"Electifiying!...A Veritable Smorgasbord of Betwitching Elements"
Returning home to Pecan Grove, Texas always brought back
the bitter memories for true-crime writer
J. T. Drake.
had not forgotten the reason he'd chosen to put some
distance between himself and his scientist father. It
hadn't been easy growing up the son of Dr. Hershel Drake,
widower, aging hippie, and absentminded professor. It might
have been easier for the motherless boy to deal with the
fact that everyone in town laughed about Pop's
eccentricities behind his back if the man had paid half as
much attention to his son as he did to his experiments. J.
T. had earned a reputation of his own back then. He'd once
even attempted to burn down his father's lab, but he'd long
since given up trying to gain Pop's attention. Living and
working in L.A. gave him a necessary buffer zone, but when
Pop's nosy neighbor Mrs. Moody phones him long distance
with concerns about the strange smoke that's been coming
out of Hershel's laboratory, J. T. rushes home to find
out what is going on.
Rather than confront his father face to face, J. T. sneaks
into the laboratory to find out what exactly he's been
working on. Unfortunately he finds out the hard way when he
accidentally trips the mechanism which renders
him.....invisible. Unbelievable! As it turns out, Pop had
finally successfully recreated a invention he'd developed
thirty years ago. The original device had been destroyed by
a power hungry member of his research team who had stolen
the project notes as well. Revenge had become Pop's
obsession, shaping J. T.'s childhood in the bargain. The
professor had yet to remember how to reverse the phenomenon.
This is exactly what J. T. did NOT want to hear. Horrified,
Hershel calls up his partner, Dr. Roselyn Peabody. Roselyn
doesn't feel very sympathetic toward J. T. From all
indications he'd neglected his father shamefully, in spite
of the fact that the man adored his prodigal son. Hershel's
pride in him had been the reason she now owned one of the
J. T.'s books. Going by his photo on the book jacket he was
a handsome man...when he was visible. At any rate, Hershel
had been like a father to her, as J. T. realized
jealous twinge, and she would do anything she could to help
J. T. is less than impressed with Roselyn as well. Her
unusual appearance, questionable social skills, and
scientific bent give every indication that she and his
father are two of a kind. He notes with a twinge of
jealousy that Roselyn regarded the Professor as a father
figure. She was bound to rub him the wrong way. Sparks fly,
but it isn't long before he's encouraging Rosie to rub him
any way she wants!
Electrifying! Fan's of Ms. Archer's works have come to
expect strange things to happen to her characters, but
SHOCKING BEHAVIOR is not a single faceted read by a long
shot. Instead it treats the reader to a veritable
smorgasbord of bewitching elements. If you pick up a copy,
you won't be able to put it down. I couldn't. The unique
situation of having a love affair with an invisible man
would have been quite enough to make the book fascinating,
(talk about a challenge), however Ms. Archer adds humor in
the form of Mrs. Moody, who is this story's equivalent of
Gladys Kravitz, as well
as Rosie's unusual and eclectic family. Intrigue gets its
turn when it becomes apparent that the most expedient way
of getting J. T. back to normal is to recover the
professor's original notes. With all that, both J. T. and
Rosie were still given time to experience emotional growth.
Given all the facts and a great deal of introspection, J.
T. is able to put the past behind him and heal the breach
with his father. Roselyn, who had always been out of step,
blossoms nourished by J. T.'s admiration and affection.
Copyright © 2002
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 24, 2002