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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Book Review: Memoirs of a Fortune Teller by Gary Turcotte

Title: Memoirs of a Fortune Teller 
Author: Gary Turcotte 
Genre: Fiction - Supernatural 
Finished: June 6, 2009 

Mary Ann is a fortune teller traveling with a carnival. Her gift, passed on from mother to daughter at the time of death, is as much a blessing as it is a curse. Left behind is a diary of a few of her predictions, some of them disturbing and some of them inspirational. Mary Ann meets people who will have good things happen, who will die, who will molest, who will hurt, and who will be hurt. The major limitation to her power is that she cannot see her own fate but through glimpses in the fates of other people. Her visions make her an unfortunate witness to a murder, which she hopes to stop before it's too late. Aiding a police man named George whose fortune she earlier told, they try to pin down the murderer as a priest tries to save him. There were things that I really enjoyed about Memoirs of a Fortune Teller and things that I did not enjoy. 

Overall, Memoirs of a Fortune Teller is a quick and thrilling read. I wish it were a bit more fleshed out, though, with ample detail given to some of the human interactions and emotions experienced by both Mary Ann and her clients. Mary Ann deals with a lot of trauma and personal reaction, so I think the book missed a lot of potential in keeping descriptions of behavior and reaction minimal. Also, it is unbalanced in how details are given. Mary Ann delivering bad news to a client is given in dialogue form with little reaction to heighten the emotion of the scene and make it real, yet we are given an entire page describing Mary Ann eating a carnival sausage, and another of her eating a candy apple. I wish it were the other way around. Also, I found Mary Ann to be a bit inconsistent as a character. On one hand she is preaching to a preacher about Jesus and forgiveness, yet on the other hand she confesses to not helping a man out when his child's life was on the line because he was rude to her. I wowed at that because that is an awful thing to do! I couldn't imagine someone taking such a strong stand on how people should behave yet at the same time not even caring, indeed justifying, their own horrid action. If added to and expanded, Memoirs of a Fortune Teller will make a wonderful suspense/thriller novel. With a murderer to catch and her own life on the line, Mary Ann could be developed into a strong, formidable female lead full of complex emotions that are tempered by all of the things she has seen and all the people she has met through her years as a traveling fortune teller. The events taking place could also be a little slower coming to raise anticipation for what is coming. The murderer could also be formulated a bit more, could stand in the background as a deeper, shadowy, and insidious character that hovers like a dark omen of doom, you know? I love a good bad guy and I wish he were more of a threatening presence to Mary Ann for a long period of time. I liked the book, really. But it is bare-bones and needs about another hundred pages of build up, suspense, and description.

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