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Precog - L. Duigon Horror Book Review
Horror books Review
His brilliant parents never could comprehend why their loner 12-year-old son Robin only ever garners Cs in school, why he isn’t as equally smart or why he tends to be easily distracted, frequently losing track of memory and time. Robin has been made to take the IQ test repeatedly, has seen various child psychologists. And lately his scientist father and his father’s fishy Russian boss have been conducting experiments on Robin, treating him with injections and mysterious medicine intended to boost his latent psychic abilities. And then one day Robin collapses into a coma.
He wakes up almost one year later, his world changed irrevocably. His mother had died and his father had vanished. Some years later, Robin is in college now, and the experiments seem to have done the trick. Because Robin is a precog now, granted uncontrollable glimpses of events that haven’t happened yet, events that are either just around the corner or set in the far flung future. He’s also suffering from a constant barrage of nightmares and of moments in which he’s lost in a fugue. And in the recesses of his mind a dark presence calls out to him, recognizes him. Finally, finally, nineteen years old and having had enough of it, Robin begins to seek out answers. His first step is to try to solve the mystery of his disappeared dad.
Except that, in doing this, Robin has brought attention to himself. Now a relentless bounty hunter is sniffing out his trail. Because the Biotechnix Institute - the research company Robin’s dad used to work for - it wants Robin back. It wants its science project back.
If you enjoy reading psychic thrillers, then keep PRECOG in mind. It’s a shame that Lee Duigon hasn’t written more thrillers or horror novels, as the man (or woman?) has demonstrated a knack for producing interesting ones. I happen to think that Duigon’s Lifeblood and Schoolhouse are also very much worth looking up. PRECOG, coming out in 1990, does present a suspenseful tone, but the pace is more contemplative than crackling with action. Duigon allows the characters to develop and carry the story. He shows that Robin Lloyd may have a psychic gift, but the price that comes with it should give one pause. Robin can only control two aspects of his clairvoyance; he’s able to consistently predict winners in horse races and he’s never lost a chess match. Mostly, his visions appear out of the blue, rendering him instantly unaware of his surroundings. Then there’s also that other intelligence crawling around in his consciousness, able to forcibly transport his mind to the frightful landscape he calls the Dark Place. Robin is a tortured soul, and all the earnings psychically won at the track can’t alleviate what ails him. There’s a chance you’ll roll your eyes at Robin later on in the book, perhaps thinking him gullible, but he’s so desperate to find answers that he’s rather easily manipulated by the furtive bounty hunter. So you may scoff at the kid, but to me this just makes him more realistic. Robin Lloyd isn’t some superhero. He’s a very concerned teenager who is in way over his head, and, at this stage, he’s quite willing to grasp at straws.
Frankly, Robin’s dad is the more fascinating character. Dr. Henry Lloyd starts out as cold and calculating and very unlikeable, but he has a change of heart and, as the novel progresses, ends up playing a key role.
There’s a romance, but to me it isn’t very well fleshed out, as I feel that Lee Duigon takes a short cut by injecting a kind of predestined element into Robin and Jane’s relationship. Years before actually meeting Jane, Robin first saw her in a vision when he was twelve. As for Jane, a strange feeling sweeps over her when she first lays eyes on Robin, this feeling that she’s known him for years. This stuff would’ve been more cool if the author had then gone on to explore their relationship even deeper, given us more concrete moments to demonstrate that these two were indeed meant for each other. Instead I found Jane’s unaccredited university more intriguing. Her college is the kind of eccentric place in which a student can major in Chess, Escapist Literature, or Home Repair & Maintenance. I wish Duigon had delved more into this place.
The heavy, Mr. Johnson, makes a very competent and formidable antagonist, and I sure wouldn’t want to bump into him in a dark alley. But the sci-fi boogeyman of the book, this awesome peril from the distant future, seems to gradually lose its aura of menace as the book went on. I also wish that the author had presented more instances of Robin using his second sight, and, in the last half of the book, using this ability in a more proactive sense. Instead, it’s all about his getting drawn deeper and deeper into the Dark Place. As the climax unfolded, I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down, again wishing that Robin had been more actively involved. Earlier on, Robin had had a vision of his dad shooting at him with a gun. In the climax, this vision comes to fruition. In this novel, time is indeed immutable. Cannot change it.
I haven’t read Lee Duigon’s novel, Mind Stealer, but I’m hoping that that one is a sequel to PRECOG, because I do want to know what’s in the future for Robin and Jane. The thing about PRECOG, I kept waiting for it to be much more than what it turned out to be. It’s still a good read and I do recommend this book. Even when nothing much seemed to be happening, I still couldn’t help but read on, because the characters do draw you in. But I was expecting more sizzle, more excitement, more indulging in psychic feats. I was expecting Robin to maybe use his ability to foil the villains. This doesn’t really happen. Anyway, If you’re looking for other books with more thrills and which cover more ground relating to psychic phenomena, go dig up John R. Maxim’s Abel Baker Charley or Dean Koontz’s Cold Fire.
3.5 out of 5 stars for Lee Duigon’s PRECOG.