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Author: H D Gordon
Series: Joe #1
Release Date: June 30th 2012
Age Group: New Adult
From the author of the Alexa Montgomery Saga, comes a book that will take you into the mind of a genuine psychopath, the lives of six ordinary people, and the world of a very special girl named Joe.
Joe is seemingly an ordinary college student. She works, studies and reads. But in between these activities Joe has a gift that promises to add a dose of color to her life at any given moment. Joe sees things before they happen. Bad things, and the worst thing she has ever faced is just around the corner. Someone is planning a massacre at the college university that Joe attends, and the only person with a hope of stopping the psychopath is her.
Oh, the beauty of foresight. More like a curse. Joe has four days to figure out the mystery, make plans to take down the psycho, and save the lives of people. People like you and me. Ordinary people.
As Joe begins we make certain panicked assumptions about how this story will unfold. Each chapter is written with the aim of increasing our fear, making turning the page both addictive and unbearable.
For readers in the UK who remember the awful tragedies of Hungerford or Dunblane and those in the US who shared in the sadness of Sandy Hook or Columbine, H D Gordon’s story is particularly poignant. However, she attempts to present the facts about the controversial issue of gun crime, without swaying her reader’s opinion.
When we are first introduced to ‘The Decider’ his horrifying intentions are clear and though we know he is a psychopath there are no obstacles to him obtaining guns or bomb-building materials. H D Gordon also reveals how easily personal details about previous infamous gunmen can be obtained on the internet, suggesting that these atrocious crimes are too highly publicised, rather than appropriately condemned.
Although Joe clearly offers the reader this social commentary, H D Gordon counteracts the sense of realism with Joe’s clairvoyant power.
As the title suggests Joe is the story’s main character, even though its events actually revolve around Danny’s actions. Aside from her ‘talent’ Joe is thought of as strange; she has a stutter, prefers her own company and her black hair and silver eyes mean her appearance is striking,
H D Gordon takes a different approach with the novel’s narrative, composing it of internal thoughts of a group of characters who are all connected by what is to come. It would be easy to become confused by everyone’s identity, but each one has a very individual ‘voice’. As the story progresses we feel as though these characters are sharing important parts of themselves with us. This only helps to increase our sense of trepidation because we become aware that each person is looking towards an event in their near future.
Apart from Joe, whose ‘present’ story is told in the first person, there is a third person narrator. The chapters from Joe’s perspective are written in a stream of consciousness style; she procrastinates with herself, asking multiple questions. On the other hand, Danny’s narrative is written in short sentences and cuss words are frequently used. All of H D Gordon’s techniques affect how we react towards these characters and help direct our emotions.
By the point at which I reached Monday in the story I was honestly unsure whether I wanted to read on because of my own fear. Although I was tempted to skip to the end I stayed with the story, not knowing what an emotional wreck I would be at the end.
As the pace of the story quickens the chapters merge into one another and each character’s feelings overlap, increasing our need to continue reading. I reached a point where I was aware of myself shouting ‘NO’, but by then I was so lost in the plot that this was genuine horror.
Joe is clever, moving, distressing and awesome. As soon as I recovered from the book’s aftershock and my sobbing, I purchased its sequel. This is definitely a recommendation but prepare to be sucked in and spat out by the tornado H D Gordon creates. This is simply a masterpiece!