Reviewed by Eric Wilson
Drift by Sharon Carter Rogers
"Rogers blends elements of reality, history, and mythology, and adds in characters that are flawed, likable, and memorable."
Sharon Carter Rogers is an enigma. Her website (or is she a he?) gives a few clues to her true identity, but the pseudonym remains firmly in place. I read her first book, "Sinner," and enjoyed it enough to read her second, "Unpretty." Although both held my interest and contained some memorable scenes of suspense, neither matches the deeper layers and characterization in "Drift."
Rogers sets the scene early with a man in a graveyard. The man is unseen. He seems lonely, maybe confused. He is, we discover, a drifter. He makes a connection with a young woman who is in the cemetery burying her adopted father, a feared local gangster. Her name is Baby Doll, and she is on edge. She is guarding secrets that threaten her life. In this moment of time, Baby Doll and the drifter we know only as Boy become tethered and end up in a race for their lives and the life of a missing boy, for the truths about their own pasts, and in a search for the courage to love and be loved. The story alternates between Boy and Baby Doll's perspectives, and, in Boy's words: "There is some element of lucid insanity inherent in any decision to love."
As Rogers peels back the layers of her two main characters, we find out that Baby Doll knows the final details of her father's sordid life--and death--and that drifters are souls who get caught in the drifts of time and remain unseen by most humans. Once drifters are seen, however, they often become tethered to that specific human. They cannot interfere in decisions of free will, but they can protect, advise, and guide their human. In Boy's own words: "I am no angel. Not a demon or a ghost. I am something different...something God created and then hid on the fringes of reality. A tool destined to do as he did, to seek and to save that which was lost..."
Rogers blends elements of reality, history, and mythology, and adds in characters that are flawed, likable, and memorable. "Drift" is her best work yet. It keeps you turning the pages, even as it nudges you to think outside the box, and to look at strangers around you through a whole different set of eyes.
Eric Wilson is the author of twelve novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, the latest of which is One Step Away, a twist on the story of Job. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. Visit him online at his website.