Faces in the Fire (published by Thomas Nelson) was my introduction to the work of T.L. Hines. The book pulled me in immediately, but it took me a few chapters to realize that they, the chapters, were all mixed up, disjointed, and set within stanzas that served to separate the stories within the story. I also noticed the shadows of handwritten titles and chapter numbers behind the printed ones. That in itself was intriguing, and although this is a fiction suspense thriller, described as “noir bizarre,” I found myself underlining character quotes, phrases, symbols, names, and other bits of information—trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. I finished the book a few days ago, but it continues to haunt me.
“Sometimes as humans, we need to move backwards before we can move forward.”
Faces in the Fire revolves around 4 characters. Kurt is the truck driver/sculptor who can’t remember his past but is haunted by ghosts. Corinne is the e-mail spammer diagnosed with lymphoma who embraces the basement of her past. Grace is the tattoo artist/heroin addict running from her past, and Stan is the hit man who is a prisoner of his past.
In a sense, the book reminded me a little of the concept of 6 degrees of separation. The lives of major and even minor characters are “coincidentally” intertwined through their attempts to find some sense of identity and significance. Threads of numbers, catfish, ghosts, shoes, locked doors, fire, human and supernatural touch and voices run throughout.
This is an easy read and will appeal to anyone who wants to sit on the edge of their seat, continually turn just one more page, and be surprised in the end. It’s a great, yet weird, story with loose ends attached–much like our own lives, often disjointed and frayed at the edges, with shadows of the past that we can choose to embrace or overcome in time.
I saw hope, redemption, and freedom for those facing the fires of life, those who have been burned, and even “bottom feeders” when grace knocks on the door and is invited in. We can find our true face, and old things can indeed become new.
I recommend this book and will likely read it again.