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MEETS THE EYE
Young Adult novel combines Serpent and the Rainbow with
By Denise Dumars
April 05, 2000
MEETS THE EYE, the latest in the 'Body of Evidence' series of thrillers starring Jenna Blake, is a fun popcorn read, a sort of Patricia-Cornwell-in-college-type book. In the series, Jenna, a college student, is a pathology assistant, or 'diener,' and throughout the books has faced a variety of puzzling murders. MEETS THE EYE is book four, just out last month. The next book, HEAD GAMES, is scheduled for June.
As the story begins, we learn that Jenna has given up her job at Somerset Medical Center. She is also embarking upon a tentative new romance with a friend named Damon, and we wonder if she's forever out of the mix as far as forensic pathology is concerned. She explains that she quit not because cutting up corpses bothered her, but because thinking about the people who made those unfortunates into corpses upset her too much. Meanwhile, the cops have some unusual crimes to deal with: they're being committed by people who are, apparently, already dead and buried! As the cops scratch their heads and start digging up corpses looking for answers, our heroine is falling in love and also having her interest in the forensic detection field piqued once more by the supposedly impossible crimes.
Jenna is drawn back into the forensic pathology game and resumes her job as a diener when some rather gruesome events happen in the pathology lab. There are some truly stunning scenes here, and though these books are aimed at high school and college students, author Christopher Golden puts in enough grue to sate even the most jaded Christopher Pike fan.
What Jenna finally realizes is that the so-called walking corpses are in fact zombies--but not the kind of zombies you see in horror movies, unless you have both seen the movie AND read the nonfiction book SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. For the 'Body of Evidence' thrillers are not supernatural horror, though they are very scary and perhaps fall under the category which Joe R. Lansdale calls 'dark suspense.' So what are the zombies if they aren't re-animated dead men? You'll just have to read the book to find out.
Jenna, her roommate Yoshiko, Damon, and their friends and the forensics gang are all very diverse and interesting characters. This book may be read as a stand-alone volume, but this reviewer will bet that once you've read it, you'll want to go back and find the previous three titles as well. Pocket Pulse expects to publish one of these every four months, and that gives the reader a leg-up on one of the most interesting fields dealing with the solving of crimes: forensic pathology, a field that was little-known just a few years ago and now, thanks to mystery writers like Patricia Cornwell and documentaries on stations such as A&E and The Learning Channel, has found an interested public.
MEETS THE EYE is recommended for teens and anyone who needs to pick up a book on the way to the airport or on the way to a vacation where lying in the sun might be made just a bit more interesting by adding a bit of creatively written darkness. Golden is a versatile author equally at home in horror, mystery, fantasy, and SF; readers would do well to acquaint themselves with his work in the various genres.MEETS THE EYE, by Christopher Golden, Pocket Pulse 2000. 208 pps. $4.99. ISBN 0-671-03495-2