DARK SIDE OF THE LOOKING GLASS
iUniverse (306 pp.)
$28.95 hardcover, $18.95 paperback, $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1491716915; December 19, 2013
Harris’ debut novel presents an intriguing take on time travel, as a man in a coma travels back to 1965, inhabiting the body of an American soldier in the midst of the Vietnam War.
It’s 1995, and Sam Michael, who never served in Vietnam but is haunted by horrible dreams of it, has a brother, James, who’s still missing in action. The night of Sam’s 50th birthday party, John Strawder, who served the same time as James, tells Sam a bizarre story about a battle in which a black soldier named Will Lee Waters told him details about his past and future that Waters couldn’t possibly know. Wounded, Strawder was rescued by a strange Air Force colonel named Gabriel. The night of the party, Sam is struck by a car and falls into a coma. The dreams begin as usual, but he plunges ever deeper, finally awakening to reality as Waters in 1965 Vietnam. There, he begins a search for his missing brother. Meanwhile, readers learn that his brother was recruited into a highly secret undercover operation, where he goes by the name Jack Gabriel.…the unique plot is a solid page-turner with vividly written action scenes.… Sam’s journey to find James becomes a spiritual quest that some characters even deem to be ordained by God… the well-crafted story will appeal to fans of sci-fi and military drama.
A creative, suspenseful time-travel tale laced with historical detail from the Vietnam era.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744
Dark Side of the Looking Glass
iUniverse, 295 pages, (paperback) $18.95, 9781491716908
(Reviewed: July 2014)
Vernon Harris’ new novel, which begins in 1995, follows an ordinary man on an adventure of time travel and intrigue.
As Sam Michael’s 50th birthday approaches, he finds himself plagued by nightmares. The dreams feature a terrifying incubus that teases Sam with visions of his lost brother, James, who disappeared in Vietnam 30 years before.
At Sam’s birthday party, he is hit by a car, which sends him into a coma. When Sam awakens, he is not in a hospital bed but in Vietnam in 1965, in the body of a soldier named Will Lee Waters. This new identity gives Sam the opportunity to discover the truth about his brother. Whether Sam can stay alive long enough to get back to 1995 (and his own body) is another matter.
In a parallel storyline, the novel follows Sam’s brother, James Michael and his adventures in the 1960s. James has been recruited into an elite American black ops unit, where he takes the name Jack Gabriel. James/Jack’s exploits dovetail with Sam/Will’s investigation and Sam’s family’s vigil by his bedside… James’ adventures in his Jack Gabriel incarnation are enjoyably sexy and action-packed. And Harris uses dialogue and telling details to create multidimensional supporting characters, particularly Sam’s wife, Joli … with hints of a dark past and sexual temptation.
Dark Side of the Looking Glass has many impressive aspects … it is likely to appeal to readers of thrillers and suspense.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.
A fascinating story of war and brotherhood is punctuated by dreams, time travel, and a search for identity.
Vernon Harris’s memorable debut fiction book The Dark Side of the Looking Glass, follows the journeys of two brothers: one as he fights for his country in the Vietnam War and the other sent by cosmic forces to find his missing brother and to assuage the pain his family has felt for three decades.
Sam Michael lives a simple life with his wife and immediate family. Besides losing his brother James to mysterious circumstances in the Vietnam War, Sam has not known hardship. Then he begins to have the same nightmare every night: an unseen monster holds him in its grasp and taunts him with strange details of his brother’s disappearance. When a freak accident sends Sam into a coma, he is sent back to 1965 Saigon in the body of an American soldier. His mission is to reverse history and bring his brother James back to America. On the flip side of this story, we learn about James’s role in a clandestine division of the Department of Defense, which requires him to shed the identity of James Michael and take on that of Jack Gabriel, anonymous assassin.
Harris has the right credentials to author a book like this. In his previous job, he worked as an international military specialist. He has studied languages and traveled to places in North America and West Africa.
The book cover is striking, featuring the image of a soldier staring into a mirror in a bathroom, but it is not his own image he sees… Every color used is a variation of black and blue, simulating a difficult-to-discern room. The book is also easy to get through, with some chapters less than a page long. In all, the chapters number an impressive 119, plus an epilogue.
The Dark Side of the Looking Glass is a bold project … an impressive story.
By Marita Strozier on June 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase