by Chris Dolley
Cover Artist: Allan Pollack
Review by Gayle Surrette
Baen Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 9781416521341
Date: 22 May 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
[Editor's Note: We're re-running our review from the January 2006 issue.]
In Resonance by Chris Dolley, Graham Smith has learned to adapt to a world that occasionally unravels and changes. As a young child he learned not to ask about people who'd disappeared, neighbors whose houses changed during the night to a business or empty lot.. He learned it was better to be silent rather than say the wrong thing. As an adult, Graham is an obsessive-compulsive who has rituals for everything and never talks to anyone if a nod or shake of the head will do. He leaves himself notes so that he'll know where he lives and works. He's developed strategies to deal with the changing personnel at work. He knows that people think he is dumb and weird, but not dangerous. He also knows that he has to be careful because the world changes if you're not careful and he believes that if he pays attention to the details he can keep the world from changing. Then Annalise Mercado plops into his life.
The first time he meets Annalise, she's a got metallic red hair streaked with black. But she tells him people want to kill him. When next he meets Annalise she's got orange hair, or blond, or brunette. Each times he meets Annalise, she's the same person but different. But, she's psychic and can communicate with other Annalises. He learns there are over 200 and they are all trying to save his life. ParaDim Corporation for some reason is trying to kill him. Time after time when ParaDim's Resonance Project is shut down Graham Smith is found unconscious in the street. But when he meets Annalise 15 (they've numbered themselves), he begins to come out of his shell and realize that he may be alive but he hasn't lived. So he has to act -- to save himself, to save Annalise 15 and the universe. Graham is a reluctant hero because to act and make choices goes against everything that has kept him safe and secure.
For most of the book, you really don't know what's going on. The narrative is clear but the interpretation of the facts is not. The characters are kicking around ideas as to what could be happening. As the reader, you get carried along thinking the story is going one way and off it veers in another direction. Once you figure out the universe and what's happening you still don't know who the key players are and why. Then there's the love story. I mean what do you do when you don't know if the Annalise you care about is the Annalise you'll see next. And how can you get back to the right Annalise when everything is changing around you.
I don't know about you but I like being surprised by a story. I enjoy having an author keep me interested in the story and caring about the characters. Dolley does a great job of pulling all the elements together to keep you reading.