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The Fortune Teller's Daughter    by Lila Shaara order for
Fortune Teller's Daughter
by Lila Shaara
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Harry Sterling is a disappointed man: he was one of the rising stars on The Washington Post, with a couple of best selling investigative books to his credit, a beautiful wife and a son that he dotes on. Now he's lost it all - his brother was killed in his stead and his wife and son have relocated to Southern Florida.

Wanting to be nearer his son, Harry has found a teaching job in the law faculty of a no name university not too far from his son (merely a three hour drive) and is trying to get used to the ungodly heat and humidity that is Florida. This is one reason he drinks too much ... but his drinking ultimately leads him down a completely different and intriguing path.

Harry meets the local celebrities - a colourful trio of: kooky cult worshiper, also known as The Purple Lady; a local hairdresser, Miss Baby; and the fortune teller, Madame Dupree. But what impresses him more than these three misfits is the oddly beautiful and very enchanting fortune teller's daughter Maggie Roth, who is, in fact, Madame Dupree's niece. There is just something about Maggie that draws Harry to her; he enjoys the company of this short-order cook who gradually teaches him how fascinating the countryside is around Stoweville, where he now lives.

Harry is having a hard time with his latest book, but something that was said in passing ignites his investigative juices and he begins to whittle away at an odd tale of intellectual property, the stealing of ideas, and the much touted Ziegart Effect - something to do with the physics of conduction that was attributed to Charles Ziegart. However, with Ziegart and his second wife now dead the path is pretty cold, but for some reason it's become something Harry cannot let go of and he gradually begins to uncover long-buried secrets. With each new discovery the danger increases for him and those he cares most about, leading ultimately to the shocking truth and a horrible outcome - at least for some of the protagonists.

Lila Shaara's The Fortune Teller's Daughter is a thought-provoking tale and certainly brings together many elements of science, romance and the supernatural. This book is worth a read.

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