Well, I thought this would be a fun chapter, especially coming after the slowdown in the story over the course of the New Orleans segment. However I've gotten somewhat mixed reviews so far. Here are two of them:
1) One comment I'd make is that Gail needs to be more
believable, since she's a main character.
For example, it's hard to believe that an
experienced police officer would let Alex wander
through crowds in New Orleans when it's such a
It also seemed far-fetched that Alex wouldn't
(fairly quickly) just make contact with Patricia
and arrange to rendezvous somewhere other than the
center of New Orleans. With all the Seers around,
I'm sure one of them could have suggested a good
place to have such a rendezvous and then directed
them to it.
I understand the need for drama and tension, but
there needs to be realism as well, or it's just
2) a very good read this week as
far as I am concerned, an introspective start by
Cate, giving a good grounding in how she is
working things out, followed by a bit of danger
spiked by having his name called out, then a bit
of Alex working,and an intriguing meeting with a
strange woman who helps them out, who does not fit
any of the known parameters, just begging the
question who was she.
As you can see, two VERY different takes on the same chapter.
As far the criticisms go, I was aware that I was stretching things a bit with the chapter, but I still felt it necessary to include most of the events. The thinking was that:
1) Though Alex was in a potentially dangerous environment, he wasn't in any immediate danger since no one knew what he looked like, and even though many people knew 'the Angel of New Orleans' was named "Alex", there are plenty of Alex's in the world. Thus they were more concerned with not attracting attention than in hiding.
2) The reason why they didn't just 'call Patricia and make other arrangements' is that they tried, but through a series of complications (heavy traffic, last minute packing, late arrivals, etc.) they had troubles.
3) Although it was unfortunately of Gail to abandon Alex on his own, her immediate fear was the man before her, she she focused on him (the reporter) while allowing Alex to escape unharmed.
These may not be the best excuses in the world, but they were my thinking/rationalizations at the time.
Finally, regarding the other issues raised, Alex's 'mysterious benefactor' represents one of those constant mysteries, the unknown person who sometimes show up to help who never get thanked and who don't do it looking for thanks.
It seems clear she's associated with the movement, despite being a 'normal' type 3, so it looks like she was a friend or family member who'd been drafted into helping keep tabs on the protests. But Alex is unlikely to ever know any more than that about her.