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Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Delusional Traits by David George Clarke

Finished January 6, 2014

Synopsis on Good Reads3

Is The Truth Delusion… Or Can Delusion Be The Truth?

1970 – Not for the first time in the last four hundred and fifty-two years, gifted artist Annie Carr has brutally stabbed and killed a man. But this time there are witnesses, and with a vindictive district attorney against her, she faces a possible death sentence. Desperate for a way out, she resorts to a dangerous tactic – she tells the truth about herself.

2012 – Despite having always enjoyed perfect health, forty-six-year-old Sara Farsley has worries other women would kill for: she isn’t ageing – she still looks and feels exactly as she did when she was thirty.
Sara can remember that when she was a small child her mother told her they would both live for ever, but her long-dead mother was insane and guilty of homicide.
Having lived her life trying to forget her past, Sara is persuaded by her family to find the truth, and the deeper she digs, the more bizarre the truth becomes.

The second book in the Rare Traits Trilogy, Delusional Traits continues the story of the 15th-century Renaissance artist John Andrews and others like him. The now almost six-hundred-year-old John never met his daughter Paola, born in Naples in 1518, but not only is he certain that she shared his rare traits, he is also convinced that she is still alive. His hopes are raised when his art-and-computer-expert friend Ced Fisher shows him a number of brilliant paintings by an artist called Annie Carr that can’t be distinguished from the work of a 19th century female artist. But then John’s hopes are dashed when he discovers that Annie Carr is dead. Or was her death a delusion?

My review on Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

Okay, it’s actually 4 ½ of five stars but there was no way I was going to give this book just 4 stars so officially it gets five, but it’s 4 ½. Let me explain:

I think maybe the book is too short. The first book, Rare Traits, was a much longer book and still felt like it was too short when I finished. I’m not at all saying anything negative about other book. Like a good book is supposed to they both left me hungry for more. Again Delusional Traits carries the reader to a world of art history through the chain of identities of one centuries-old artist. This time the bulk of Annie Carr’s history is related through talks with the psychiatrist assigned her case after witnesses confirm the murder she committed.

As with Rare Traits two stories, one past and one present, culminate in great discoveries for the characters. I love the detail in the stories that build Annie Carr’s character. Just as John Andrews never changed the person he actually is through nearly 6 centuries of identities in the first book, Annie Carr’s personality doesn’t change from the time of her birth four and a half centuries ago. The book developed an antagonist that the reader can really dislike but left them sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for him to make a move. The story ended with a cliffhanger that just made me yell “NO!” I’m ready for the third book now

For me personally the 4 ½ instead of five stars is because the story lacked the action climax that Rare Traits had. There were definitely some exciting points as puzzles were figured out and computer programs searched, but it didn’t quite have the same “beat the bad guy” punch. Still, it was a great book I couldn’t put down.

I will suggest if you’re reading these great books, and I really recommend them, read them in order. There were many points in Delusional Traits where I excitedly identified “there’s the connection!” or “oh, you don’t know, but keep going in that direction.” Reading the books in order definitely makes you feel like you got an “edge.” I’m really looking forward to the final book in the Rare Traits trilogy at the end of the year. I know I’ll be a little sad when it’s over.

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