The books you'll want to read.
WHEN by Victoria Laurie
January 13, 2015
16-year-old Maddie has always seen the numbers—just a set of numbers above everyone’s head. It wasn’t until her own father died when Maddie was a little girl that Maddie realized just what those numbers meant. She can see everyone’s death date.
After her father’s death, Maddie’s mother started to drink a lot and can’t hold down a job, so Maddie sometimes does readings for people. Even if it’s simply a picture, Maddie can see the date of that person’s death. When a wealthy woman comes to Maddie to find out if her daughter will survive a childhood disease, Maddie has good news for her about her daughter. But one of the other children in the picture has a much sooner date—as in, next week. Maddie tries to warn the woman, but instead is called a fraud and a liar. When that child goes missing on the date Maddie predicted and is soon found dead, a lot of attention turns to Maddie. Soon the FBI is camped outside Maddie’s house. When another girl that Maddie and her best friend Stubby knew goes missing, the heat gets turned way up. Maddie has to be involved—otherwise how could she know what she knows? It’s a race to save herself and Stubby….and find a killer before he strikes again.
Victoria Laurie is perhaps best known for her psychic mystery series…or her work as a psychic herself. WHEN proves to be a highly readable novel—with a unique and compelling premise. Maddie’s gift—or curse, depending on your point of view—is quite the burden for a young woman, especially one who is essentially trying to care for herself and her alcoholic mother. The storyline may seem fairly straightforward otherwise—after all, it seems quite natural that Maddie would be suspected of the crimes she is accused of, since from a skeptic’s perspective how could she possibly know when someone will die unless she is involved? Yet Laurie manages to deliver more than a few surprises. Maddie’s fear and anxiety are well played here, and the FBI agents’ suspicion is done exactly right.