At first glance, Dr. Virgil Simon is as smooth and sophisticated as a piece of Italian marble. Well-groomed and impeccably dressed, he delights in fine wine, dabbles in classical piano music, and directs a highly selective retreat called Bramblewood where mediums flock to study spirit communication. The man’s ambition is tempered only by his self-control.
But as Mira soon realizes in Say Nothing of What You See, Dr. Simon’s need for control extends far beyond himself. Behind the mask of cool composure there hides a monster.
Dr. Simon has been eaten alive by anger. After the betrayal of his former wife, the man allowed his bitterness to brew for over twenty years. Now, he’s corroded from the inside out. But he’s got everyone fooled.
Dr. Simon’s devoted followers see only a poised and powerful medium who has mastered his craft. Their loyalty is so intense, their commitment so complete, that they will do anything the leader requests. Anything.
Mira Piper is brought to Bramblewood against her will, drug along by her capricious mother Chloe who decides on a whim to study mediumship. When Chloe abandons Mira, the girl discovers firsthand the depth of Dr. Simon’s depravity.
From the beginning, Dr. Simon is intrigued by Mira. She represents unspoiled innocence, and he admires her sensitivity and strength. He views Mira as a project to be perfected. Mira, however, isn’t manipulated as easily as his students. Then Troy arrives.
Troy represents everything Dr. Simon hates. Deception. Betrayal. Humiliation. Troy is the son of Dr. Simon’s ex-wife, the woman who broke his heart. He travels to Bramblewood at the deathbed wish of his mother, who requested that he hand-deliver a letter to Dr. Simon. But the meeting goes awry, and Troy is left an injured captive in the northern wilderness.
Which is to say, Dr. Simon has the young man right where he wants him.
A distraught Mira intervenes. She can’t bear to see someone mistreated. Dr. Simon reconsiders his plans for Troy. He is less moved by Mira’s compassion and more motivated by jealousy. A sinister scheme is conceived, one that will subject Troy to the same heartbreak Dr. Simon suffered: betrayal.
Dr. Simon is like the serpent in the garden. He offers Mira forbidden fruit in exchange for her innocence. Beguiled by what is offered, she bites.
But there’s more. Dr. Simon knows Mira’s weak spot. One tragic summer evening, Aunt Charlotte jumped off a grain elevator while a horrified Mira looked on. Now, Dr. Simon uses Mira’s vulnerability to tighten his hold on her. And it’s all in the name of revenge.
The problem is—and it’s a problem Dr. Simon can’t see—ultimately he is punishing himself. He festers in his own cruelty. He refuses to forgive and pays for it with lost happiness. Though he seems to have the upper hand for much of the story, there is a moment of reckoning. Even a psychic has his blind spot. As Dr. Simon learns too late, the only thing stronger than hate is love.
To read a character interview with Dr. Simon, visit the Wild Wild Women Blog: http://www.wildwomenauthorsx2.blogspot.com/2014/06/dr-vigil-simon-medium-of-mediums.html
Title: Say Nothing of What You See
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date Published: August 29, 2014
Genre: Paranormal New Adult
Word Count: 97,296
When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.
Chloe plans to train as a medium but it’s Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.
Then one winter’s day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother’s dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil’s deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost…betrayal.
“You are absolutely stunning, Mira.”
I stole another glance in the mirror. The material was a rich, shimmery gold that fell from my shoulders in folds of liquid light. It looked like something a Greek goddess might wear. Oh, how I wished the girls from Amberville High School could see me in this dress!
“When you came here,” said Dr. Simon, “I had a vision of you like this. I looked at the girl before me, but I saw the woman you are now.”
“Thank you,” I murmured, gesturing toward the piles of clothes on my bed. “You’ve been so generous. I know you’ve spent a good deal of money on me—”
“Money means nothing,” he interrupted abruptly. “I have more than I could ever spend, more than I know what to do with. Don’t consider the cost.”
His tone was brusque, and I wondered if I had offended him.
But the next moment Dr. Simon smiled. “I think of you as my charity case. You were like a doll thrown out in the garbage. I simply rescued you from the trash, cleaned you up, and dressed you in something decent. But the beauty was present all along.” He touched my cheek. “Here.” Then he touched my forehead. “Here.” Then he touched my chest. “And here.”
I knew he was referring to my heart, but even so, his hand on my chest made my face warm with discomfort.
“You blush so easily,” he laughed. “You’ll never be able hide anything, Mira, with such a transparent face.”
“That’s all right,” I said, taking a small step back. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.