Meet Dieter Resnick, a senior student at a Las Vegas, Nevada, High School. He is different, he is especial and unique. He is a geek, a grade A+ student, but beyond all this there is something else that sets him apart from the rest, he is a nerd with an attitude. He can't stand bullies and has the unhealthy habit of facing them head on. He also has a strange power he calls his Sight.
Meet Rei, a gorgeous, slightly shy, loving and tender girl with a funny way of speaking. She can be your best friend and companion as long as you don't dare wake her blood lust. If you do, run! or find some garlic.
Zero Sight is a well made smoothie of XXI century film, game and TV references, something the author doesn't hide at all, even uses them to make his own jokes about it. Its essence feels a little like Harry Potter meets The X-Men. Its context follows the line of works like Lukyanenko's (the Night Watch series), the Secret Worlds game, and the Underworld films. The good news is that the author manages to keep everything properly leashed and under control.
What makes the book so unique, interesting and captivating, at least to a degree, are the two main characters, in particular Dieter since there is a lot of Blood Rayne in Rei. In my memory, and knowledge, there is no other nerdy character that behaves like him, he goes against all of the established norm, a little like an angry Chuck. And THAT, is so cool.
Zero Sight is full of subtle jokes and references pointed at the nerd in all of us. Analysing events in the middle of a fist fight, thinking about coffee while in a deadly situation, considering all possible outcomes while a girl is undressing right in front. Things like this are what make Shier's work so engaging and captivating, after reading the sample available at Amazon I finished the full version in as few sessions as time allowed.
Shier has come up with it's own alternative-contemporary world context in which the reality we all live in is nothing but part of the story. In the other part, in the shadows, hiding among us, the creatures of myth and fantasy coexist in a very precarious balance. There is a lot that this first novel tells and much more that it holds for later.
But all is not as perfect as we would wish in Dieter's world. I have to agree with many of the Amazon comments that say that the last part of Zero Sight is not as good. There is a moment after which things get a little too convoluted, the rhythm of the novel feels accelerated. Without warning the author switches to full-auto and starts to fire ideas and concepts as if there were no tomorrow, and then launches a context grenade that puts an end to it all and sets the stage for the --soon to be out-- sequel.
Personally I don't mind series and sequels, I don't mind rushed and pushed narrative, the problem is that in the case of Zero Sight that spoils the whole uniqueness of it. There is a slight let down at the end, a feeling that the author lost track of what he was doing and where he was going; I hope this isn't the case though, with a sequel coming and all.
With that little detail aside, this debút novel for B. Justin Shier is very good and holds a lot of potential for the series as well as for what could come or happen beyond it. The context and main characters, and most of the offer, are very interesting it wouldn't be odd if things eventually evolve into a film and/or game.
There is one more thing that puts Zero Sight and its author on a place of their own. Right now the novel is e-book only, sold by Amazon for the Kindle, and by his request it doesn't include DRM. He thinks that Digital Rights Management "stinks" and has an interesting article on the subject. This at no point means he wants his work shared by all, it is not free, he wants his work enjoyed by those who pay for it as they see fit, not as the DRM restrictions permit. Kindle compatibility allows to download a sample and read it on any compatible device/program (Kindle reader, smartphone/Tablet App, PC or Mac OS program).