“Shattered Mirror” by Iris Johansen is a paranormal thriller with a tease of romance. What makes this book stand out is that the good guys and gals are actually good and the bad guys are pure evil, without any gray area.
Eve Duncan, a forensic sculptor, has the job of reconstructing skulls for recognition. At her Georgia home, left in Joe, her husband’s car is a package with a skull burnt beyond recognition. Also, inside are two mirrors, one intact and one shattered.
It is threat sent to Eve that her family is currently intact, but will be shattered as this killer goes after them one by one. This villain has set up a complex plan to get revenge by first going to New York’s Carnegie Tech where Eve’s ward, 18-year-old violin prodigy Cara Delaney, and her roommate, former child actress Darcy Nichols, have residence.
After Cara is attacked in their room Jock Gavin comes to her rescue. He is someone designated to be Cara’s protector but also became her best friend. With danger looming, Cara and Darcy agree to visit with Eve, Jo and Michael their 6-year-old son. After their arrival, it becomes apparent there is more than just a casual resemblance between Darcy and the skull, which turns out to be Darcy’s twin sister, Sylvie. Eve and her team must work quickly to discover who is behind that murder and threats against her family before the killer destroys all she holds dear.
She had the profession as a forensic sculptor because “I think it is honorable what she does. Most of the time the work is done when a person cannot be identified. After the restoration, it is used to circulate a picture for the public to possibly recognize who was that person. Another important aspect is the ability to give closure. Their loved one can have a sense of who they were before the horrific act was committed. I think Cara’s roommate Darcy went through that process with her twin sister Sylvie.”
The paranormal plays a significant role in this novel. There are many characters who can communicate telepathically with each other or those who have died. Eve is able to connect with two of her birth children, Bonnie who lost her life, and Michael who is the joy of Eve’s life. They can communicate their thoughts without any sensory perception. The twins, Darcy and Sylvie were also able to do this before Sylvie’s death, and it appears they can do it in some form after her death.
Being fascinated with the paranormal the author feels “it reaches beyond the scope of what we know and what we dream of or can hope for. But my paranormal is never a horror story like what Stephen King writes. The family is trying to keep their young son Michael just a kid, but it is getting harder and harder because Michael is Michael. I do like to keep his talents a surprise, both for me and my readers because it’s more fun that way. Because he is different it presents a whole new world.”
As in all Johansen books family plays an important role. Eve and Joe have unconditional love for those children conceived at birth and those who became a part of the family formed by love not blood relations.
Johansen commented, “Most of my books involve family because I really believe in family. Eve and those around her circle the wagons when one is threatened. Joe Quinn is now a detective with the Atlanta Police Department. I made him a former SEAL because they are tough, smart, and have incredible endurance with a complicated lifestyle, especially after he becomes involved with Eve. It is a very cold world out there but they all realize as a family they can get through anything. In my family, we are making an effort to be like the one in the TV show Blue Bloods. At least once a week we get together and make sure we are not all scattered to the four winds. It is important that we stay together.”
This story is highly suspenseful with interesting, witty, and intelligent characters. The killer is a psychopath who does not worry about collateral damage or the gruesome ways he goes about murdering people. Readers will be on edge as they take a journey with Eve and family to find the killer before he catches them.