Detective James Julius is the first officer on the scene after fourteen-year-old Amy allegedly stabs her uncle, claiming she somehow knew he was going to hurt her. Julius has always been a hard facts type of guy, but Amy’s case gets under his skin, especially after it escalates; her lawyer is stabbed in a similar manner, and Amy herself disappears. Julius keeps digging deeper, discovering links between people involved in Amy’s case, learning more about empathy and how people unconsciously transmit their thoughts and emotions to others, and soon Julius finds himself an unwilling believer in the power of empathy. Can he uncover all the links and find Amy before it’s too late?
In Strangely Familiar, author Steve Heikens weaves an intricate mystery about abuse, money laundering, and just a touch of the unexplained. Heikens has a background in legal work, and his knowledge of the complexities of these kinds of cases shines through in the details he lavishly spreads throughout his story. This book is very well-written, if a bit heavy on dialogue at some points, and as the story picks up, readers will find themselves deeply hooked. Readers will enjoy all aspects of the work Julius does, from his detective work to his journalistic endeavors, and his interactions with lawyers and other officers and coworkers from the newspaper he temporarily writes for are a pleasure to read. There are an awful lot of interactions, actually, and it’s hard at times to keep straight which ones are important characters and which ones are only there to share some valuable information before retreating back into the streets of St. Paul. This is certainly no real problem, though; on the contrary, readers will admire Heikens’s ability to create such a diverse cast of characters, all of whom play an important role. Strangely Familiar is an exciting novel, and many readers will no doubt be hoping for future adventures with Detective Julius.