Saturday, July 31, 2010
"If you stand straight, do not fear a crooked shadow." Chinese proverb
Finn is a former N.Y. cop who was blinded in a violent incident. Currently, he works as a professor of literature in an exclusive school with a small staff. St. Valarian's Academy for Girls is located a half hour north of Manhattan.
The story centers during a Christmas vacation and the campus is mostly deserted. The only other male on campus is an Irishman named Murphy and called Murph. He has a bad shoulder and, to the blind Finn, Murph "...smells of shaving lather and whiskey." Murph serves as the groundskeeper at the school.
Although blinded, Finn's other senses are heightened and one night, he discovers a town girl who has been injured. Harley Moon had been moaning in the grave yard when Finn comes upon her. He brings her back to his room to bandage her wounds. While being treated, Harley tells him not to call the police and that he is in danger. Then she leaves.
The author uses flashbacks to allow the reader to learn of Finn and his former partner, Ray. We learn that when Finn was on the police force, there were a number of police officers who were being paid off by criminals and what Ray's part was. We also come to know that Ray is only out for himself and is jealous of Finn.
At the school, a number the female students are having a party with alcohol that has been smuggled into the school. Finn is considered to be a pal of the students and they invite him to share in their party. It is as if, since he can't see, the girls feel that he won't tell authorites about their party. As the party is progressing, they notice that one of their friends has disappeared and Finn goes in search of the missing student.
The suspense is well done and the author does a good job in describing how a person who cannot see can still defend himself. The action is particularly tense as we read of this blind man attempting to save the girls from whoever is stalking him, or them.
An enjoyable story with Finn, a well described character who shows his courage, empathy and professionalism in dealing with the young students and criminals.