Monday, 2 July 2007

The Fallen by Jefferson Parker

The Fallen
Jefferson Parker

CAN YOU imagine the advantage for a cop of always knowing for sure?

In Jefferson Parker's The Fallen his hero, detective Robbie Brownlaw, has plunged into a burning building to save a frightened man. But the man turns and throws him out the window, six storeys up.

Brownlaw falls, but lands on a canopy and lives. When he wakes in hospital he is subject to a condition called synesthesis, a leakage of the senses.

This actually exists, though it's unusual. Certain musicians perceive particular notes as colours, or as scents, while some people see pictures and hear music.

In Brownlaw's case, the sense affected is truth. He can sense the true emotions when people are speaking, with coloured shapes sliding out of their mouths if what they feel isn't what they say.

Handy enough in investigating the apparent murder of a super-ethical super-policeman - Garret Asplundh, who left a trail of clues into his own probe into the police department.

What starts as an earnest police procedural plod takes off when Brownlaw discovers the first of Garret's secrets: he was hiding a young prostitute, bringing her back from the brink.

It doesn't stop, and speeds along, swerving from high to high, with plenty of shocks to keep the reader's adrenaline surging.

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