In X-Files actress Anderson's debut novel, Caitlin O'Hara is a child psychologist and trauma expert who is called in to assist when an ambassador's daughter demonstrates strange symptoms. When the girl's bizarre hand gestures, indecipherable language, and mysterious scrawled symbols turn out to be the same as those manifested by young people in Haiti and Iran, O'Hara suspects that larger, possibly sinister forces are at work. In a globe-spanning epic, Anderson and coauthor Rovin explore possible paranormal connections among people to depict a psychic trauma that spans both space and time. Anderson's reading of her own characters is the ideal way to experience this fast-paced narrative, which creates almost as many questions as it resolves by the time it draws to a close. The various accents she employs are fluid and believable; the listener is in excellent hands. VERDICT Recommended for thriller fans and those interested in dipping a toe into speculative fiction. ["This sf thriller's first half does pack a lot of tension as Caitlin travels from New York to Haiti to Iran in pursuit of answers," read the review of the Simon451: S. & S. hc, LJ 9/15/14.]—Anna Mickelsen, Springfield City Lib., MA
Yes, that Gillian Anderson. The versatile X-Files star has teamed up with perennial Tom Clancy partner Jeff Rovin (Conversation with the Devil; Rogue Angel) to produce her first novel and rest assured that it is no celebrity dud. A Vision of Fire implores you to suspend disbelief and enter the world of Caitlin O'Hara, a child psychologist who is currently staggering under the weight of a global epidemic of madness. Her search for a cure, or even a cause, leads her to travel to faraway places to head off a catastrophe she is almost too afraid to contemplate.
Actress Anderson of X-Files fame makes her fiction debut with this gripping, well-written thriller, coauthored with genre veteran Rovin (Vespers). Ben Moss, an interpreter at the United Nations, asks a friend, Manhattan psychiatrist Caitlin O’Hara, if she can figure out what’s bothering Maanik Pawar, the 16-year-old daughter of the Permanent Representative of India to the U.N. Maanik’s father, Ganak, narrowly survived an assassination attempt on a Manhattan street, and while the teenager, who witnessed the shooting, initially seemed okay, she has begun injuring herself, screaming, and speaking in gibberish. The crisis at home threatens to have global implications since it distracts Ganak from focusing on nuclear saber-rattling centered on Kashmir. Caitlin soon finds that Maanik is not the only person to display such symptoms. Fans of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child will find a lot to like. Agent: Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Gillian Anderson is returning to the genre that made her a cultural icon.
"[A] slick, fast-paced page-turner replete with nuclear threat, occult cabals and an epidemic of apocalyptic visions suffered by children worldwide."
"Anderson and co-author Jeff Rovin, an established novelist and ghostwriter, have crafted a book that takes a measured approach to the supernatural and wears its sombre apocalyptic mood like a stylish cashmere overcoat."
Gillian Anderson delighted us for years as the skeptical Agent Scully on The X-Files, and now she wants to return to the genre that made her famous, this time as an author.
This is basically the dream of nerds everywhere.
[W]e’re quivering with anticipation for Gillian Anderson’s debut science fiction novel.
"A real page turner!"
During a period of tense negotiations at the UN, the Indian ambassador who is facilitating talks is shot at outside his daughter Maanik's school. The young girl, a witness to the assault though seemingly unhurt, soon exhibits bizarre and violent attacks of screaming and self-harm. The ambassador's translator calls in his friend and psychiatrist Caitlin O'Hara to help the girl, but she discovers that Maanik is not the only one to suffer these symptoms, which also involve visions of cataclysms and unseen forces. VERDICT Owing to award-winning actress Anderson's (The X-Files) celebrity, there will be interest in this title regardless of its literary merits; however, this sf thriller's first half does pack a lot of tension as Caitlin travels from New York to Haiti to Iran in pursuit of answers. The mystical elements, when they kick in later in the book, are further out there than any X-File episode, and the author leaves plenty of unanswered questions for future series volumes. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/14; previewed in Eric Norton's sf/fantasy feature, "A Multiplicity of Realms," LJ 8/14; Simon451 is S. &. S.'s new sf imprint.—Ed.]
It's no surprise that the first novel, and first of a projected series, from actress Anderson (The X-Files, etc.) and collaborator Rovin (Conversations With the Devil, 2007, etc.) comes with a strong X-Files tang. A member of an enigmatic group steals a puzzling artifact recovered from beneath the south Atlantic waves. Meanwhile, as nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan ratchet up, India's United Nations ambassador Ganak Pawar narrowly survives an assassination attempt. His daughter, Maanik, who was at the scene and escaped unhurt, suddenly begins injuring herself, screaming uncontrollably and babbling in what seems to be an unknown tongue. U.N. translator Benjamin Moss calls in distinguished Manhattan child psychiatrist Caitlin O'Hara. She finds Maanik's symptoms baffling—especially when Ben listens to her ravings and identifies elements of several wildly disparate languages. Then, in Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. In Haiti, a student apparently starts to drown—on dry land. Rats occupy New York's Washington Square. And when Caitlin touches her patient, she experiences strange visions and feels an external presence. The professionally executed narrative moves the stock characters along at a briskly globe-hopping pace but offers no original elements, fresh perspective or innovative treatment. So what's behind all the obviously linked phenomena—demons? Malevolent aliens? Ancient civilizations? Sinister conspiracies? Mystic powers? Savvy readers will get that sinking feeling when they begin to guess about halfway through—ideas so threadbare they'd come close to the top of any fantasy or science fiction editor's "never write about this" list. Still, with that celebrity name on the cover, anything's possible.