Nancy is a young woman held hostage by her own mind in the intricately layered and darkly entertaining book Glossolalia.
She sleepwalks through a shadowland of conspiracies and secret societies, snake-handling churches, and the evil intentions of a maker of forbidden chemicals.
There’s danger aplenty — actual and imagined — in this fictional story laced liberally with references to real-life incidents, people and black-ops agencies. Nancy and the fascinating ensemble cast of characters tread a treacherous road that often oversteps reality.
In a Pentecostal church several blocks from Nancy’s house, a mysterious girl named Emily watches with precocious eyes the feverish religious activity whipped up by the Reverend Terry Crank. She whispers gleefully into the floppy ear of her enigmatic spring-headed toy named Dog, describing the Glossolalia — the speaking in tongues — that swirls through the sanctuary.
It is this kind of skillful foreshadowing that elevates Glossolalia far above any other ordinary examination of what the bad guys in our own government might be doing to us — or, rather, what they HAVE been doing for decades.
The CIA is transformed into a creepy, all-knowing agency called the Nevermind, which routinely alters the consciousness of people around the world, working ruthlessly with nefarious corporate entities and a radicalized Religious Right to steer destiny in the direction they deem most profitable.
This tale is well-told through skillful imagery and excellent writing. The author regularly delivers lyrical prose that transcends, as in this passage in which Nancy plays a 1909 Schoenberg piano composition:
“The music became more violent, full of divergent emotions that shocked each other with their nearness. The music was imbalanced, never matured or completed, just continued, dreamlike, until it was done. It was her favorite music. It was her.”
And, there’s this description that at once enlightens and forewarns the reader about Jeff, Nancy’s cryptic Internet acquaintance:
“His ice blue eyes looked into hers with tiny pupils, though the light outside was soft.” Jeff then softly intones, “You know, you won’t get many more chances in life.”
It’s not a warning to be taken lightly in this dangerous new world where freethinking NFL quarterbacks must be silenced and Third World leaders are discredited and deposed through blackmail and poisonous drops of a substance known only as “XXX”.
Nancy literally goes through several kinds of hell as she tries to break through the deception and psychological reconditioning engendered by the Nevermind.
But what can she do to expose this incredible, far-reaching conspiracy? You won’t sleep until you turn the last page. It’s that good.
Five stars to Glossolalia. We eagerly await the sequel, coming out soon.