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See Me


See Me

His first novel in two years, SEE ME exhibits a new phase in Nicholas Sparks’ style. Well known for his deeply spiritual stories of love and relationships, Sparks writes his latest as a complicated suspense/thriller with many twists. Yet, true to his love stories, he gives fans two individuals who meet by chance and discover a budding attraction between them.

Sparks sets up the plot line in his Prologue. There, he enters the thoughts of a dangerous hunter of revenge on a family whose pleasant life revolved around a spirited college student, her older attorney sister and a close-knit working class family. The man sets the sordid plan in motion on the campus of UNC Wilmington, knowing that careful and precise action will produce the evil results he can taste.

At 28, Colin Hancock is going to college, taking classes that will prepare him to teach third-grade students. His past life story is a pattern of rebellion: multiple military schools, of which he was expelled from most, and a history of bar fights leading to brushes with the law and jail time. His nemesis, Detective Pete Margolis, believes that Colin should be in prison instead of on probation. He will not cut Colin any slack and looks for the least infraction to put him behind bars, with the keys to freedom thrown away.

"SEE ME brings numerous complications to a growing friendship and reminds us that one’s destiny can rest in one’s own hand. At nearly 500 pages, the book is powerful proof that Nicholas Sparks is a masterful storyteller who remains at the top of his game."

Colin spends spare time from his job as a bartender working out in a gym. He now takes on new ways of controlling his anger, becoming a formidable amateur cage fighter. His good friend, Evan, attends a cage fight one night and treats him to coffee at a local diner afterwards. He had fought well but ended up losing and sporting a battered face and body.

Driving home in the rain, Colin comes upon a lady in distress. Maria Sanchez has a flat tire and is having difficulties maneuvering the tools she needs to change it. Colin stops to help her but spends much of the time reassuring her that he means her no harm. His appearance worries her, though, and she declines aid. Nonetheless, he hoists the tire tool from her trunk, changes the tire and prepares to drive off in his unpredictable Camaro. Maria thanks him but remains suspicious of this bloodied stranger.

Maria, who is pursuing a law career with an established firm, is the eldest of two daughters. Her sister, Serena, is a student at UNC Wilmington; she is bubbly, friendly and always looking out for her older sister in the romance department. She has classes with Colin and believes him to be a strong possibility for Maria. A relentless Serena takes Maria to the beachside restaurant where Colin bartends, with the intent of hooking them up. Maria agrees that a cleaned-up Colin is handsome, well-built and a remote possibility.

Embarrassed by Serena’s obvious matchmaking, Maria bolts and heads down the beach for some “alone” time. Surfside, the two meet when Colin leaves work, and a relationship builds for both. She is wary of his lifestyle but intrigued. He resists at first because of his plans for education and straight living. Their fates are intertwined, though, and a budding kinship begins. 

SEE ME is more than just a love story. Maria moves back to her hometown after a stint as assistant to the District Attorney. Panic attacks following a grisly murder case left her dejected and beaten down, questioning her abilities and judgment. Family members had blamed her for the death of their daughter and sister, believing that she had not done enough to protect a young woman from a horrific end. Working in a legal firm in civil law had freed her from the bad memories of that first job.

Sparks writes a superb character study of his two lovers. Colin’s responses are brusque and lack detail, his favorite word being “Okay.” Meanwhile, his brain is examining a myriad of possibilities when danger sweeps their way. Maria is stalked by a ghoulish figure from her past, and Colin is determined to both protect her and solve the mystery. Together, they face difficult circumstances that make each question a plausible future as a couple. Margolis reenters the picture as an unwelcome adversary but also as a professional help. Colin’s hasty conclusions and action pit him against Margolis, though circumstances cause an unwelcome alliance.

Unlike earlier Sparks novels, SEE ME brings numerous complications to a growing friendship and reminds us that one’s destiny can rest in one’s own hand. At nearly 500 pages, the book is powerful proof that Nicholas Sparks is a masterful storyteller who remains at the top of his game.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on October 16, 2015

See Me
by Nicholas Sparks

  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455520624
  • ISBN-13: 9781455520626