Score: 90/100 (9.0 out of 10)
Epiphany's Gift by Mallory M. Oconnor is a paranormal mystery/thriller filled with a cacophony or mixture of ideas that go together like bananas, strawberries, flax seeds, light soy milk, almond nuts, raisins, avocado slices, tofu squares, and chocolate cookie bits in a blender.
This book is 30% The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, 20% Psych on USA Network, 10% Final Destination, 20% Mordecai starring Johnny Depp, and 20% The Day After Tomorrow/2012 directed by Roland Emmerich. If you don't believe us, read it!
There's also some Prison-Break-esque plot about an evil multinational company, Ace Energy, that has its tentacles at all level of the government.
In the author's own words near the end, this novel has something for everyone. Except it occasionally features F-bombs, so maybe not for young kids?
Anyway, this book centers on the titular main protagonist, Epiphany, who was born with a rare set of psychic or psychic-like abilities that are a cross between every main character from the Final Destination franchise, Shawn Spencer from Psych, and Hurley & Miles from Lost. In other words, she is a precog with the ability to dream or sense an impending doom event (like an airliner crash or an earthquake caused by human activity) while also being able to notice peculiar things (clues/hints) about an environment or situation, all while also being a medium who can dream about and talk to the dead.
Let's face it, Epiphany is THE character in the book. There are others like Hannah and Ephiphany's mom, Susan, but they are afterthoughts compared to Epiphany, the girl who can do it all and commands almost all of the attention. Hannah does pop up from time to time to be encouraging or share a few insights. For example, she comes out of the wood works with some special knowledge about bugs. So, what, is she like Grissom from CSI now?
Like every crime mystery/thriller ever, there is a mysterious death of a character that is actually a murder. Like every art heist story ever, there is also a famous painting that was stolen that somehow has special meaning. In this case, it may even have a supernatural and/or magical one. More specifically, a William Blake painting is stolen that shows corrupt officials being thrown into a boiling pitch pool. A lot of the action of the book involves Epiphany going around trying to solve the murder and the missing painting. Only breadcrumbs of information are revealed to her and the audience, mostly through her psychic powers.
Ultimately, it turns out (surprise, surprise) that the obviously-evil Ace Energy company is, in fact, evil. However, not only is it evil, but the powers behind Ace-the-Helpful-Place-Hardware-Store has been evil and active for a long, long, long time. They're essentially the Illuminati, or the Patriots from Metal Gear, or the Company from Prison Break, or the Marked from 4400, or Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook. Ace-Athletic-Medical-Bandages-and-Personal-Trainer-Certifications-Ventura has its tentacles everywhere, and they've been involved in many of the major events in human history (according to the book) including both World Wars.
According to the book, Ace is also responsible for the wars in the Middle East and the founding of Israel, proposing that it's all about that oil and blood money. Mark us totally offended at the casualness in which that is mentioned and shoe-horned in. If only Israel weren't the only major country in the region without significant oil reserves of its own. If only...
If only Afghanistan, a country with a GDP of less than $20 billion, didn't cost us $975 billion to fight in and occupy. Not to mention the lives lost and the fact that it cost several politicians their reputations and tarnished their careers, being public relations nightmares for every administration since. If only...
Anyway, despite our complaints, this book does have its own song to sing, and it's a song worth singing. Ultimately, this is a book about the premise that there are special people in the world who are able to know and do things that others can't, either through supernatural means or by shear talent. For example, there are extraordinary people who can solve highly advanced problems, beat the best at chess, and make trick shots at pool. This is also a book about the dangers of human activity on the planet. Specifically, the book is highly critical of how humans are accelerating global warming and possibly influencing plate tectonics through the practice of fracking.
Also, again, Epiphany is an inherently interesting character. She has humor too, like when she gets annoyed with someone who doesn't supply helpful or useful clues, so she imagines them with honey on the top of an ant hill. She is also a goofball sometimes who makes pop culture references to things like Mary Poppins.
You can check this book out on Amazon!