Take a mysterious natural phenomenon like the Marfa Lights, a famous movie classic like "Giant," toss in a sinister military weapons project, mix well with a heart-wrenching love story, and what do you get? David Morrell's "The Shimmer," a fast-paced, page-turning sci-fi thriller.
"Shimmer" takes place in Rostov, Texas, Morrell's fictional stand-in for Marfa, Texas, where strange lights can sometimes be seen dancing in the darkness across the rough lands near the Mexican border. The book's hero, a Santa Fe police officer Dan Paige, chases his wife to Rostov to find out why she suddenly left him. There the couple become ensnared in the mystery of the lights and their differing effects on people.
Morrell recreates the history of the strange lights, even tossing in a fictional account of the making of "Giant," which was filmed outside of Marfa. During the movie's making, doomed actor James Dean is said to have been repeatedly drawn to the lights.
The author weaves an action-packed story around the possible disintegration of Paige's marriage. As thrilling as the action is, I think Morrell's best writing in the book is when he describes Paige's heartache over his marriage.
This is definitely a book to pick up.