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Dan Versus Nature
Don Calame
The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness
Jason Marsh, Jeremy Adam Smith, Dacher Keltner
Progress: 25/316 pages
When - Victoria Laurie

Every book gets a "gimmie" in terms of "I will wholeheartedly accept this premise without nitpicking" and "When" had an interesting one about a girl who could see the date of a person's death written on their forehead. Of course this might lead to some problems if she is accurately able to predict someone's death who ends up murdered, right? Sounds like a fun paranormal mystery romp.


What I couldn't get over was how utterly inept and wrong the law enforcement had to be written for this plot to continue. FBI agents stalking, wire tapping and basically holding teenagers without bail on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence. For one, they show up less than twenty four hours about a disappearance with no signs of foul play and proceed to harass the main character about her involvement instead of looking for anything resembling evidence or alibis. Yes, they basically accuse her of being responsible before they even find out where she was when the victim disappeared. I totally get how they could be mistrusting of this weird power she has, but they're basically the antagonists for most of the book due to this outrageous fixation.


Some people might be able to ignore this plot bulldozer but for me it was too present and the character interactions and motivations were too slight to overcome it. And the ending went into pulpy real fast, even after the FBI guys came around. Which is a shame because we all know FBI agents reluctantly involved in supernatural events could be amazing.