by S. R. Cronin
GENRE: science fiction/fantasy
A young Nigerian telepath faces a crisis. After Somadina’s sister is forced into a frightening marriage, Somadina cannot find her sibling or even her thoughts. She seeks another telepath to help.
What she finds is Lola, a busy Texan scientist who has ignored the disturbing phenomenon in her mind for decades, and has no intention of embracing this nonsense now. Yet these two have more in common than they know, and a powerful link will be forged.
Once Somadina discovers her sister is a pawn in a dangerous political game, the stakes rise for everyone, including an ancient organization of telepaths compelled to intervene. Both women are stronger than they realize, and they have ignited the wrath of a fanatic willing to kill anyone to alter his nation’s future.
Then Lola's thoughts invariably wandered off to the bizarre situation with the woman Lola had agreed to help. It was disturbing how much she knew about this woman. She was younger and less educated. She lived somewhere far from Texas. Based on her not wanting Lola to leave Lagos, Lola assumed she was Nigerian.
She had a younger sister, and Lola was supposed to help locate her. She was worried for this sister, and puzzled as to why she could seldom sense anything from her when she was able to pick up information from so many others.
Why did the woman not know her own sister's whereabouts? Was the sister lost? Kidnapped? Had she run-away from home? All Lola could tell was that she was gone and could not be found.
The problem was Lola had not the faintest idea of how to find this sister. Except for the mystery woman and Jumoke, the engineer in Lagos, the most she could do was sense vague feelings from others. She lacked the skills this woman seemed to think she had, and she'd be quite happy if it stayed that way.
Yet, she’d made a promise to help. So Sometimes Lola tried to mutter comforting things back to the woman, because she didn't know what else she could do.
On rare occasion, she sat on the porch and thought about nothing at all. On one of those times, when her mind was blank, she heard an elderly gentleman's voice in her head.
Lola? Little Lola Conroy? Good heavens dear, is that you?
Lola searched her mind for knowledge of an older man who might have known her by her maiden name.
It's okay honey. You're fine. I didn't mean to startle you. It's okay. She could almost see an elderly man backing out of her mind with great care.
Good grief, she thought. Now what?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained how, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it to be entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved, even though, to be honest, that was where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her it had now grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
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4 out of 5 stars
One of One by S. R. Cronin follows Lola Zeitman, a pragmatic scientist who becomes drawn into a remarkable world that involves her tapping a mental capability that she would be skeptical of if she hadn’t experienced it herself. She makes an inexplicable mental connection with a young Igbo woman in Nigeria and discovers a world she’d never imagined. Entangled in a political and cultural struggle, Lola must reconcile perception and reality and find a way to change the world…one person at a time.
This book almost defies categorization because it blends science, speculative fiction, an overview of cultural mores in a non-U.S. country, and suspense. The thought-provoking scenarios and depiction of life in a third-world country are juxtaposed with things we take for granted, including a well-monitored birth in a technologically advanced hospital. The careful buildup to explain how a naïve young woman ends up the captive of a sadistic terrorist is horrifying and dismaying even as her sister’s efforts on her behalf are a tribute to the bond of love. There are a number of dangling threads that I am still curious about but I understand that there are several other books in this series and perhaps some of the puzzles are resolved there. Those with triggers should be warned that there are some very distasteful elements of torture described and for me, there are gaps and jumps in time that were a little confusing.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of psychic phenomena and I was definitely drawn into the universe that this author created. I’m a bit disappointed that the organization seems to move so slowly and look forward to finding out more about their activities and members. I think this is a story that will expand readers’ minds in more ways than one and that it reminds us that we are truly a global community. I’m glad to have another story in this world on my TBR pile and look forward to another thought-provoking tale.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review