hallucinating. Then he catches sight of himself in a glass window.
The rain had stopped. He stood under the small canvas awning of a tiny high-end boutique with a floor-to-ceiling storefront window. He looked up, expecting to see mannequins on the other side of the glass, but instead, reflected back at him, was a man he’d never seen before.
Everything about his appearance was unfamiliar. He was taller, appeared to have a rather meaty, athletic build, and he wore high-end clothes much too rugged and in style for Collin’s taste. Gone was the tiny, balding spot on top of his head, replaced now by thick brown locks trimmed neatly above his ears. He wasn’t wearing his glasses–in fact, he didn’t seem to need them. He had a few days’ growth of facial hair. Even his flabby midsection was missing.
I’ve gone mad.
He stared at his reflection for minutes on end, unable to do anything else.
Who am I?
That other man–he’s me. And I’m…not.
Did we switch?
This is the beginning of the opening scene of Relentless by Robin Parrish. It sets the tone nicely for the relentless pace that follows. The man–apparently no longer Collin Boyd–discovers that he is carrying a wallet with the ID of Grant Borrows. And only minutes pass before Collin/Grant discovers that someone wants to kill him.
The rest of the relentlessly paced novel chronicles Grant’s pursuit of discovering who he is and what his purpose is…while keeping ahead of those who want him dead. He finds that there are others who, like him, have been *shifted*, who now have a strange ring welded onto their finger. Each has a specific gift–and Grant’s, of course, is specialler than the others–but what are they for?
This book would land more in a suspense genre than fantasy or science fiction. Maybe supernatural suspense–if you can have supernatural suspense without one single mention of God, Satan, angels, or demons. (At least I didn’t notice any!) And while the pace was certainly relentless, it wasn’t too graphic for me. I read this 442-page book in one day, and I certainly recommend it.
Check out what other reviewers are saying about this series: Trish Anderson, Brandon Barr, Wayne Thomas Batson, Jim Black, Justin Boyer, Grace Bridges, Amy Browning, Jackie Castle, Karri Compton, Frank Creed, Lisa Cromwell, CSFF Blog Tour, Gene Curtis, D. G. D. Davidson, Merrie Destefano, Jeff Draper, April Erwin, Linda Gilmore, Beth Goddard, Marcus Goodyear, Andrea Graham, Russell Griffith, Jill Hart, Katie Hart, Sherrie Hibbs, Christopher Hopper, Jason Joyner, Karen, Dawn King, Tina Kulesa, Lost Genre Guild, Rachel Marks, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Eve Nielsen, John W. Otte, John Ottinger, Robin Parrish, Lyn Perry, Rachelle, Cheryl Russel, Hanna Sandvig, Chawna Schroeder, Mirtika Schultz, James Somers, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith, Jason Waguespac, Daniel I. Weaver