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by Aviott John
Grace is a young woman of twenty-six when she discovers her unusual gift, a gift that enables her to find a lucrative job and acquire a modest fortune over the next five years. She sees at close quarters the environmental destruction caused by the company she works for, resigns from her job, and retires to an idyllic island in the South China Sea while trying to decide what to do with her life. A chance encounter with a lonely old woman grieving over the death of her beloved pet mongrel sets her unwittingly on a path where she has to use her burgeoning powers to avenge a murder and save her own life. This stand alone novel is the first of a trilogy. The second book about Grace, The Trees of Ta Prohm, is forthcoming in 2016.
Grace is an unlikely detective, but her psychic gifts make her a natural at it. Aviott John uses the exciting Hong Kong region as his setting. Filled with vivid descriptions and cultural details, we follow Grace as she is caught up in an increasingly dangerous case of murder and cover-up. All the while, she is trying to come to grips with her abilities and her future. Environmental crisis in mainland China might be spilling over to her island. Grace follows the trail in this perfectly paced mystery with a satisfying ending. (from a 5* review on amazon.com)
I love Grace. A felt a very strong kindred-spirit-ness with her as I read this book, and I kind of want her to be my bff.
I was pleasantly surprised with how great this book was, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I love character-driven mysteries, but was a little concerned about the supernatural power angle. Needlessly so, it turned out. Aviott John somehow makes Grace's ESP-ish gift feel totally natural (as opposed to supernatural) and believable; this power of hers does not feel like it belongs in a sci-fi book or a spiritual-heavy novel, it feels perfectly reasonable (in the real world) that her intuition is strong (even though I'm a cynic and believe nothing IRL). (Excerpt from a second review on amazon.com, 4*)
Aviott John was born and educated in India. He lived and worked in Austria for four decades; as a tennis court attendant, science writer, research assistant and publicist. He headed a research library near Vienna for ten years, then moved to an island near Hong Kong where he lived for 2 years with his wife and two cats. He is now a full-time writer in Vienna. His 1982 prize-winning novel, Sudarshan's Gift, was re-issued in paperback and for Kindle readers in 2015. This, the first volume of "Grace in the South China Sea," subtitled The Island, is a different kind of whodunit, featuring a thirty-three year-old Grace, who is not yet fully aware of her burgeoning powers. Read more of Aviott's short stories and details of work-in-progress on his blog http://aviott.org
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