Review by Julie Green -- Fate Line by Marc J. Seifer

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Julie Green
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Latest Review: Fate Line by Marc J. Seifer

Review by Julie Green -- Fate Line by Marc J. Seifer

Post by Julie Green » 16 Dec 2018, 13:42

[Following is a volunteer review of "Fate Line" by Marc J. Seifer.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Do you believe in palm reading? This is just one of the many questions regarding the relationship between science and art that are posed during this engaging crime drama. Renowned graphologist, Jacob Bruno, is regularly called upon to give evidence confirming whether or not signatures on wills are authentic. One day, Jacob is commissioned by a mystery woman to judge whether or not a love letter, which she has discovered in her husband's belongings, has been written by her husband. As Jacob reviews the letter, we are introduced to the various techniques used to identify an individual's handwriting. Jacob's assistant, Sarah, is training to be a graphologist, and is keen to maintain her credibility as a scientist. It is Sarah's romantic relationship with Max, who earns money reading palms, which introduces the reader to a debate on the relative merits of graphology and palm reading.

The central plot line relates to a child abduction case. Jay Jay is nine years old when she disappears from her home. Attention focuses on the ransom note and Jacob is asked to ascertain whether or not the handwriting belongs to Jay Jay's father, Skipper. Rudy Stein, a local reporter, follows the evidence to uncover a history of child pornography and abusive behaviour amongst Skipper's friends. The plot takes a violent turn as Rudy leads efforts to find out whether or not Jay Jay is still alive in a race against time.

Fate Line by Marc J Seifer is the fourth in the Rudy Stein series. As the main character in the book, we see Rudy at home with his wife and son, Zeke, and we are clearly intended to identify with Rudy as he pursues a successful career while enjoying a happy family life. However, I find Rudy's character to be a little too self-serving, as if his family is interesting only as his supporting cast. Personally, my favourite character in the book is Sarah's boyfriend, Max. I like Max's healthy, carefree attitude to life; he is independent and comfortable with his own sense of self. When Max faces rejection from his preferred college course, for example, he does not dwell on his misfortune. He heads off on tour with a group of gypsies to gain life experience and earn some money. Sarah is a little more uptight, but she does relax as her relationship with Max matures.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The plot is extremely well constructed and the threads are brought together expertly at the end. It is also interesting to learn about graphology and palm reading. That said, the handwriting descriptions are a little tedious, as there are only so many times that a detailed description of the significance of certain letter shapes will hold the attention. My main reason for withholding a fourth star, however, is the multitude of unnecessarily graphic references to abusive behaviour, and the slightly disturbing approach to the topic, with descriptions of Jay Jay as a "vixen" with forbidden sex appeal. Too many times I felt like Rudy's wife, Chessie, when she tells her husband that she wishes that he had not brought up the topic.

This book will appeal to those who enjoy crime fiction, as well as to people with an interest in graphology. Unfortunately, there is too much focus on incest. For this reason, I would not recommend this book to younger readers, or to those who do not enjoy stories involving abusive behaviour. This is a shame because the book is, otherwise, a very enjoyable read.

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Kajori50
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Post by Kajori50 » 18 Dec 2018, 08:34

I like how the author posed questions regarding the relationship between science and art in this crime drama. However, the graphic content puts me off a bit.

Thank you for the lovely review.

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Post by Cotwani » 18 Dec 2018, 13:15

The premise is unique and very promising. It is a shame about the abusive behavior and incest. Great review as always!
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Post by Julie Green » 18 Dec 2018, 18:12

Kajori50 wrote:
18 Dec 2018, 08:34
I like how the author posed questions regarding the relationship between science and art in this crime drama. However, the graphic content puts me off a bit.

Thank you for the lovely review.
Yes, the insights into the various specialities like tarot reading were really interesting. Thank you for commenting.

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Post by Julie Green » 19 Dec 2018, 13:31

Cotwani wrote:
18 Dec 2018, 13:15
The premise is unique and very promising. It is a shame about the abusive behavior and incest. Great review as always!
It is quite an unusual premise for a book. Thanks for your kind words:)

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Post by Jagiine » 21 Dec 2018, 21:14

Thank you for sharing this review! I have log been curious about handwriting analysis and this sounds like a great way to feed that interest. Unfortunately, I believe I would have a lot of your same feelings about the writing going too far for my taste. Thus, I probably will not read it. But, it is nice to know that it's out there if I change my mind.

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Post by Hiruni Bhagya 81 » 23 Dec 2018, 11:42

From your descriptions, I'm not sure whether or not to read this book. I want to learn more about palm reading and graphology. But the plot seems to be a bit confusing and knowing more focus is given to incest is discouraging. I might try it. Thanks for your honest review.

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Post by Sushan » 28 Dec 2018, 06:48

Seemingly an interesting mystery fiction. Wishing to read in future. Thanks for the nice review 👍👍
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Post by FictionLover » 01 Jan 2019, 11:10


I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The plot is extremely well constructed and the threads are brought together expertly at the end. It is also interesting to learn about graphology and palm reading. That said, the handwriting descriptions are a little tedious, as there are only so many times that a detailed description of the significance of certain letter shapes will hold the attention. My main reason for withholding a fourth star, however, is the multitude of unnecessarily graphic references to abusive behaviour, and the slightly disturbing approach to the topic, with descriptions of Jay Jay as a "vixen" with forbidden sex appeal. Too many times I felt like Rudy's wife, Chessie, when she tells her husband that she wishes that he had not brought up the topic.

This book will appeal to those who enjoy crime fiction, as well as to people with an interest in graphology. Unfortunately, there is too much focus on incest. For this reason, I would not recommend this book to younger readers, or to those who do not enjoy stories involving abusive behaviour. This is a shame because the book is, otherwise, a very enjoyable read.
Great review, but I will skip this one. There are so many good crime novels and thrillers that I don't need to be bogged down in incest and child porn. Yuk!
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Post by Julie Green » 05 Jan 2019, 12:26

Jagiine wrote:
21 Dec 2018, 21:14
Thank you for sharing this review! I have log been curious about handwriting analysis and this sounds like a great way to feed that interest. Unfortunately, I believe I would have a lot of your same feelings about the writing going too far for my taste. Thus, I probably will not read it. But, it is nice to know that it's out there if I change my mind.
The handwriting angle was really interesting actually. Thank you for your comment :)

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Post by Julie Green » 06 Jan 2019, 13:09

Hiruni Bhagya 81 wrote:
23 Dec 2018, 11:42
From your descriptions, I'm not sure whether or not to read this book. I want to learn more about palm reading and graphology. But the plot seems to be a bit confusing and knowing more focus is given to incest is discouraging. I might try it. Thanks for your honest review.
The plot is a little convoluted but it's pretty good overall. Thank you for your comments.

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Post by Julie Green » 06 Jan 2019, 14:55

Sushan wrote:
28 Dec 2018, 06:48
Seemingly an interesting mystery fiction. Wishing to read in future. Thanks for the nice review 👍👍
Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

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Post by Vscholz » 10 Jan 2019, 03:14

I keep seeing books by this author available to review, but reading your review make me want to take the plunge. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Lunastella » 17 Jan 2019, 20:02

I totally agree with your assessment. It's true that Rudy's relationship with his family can be superficial and goal-oriented and I also found the way of approaching abuse very simplistic, upsetting and unnecessary detailed. I love Max too! He's such a free spirit! And I think the palm-reading details and how they can even relate to science are a fascinating addition to the book. Honestly, I had no idea that this disciplines could be so intricate.
Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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Post by Shrabastee » 18 Jan 2019, 06:45

Till date, I have not read any crime thriller that has such an extensive description of graphology. Sounds like an intriguing book, in fact, I have been meaning to read this one for quite some time. Thanks for the enlightening review,Julie!

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