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Other Eyes by Barbara D'Amato
Cover Artist: Photo: Jupiter Images
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765326065
Date: 18 January 2011 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Controversial archaeologist Blue Eriksen believes that psilocybin is the cure for drug addiction. A mysterious international drug cartel, Leeuwarden Associates, perceives her as a threat. Felix Hacker, a master of disguise, has been assigned to kill Blue. His first attempt is a failure but it leads to a deadly pileup on Chicago's Kennedy Expressway. Unaware that a hit man is stalking her, Blue takes her team of NWU colleagues and students to Trujillo, Peru where they excavate the ruins of Huaca de la Luna. Meanwhile, a drug agent, Marcus Holton, is racing against time to locate Hacker before he murders again.

I was holding my breath during the last suspenseful chapters of Barbara D'Amato's thrilling action adventure Other Eyes--an adventure that takes the reader globetrotting to at least three continents and also transports them back in time five thousand years. This superb novel has both endearing and villainous characters who will engender within the reader a wide assortment of feelings such as joy, sadness, loathing and hatred. Other Eyes is an extremely interesting, provocative novel that was difficult to put down. D'Amato provides the reader with colorful insights into ancient cultures, especially their religious beliefs in regards to climate changes; drug cartels and drug wars; art theft; and animal behavior.

The novel's stalwart heroine, Blue Eriksen, is a likable overachiever with an adorable one-year-old son, Adam. Her controversial best-seller Goddess has drawn the ire of many religious fanatics who perceive it as a threat. According to Goddess, most ancient religions are based on the worship of a mother figure such as "Mother Nature". (I strongly agree. Christianity, however, is based on the worship of a father figure.) Christians will definitely be offended by Eriksen's research into the use of hallucinogenic drugs which may have greatly influenced the development of ancient religions. For example, someone smoked some weed, saw double vision and perceived this as the birth of the soul. It won't be surprising if some devout Christians take offense at some of the theories introduced in Other Eyes.

The villain of this novel is a professional assassin, Felix Hacker (his real name is unknown), who has murdered dozens of targets. He is determined to redeem himself after failing to assassinate Blue in Chicago. He follows her around the world, taking more risks as he kills anyone who gets in the way of his intended target. However, one might say that Hacker is merely a puppet and the true villains are his masters, Brian-Michael Ratigan and Roberto Pavia of Leeuwarden Associates. They are powerful, insidious men who control wealthy drug cartels throughout the world; their influence reaches into the highest echelons of politics and religion. Conspiracy theorists fantasize about organizations like the wealthy, glamorous Leeuwarden Associates, which is headquartered in Fribourg, Switzerland.

Most of the novel is set in Peru, specifically Trujillo. Peru is a country with four distinct climates. It has beaches, deserts, rain forests and mountains. Blue and her companions must travel on foot to Huaca de la Luna, the Temple of the Moon. Their goal is to uncover mummies and extract tissue samples for analysis in hopes of finding traces of hallucinogens. On their journey, they must face the dangers of glaciers, thin air, pumas, deep ravines, ice-cold water and land slides. When Blue is in Peru, the reader is transported nearly two-thousand years into the past and is provided a glimpse into the tragic life of a fifteen-year-old warrior, Taka. He speaks of torrential rains that have devastated his city and the gruesome sacrifices that have been made to appease their gods.

Blue's team also travels to Konya, Turkey where the reader is taken to the ancient city of Çatalhöyük. Discovered in the 1950s, Çatalhöyük is known as the first city in the world. Basically, thousands of people lived in close proximity under one roof. The citizens were artists. Unfortunately, disease was rampant and infant mortality was common. Once again, the reader is taken back thousands of years into the past. This time, the reader is present at the gruesome, torturous death of young girl (fifteen or sixteen years of age) whose baby is breech. Reading this made me appreciate the miracles of modern medicine and to have a greater respect for women throughout the centuries who have risked their lives bringing more souls into the world.

Barbara D'Amato's Other Eyes is simply a fascinating piece of literature that receives my highest recommendation. I wish I had more time to explain in greater detail all the remarkable subjects that are discussed within its pages. It was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I enjoyed Other Eyes even more so than D'Amato's previous novel Foolproof, which she co-wrote with Jeanne M. Dams and Mark Zubro. Foolproof is another superb action adventure; this one deals primarily with crooked politicians aligning themselves with terrorists who want to sabotage the upcoming Presidential election. Like Other Eyes, Foolproof involves a lot of cloak-and-dagger operations and globetrotting. I look forward to reading Barbara D’Amato’s next novel.

Note: My only complaint with Other Eyes is its presentation from Forge. The print was too tiny to comfortably read for long periods of time. (I have 20/20 vision.) To prevent getting headaches, I had to use a magnifying glass. Fortunately, the intriguing plot made it worthwhile. However, if I had first seen this novel in the book store, I probably would've never purchased it because of the small print.

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