Book Summary: "Glimpse" by Jonathan Maberry
A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Rain's mother wanted her to be the dancer that she couldn't be after an injury to her femur kept her on the sidelines, setting up for the long list of disappointments for the young woman in Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry.
Rain's dreams of being a dancer are also cut short as she learns of a her pregnancy as a teenager to a boyfriend who has been deployed into the military and killed shortly after a roadside bombing. Rain's parents, rather than finding understanding in their daughter's grieving and letting her find solace in the only thing she had to remember her first love by- their son; they bully her into putting the baby up for adoption.
The day before Rain gives birth she remembers it well.
This was the first time that Rain Thomas died.
She was walking through the park, for some reason thinking about the weird nightmares that bothered her as a child and later become more pronounced as an adult. Her dreams are filled with a strange man in a dark suit and a tie that she is afraid to touch, believing that it was human skin. She calls this monster Doctor Nine, and the closer she is to giving birth, the more the memory haunts her.
She also has dreamed of a young girl with a sinister smile- the kind that appeared painted out by too dark of lipstick and eyes too green to be human. The little girl was Bethany and she hated her sister, so one day she just killed her to see how it would feel.
Now Rain sees an adult Bethany in her dreams as well, as Doctor Nine's assistant.
The day before she gave birth, she was walking through the park and met a Monk that said some strange worlds about her baby being the light in the world, and that he would fight the hopelessness.
He touches her stomach and Rain's water breaks and she is rushed to the hospital.
Due to complications, and her heart stopping during the birth, her son is delivered by C section.
Only once does Rain see her son in the hospital, after Doctor Nine and The Nurse appear in her room holding the squalling child. The Nurse licks at his face and the boy's features disappear.
Three days later when Rain was out of the hospital was the first day of the seven years she was a drug addict.
After she left the hospital, it was the first day of Rain's next seven years as a drug addict.
The Lost Day
Rain is now sober for three years, though one would hardly know it from the monotony in her life. She struggles to find a job and has been living off a welfare check in a rundown building in Manhattan where cracks in the ceiling, bugs, and water spots from the rain are common. She knows a few people in her building by face, minus the man named Joplin that she occasionally hooks up with but won't call it a relationship.
On Thursday, Joplin and Rain hang out and she goes to sleep setting her alarm for the next day when she has a job interview.
The morning starts oddly as her dog, Bug is terrified of something and won't come out from under the bed. Rain goes into the bathroom the start the shower and several times notices the moving shower curtain. She reaches and feels a hand behind it touching her and screams, falling off the toilet. She knows that it is related to Doctor Nine but she can't explain how or why.
She gathers her strength and leaves for the interview, taking the train seat next to an older Hispanic woman who tries to speak with her, saying ominous things about "She has to help him out because of Him." Rain tries to ignore the woman's words and instead borrows her glasses to read over her paperwork for the interview. Once the glasses are on, Rain swears she sees a young boy that for some reason she feels is her son.
The old woman is gone, Rain removes the glasses and so is the boy.
On the way to the interview, she swears several times that she sees Doctor Nine walking on the other side of the street, and that she sees the boy darting in and out of cars- once running into the road herself.
When she finally arrives at the interview the receptionist looks at her puzzled and says it is Saturday.
Rain frantically checks her phone for the date. She has no outgoing or incoming emails, Facebook, or texts from Friday. It was like it had just disappeared.
Defeated she starts to head back home into she gets lost in an oddly familiar place she has also seen in her dreams her whole life where the Shadow People live. She has always known their names, their little shops, their occupations. She has always wanted to go there and dance.
She comes across a cab driver that turns out to be a Veteran, that drives her home. She can't help but think about her dead boyfriend. She can't help but wonder why the driver was also in the place of the Shadow People and what else he knew.
In the first dreams, Bethany was a young girl that killed her sister just to see if she could, she grew into The Nurse, the assistant of Doctor Nine and they have been haunting the dreams of those affiliated with Rain now in their adulthood.
Shadow People And The Place Of Fire
It takes awhile, but Rain confides in her friends from her NA meetings, eventually even to Joplin, and the cab driver who she learns is named Sticks.
It is unclear if it is purely their association with Rain that makes them targets, but everyone in the groups starts to remember their own dreams like something out of The Nightmare On Elm Street franchise where The Nurse and Doctor Nine have been haunting them for as long as they could remember and they begin to feed on the group and cause their deaths in the real world.
After a young boy is found hung with Rain's shower curtain, she feels somehow this is all connected to her son that she never knew. She never really told anyone his name either, something she wanted to keep for herself until she tells it in an NA meeting that she planned to call him Dylan. Through the glasses, Rain can see the boy with The Nurse and Doctor Nine and knows that somehow they have been manipulating her son all this time.
This is in fact true as Dylan was stolen from the hospital, as Rain remembers and has been groomed by the monsters- which are compared to be an incubus and succubus; a variety of fiend-like vampires that feed off emotions. Doctor Nine and The Nurse want to rid their victims of hope.
Dylan begins to learn their rules and take their beatings. They show him how to make watches and collect the fear and despair they feel off of in vials inside the watches.
Time is described as a scalpel blade to Dylan, each day as the blade moves it cuts away more and more of the time a person has left.
With many of his mother's friends now dead, Dylan gets his idea.
Time is a scalpel blade cutting away what time a person has left each movement of the hand.
The Day That Mattered
While many things in the novel are confusing, even though through Maberry's brilliant writing, the way Dylan saves Rain is unlike anything I have ever read before.
Where I can forgive the lose idea of calling Doctor Nine and The Nurse vampires, in the sense they are feeding off the emotions, it doesn't explain what they really are and how they came into existence. If Rain's friends remember that they have dreamed, or written about the pair when they were younger was it only people that in life would have a great sadness and be turned into addiction that would fall victim?
Sticks wasn't into drugs but it turns out he knew Rain's boyfriend in the war. Joplin wasn't mentioned being into drugs but he eventually was forced to slit his wrists because of the torment of the vampire beings.
If everyone in the story has been to the Fire Place and seen the Shadow People in their dreams did that make the Shadow People everyone that succumbed to the fear and stopped fighting to be alive? What about the strange private eye that was interjected later in the story getting the tattoos of the faces of ghosts he sees that meets Rain after the third time she died?
Rain should really get some attention from a cardiologist after how many heart attacks she has in this book.
In the world of the shadows, Rain comes across and older Dylan, mean and accusing for her allowing him to be raised by monsters and never fighting for him. She says she had no idea.
And to be fair, it never was explained exactly why Dylan was the one to be able to stop the monsters other than the Monk in the park that day that had made the comment just before Rain's water broke and she died the first time.
Dylan is on top of her, about to kill her when it becomes Doctor Nine and The Nurse.
Suddenly, Rain is relieving the day at the park before her son was born. The day before she died the first time.
Dylan had realized that by making the watches, he could take time from people but also give it back to them as well. The Friday that Rain couldn't remember was the day Dylan had taken only to replace it with the day that would save them both- because Rain never put Dylan up for adoption and decided to keep him after her walk in the park it negates everything else that happened after that event in Glimpse.
A unique ending for sure, but I still have questions about all of the friends that died. Are they still dead because Doctor Nine was real to them? Was there a day Dylan could have taken when his father was also still alive or was that impossible before he was born? Who was the woman with the glasses referring to and why did she know to give them to Rain?
Why can Rain only see things for what they really are with the glasses?
A very well written and thoughtful book, Glimpse really leaves the door open many interpretations and possible sequels about the others involved and the origin of Doctor Nine.