Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you.
Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.
Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.
DRUMROLL… Review time:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disemblance runs, not walks, a fine line between science fiction and contemporary murder mystery. While I used to read mysteries as a teenager, I find science fiction far more interesting. The SF invention, similar to a Star Trek holo-deck, made the book unusual enough to keep me turning pages.
The author also did a good job with the character of Jason because I enjoyed his interactions with his mentally ill little brother Isaac, and the developing relationship with Boston. I was happy to meet a male protagonist who was smart instead of mediocre. Without Jason’s genius, the convoluted plot would have been wasted. I enjoyed thinking along with him as he tried to decide what was real and what wasn’t and what to do about it.
Probably to establish the fast-pace, the author chose to forgo some character development I would have liked. Why was Boston watching Jason to start with? She wasn’t well enough fleshed out for me to get much of a feel for her motivations or to identify with her. Neither was Isaac. Why did Jason and Isaac’s dad allow their dead mother to be copied once he saw Isaac’s belief that she was a real? Given the large amount of trouble Isaac caused in a short time at the beginning, why wasn’t he given more time in the story?
This brings me to point of view choices. The author did a good job of crossing genre boundaries except when it came to mixing young adult with adult points of view. It’s fine that the villain was an adult. Very creepy. But as an adult with the usual adult problems, Detective Durante didn’t hold my interest. The coroner was more interesting, but I still wanted more teen focus. I wish Jason, Boston, and Isaac had been allowed to carry the story themselves. Well maybe the next time.
Point of views aside, I didn’t want to put the book down. I enjoyed all the twists and turns and fast-paced reality bending. The ending was both creative and disappointing. Given the spoiler event that brought people together, why weren’t they allowed to interact with the source they came to meet? It made me sad how they were used, and it didn’t endear the responsible adult one bit. Strange that the person who wasn’t very good at one relationship and who mistreated a multitude of others would want to take on two more relationships, but at least that loose end was tied.
The ending wasn’t quite complete because some loose ends weren’t tied, but it was much better than most of the series books I read. Although I would have liked better characterization for the teens in this book, what the book lacked in YA focus it almost made up in breakneck pace. I did find some editing problems, but I’m sending a list for corrections, and there weren’t enough to affect my review. 3.5 stars overall. I was provided a free review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
Author Shanae Branham
I am a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo.
I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet. In fact, I have struggled with Dyslexia my whole life, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was when DiSemblance won a Silver metal in the fantasy/science fiction category at the eLit awards in 2012.
I don’t usually post on Saturdays, but I promised to help with a cover reveal for an author whose first book I really loved. Please stop by again!