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Literature / The Well of Moments

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The Well of Moments is a comedic paranormal thriller novel by Lee Gaiteri. It is the sequel to The Affix and the second book in the Paranormal Curio series.

Following her experience with the Affix three years ago, freelance "finder" Jasmine Treager stepped into the shoes of a deceased competitor and is now at the top of her game, tracking down and brokering the rarest of rare art pieces. A new job comes to her attention with the reappearance of an ancient stone pot known to the paranormal community as the Well of Moments.

The pot reveals itself to have a supernatural nature, allowing a person to experience events from the past in perfect clarity, and once again dangerous collectors and rival finders are on the hunt. Making matters worse, an assassin who happens to be the brother of her former competitor thinks she had a hand in his disappearance, and wants answers.

Unmarked spoilers about events in the first book may appear below.


The Well of Moments contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Jasmine has no compunction about stepping beyond the law, and is willing to kill without hesitation when the situation demands it or there's a major wrong to avenge.
  • Arc Number: 11. While it didn't come up as much of an arc number in The Affix, it shows up just about everywhere here. Every address or room number of significance is either a multiple of 11 or its digits add up to 11. Martin's penthouse is on the 11th floor. The Well of Moments and the Eye of Sorrows each have 121 (11×11) runes, and the Well has a hendecagram design on the bottom that resembles the Affix. Its prevalence proves that the Affix, while not currently awake, is still calling the shots.
  • Ascended Extra: Almost all of the returning characters, including Jasmine, played much smaller roles in the first book—in Toshiro's case, comically small. The same could be said of the ankh. Inverted for Lexi, who's demoted to appearing in only a few chapters.
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  • Ax-Crazy: The Mad Scot once got someone to shell a building he planned to be in at the time, just to force an opportunity to steal something he wanted. He's seen fighting Toshiro with a rapier—which typically isn't a match for a katana—and doing well, holding a lit cigarette in his lips the whole time.
  • Battle Couple: Jasmine and Seth make it official in their showdown with Vijay Martin and three of his henchmen. Their fight with the Basemen might count too, but with Ian as a third wheel.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Although Martin and Medina compete to be the biggest Big Bad, their respective subcontractors make a pretty good run at it too.
  • Blood Knight: The Basemen are a trio of violent finders who consider themselves hunters, and apply an honor code to their pursuit.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Jasmine calls Ralf Klausen "Budget Arnold" behind his back because his voice is a dead ringer for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Several other characters joke about this, including Mr. What who begs Klausen to say "I'll be back."
  • Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: The first major action point happens when three opposing groups converge on the hotel all at once—although only two of them meet. Except it's even more complicated, because future!Jasmine accidentally engages with one of the Basemen, and has a chance meeting with Toshiro, at the same hotel that same night.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The "detention specials", effectively mini-grenades disguised as wadded-up chewing gum, come in handy more than once.
  • Distressed Dude: Jasmine has to rescue Seth after he's taken hostage.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Played for Laughs when Lexi refers to a former collector's "piano lesson".
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Jasmine deliberately spread the story that Henry Bartlett snapped, killed his client's right-hand man, had an associate kill the client, and then went deep into hiding. That way she could keep the fear of him alive and exploit his absence, looking like the only person crazy enough to move in on his territory instead of leaving an obvious power vacuum. To keep it going she even did some jobs in his name.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Wesley Bartlett mainly took the job so he could get close to Jasmine and interrogate her about what happened to his brother Henry during the Affix incident. Although she doesn't want to tell him the truth, she sympathizes with him—so much so that after his Poison-and-Cure Gambit puts her through absolute hell, she's willing to help him when she finds out he was Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Vijay Martin and Wesley Bartlett both. Wesley comes by it honestly, since his brother was the same way.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: After casting the Well in silicone to make a mold, Ian wastes no time creating a replica for study purposes. The fake becomes a useful bargaining chip, in more ways than one.
  • First Time Feeling: Felice was born deaf, and the cochlear implant she's had for nearly three years has limited fidelity. She's reduced to tears when she looks into the Well and experiences music with true hearing, which is her long-term goal.
  • Gambit Pileup: Maxwell and Jasmine are both pawns on opposite ends of a MacGuffin Delivery Service ploy laid down by future!Jasmine. Toshiro uses Klausen as an Unwitting Pawn to find Jasmine's car so he can track it, then relies on either her or Klausen getting to the Well first so he can steal it. Vijay Martin plays Xanatos Speed Chess with multiple paths that could get him the Well, also making use of Wesley Bartlett's Poison-and-Cure Gambit against Jasmine as another backup. Everyone else is comfortable running the Indy Ploy, although in Maxwell's case it's Strategy Schmategy.
  • Gang of Hats: The Basemen, although there are only three of them. They're dressed like fans of the local college football team, but they each have a neck tattoo indicating a different baseball infield position. All of them go by code names based on their position.
  • Given Name Reveal: Jasmine Treager is an alias that she uses for work. Her real name is Jessica. Her real last name isn't revealednote .
  • Intangible Time Travel: The Well of Moments' special power is to show a person scenes from the past—not necessarily their own—in complete sensory detail when they look into its depths. It can send information back as well, if the user is disciplined enough. Its companion piece, the Eye of Sorrows, sees the future. In special cases those who've used one may have a mental bond across time with someone actively using the other, such as Jasmine and her dad. Combining them is a very bad idea. Jasmine is thrown into a Stable Time Loop by both artifacts acting together.
  • Last-Name Basis: Commonly used by many characters, but particularly noticeable with Richter this time. Maxwell and the Mad Scot also get this treatment. Wesley Bartlett typically does not, but mainly because most people (especially Jasmine) still think of Henry as the Bartlett.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: Jasmine gets the Well right away. Holding onto it is somewhat more difficult with several parties trying to steal it—and some, at times, succeeding.
  • MacGuffin Melee: While the number of competing parties isn't as high as it was for the Affix, it's still considerable. The Well changes hands numerous times in the confusion.
  • MacGuffin Title
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Kline Falls is a fictional city in western New York, although it's a blatant parody of a certain college town in the Finger Lakes region.
  • Nonviolent Initial Confrontation: Wesley Bartlett's first meeting with Jasmine is merely hostile. Their second is more of a verbal chess match. After that things get a lot worse.
  • Oh, Crap!
    • Jasmine wonders aloud why the highest bidder would meet her in a museum/gallery of appallingly tacky crap. Before she even finishes the question, she realizes they wouldn't.
    • Everyone reacts this way to learning the Basemen are in town.
  • Only Sane Man: Jasmine sees herself this way. She's willing to accept the impossible when it slaps her in the face, but she refuses to give it an inch more than it takes. In contrast the paranormal community has strong, but disparate and conflicting, beliefs. She gives the Gables a partial pass because of her relationship with Seth.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: Jasmine uses this on Montrose in the opening chapter, to convince him to pay what he owes her. Later on, it's used against her in a nastier way.
  • Refuge in Audacity: During Jasmine's last confrontation with Maxwell, she interrupts to have a text conversation with someone else. When he asks who she's talking to, she tells him the truth—because he won't believe it.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Several interactions are seen in a completely different light after all is revealed, especially Jasmine's troubles with Toshiro and Maxwell.
  • Running Gag
    • Jasmine keeps making up names for Maxwell that imply he uses a lot of steroids, despite his denials.
    • She also takes a liking to the way Klausen says "sons of bitches" and adopts sanzabeaches as a new word, especially when dealing with the Basemen for whom it was originally coined.
    • In a Callback to the first book, Lexi is still the butt of Ghostbusters (1984) jokes. Jasmine has assigned the movie theme as Lexi's ringtone, noting that if Lexi knew it would piss her off.
  • Safety in Muggles: Played for laughs. After Jasmine bluffs Klausen into believing she doesn't have the Well, he insists they team up and split the profits, and she can't make him go away. Jasmine responds by loudly making a scene in the middle of the coffee house, breaking up with "Johan" for his serial cheating. Stared down by a suddenly hostile crowd, Klausen reluctantly leaves.
  • Secret Legacy: While neither of them intended for it to happen, Jasmine and her father ended up in the exact same line of work. The "coincidence" likely indicates the Affix has been a quiet background factor in larger events for far longer than anyone realized.
  • Shout-Out: The Basemen's code names are an overt reference to the famous Who's on First? routine: Who, What, and I Don't Know. Jasmine jests that they could make her an honorary shortstop.note 
  • The Scottish Trope: Jasmine interrupts anyone who tries to refer to the Affix by name. From past experience she has a justified fear of waking it up. (The Affix is never mentioned by name anywhere within the actual text of the book.)
  • Trust Password: Sent by the mystery texter to convince Jasmine the messages come from a friend, since no one outside her trust circle would know the inside jokes. They're from future!Jasmine, using a burner phone she accidentally brought back instead of her own.
  • We Were Rehearsing a Play: Jasmine and Wesley use this exact excuse when their adversarial banter freaks out someone else at the restaurant. Wesley sells it by slipping into a Canadian accent, pretending he's been practicing his actual native Kiwi accent.
  • Wham Line: Steve's call about the other thing he found in his grandfather's workshop, hidden for thirty years, is cataclysmic. Either there's more than one Affix, or the Affix is in a Stable Time Loop itself.
  • You Killed My Father: After Jasmine learns it was Medina who killed her father, she embarks on Revenge and ultimately gets it. Medina has no idea of their connection until Jasmine repeats the very things her father, who saw his death coming through the Eye of Sorrows, said to Medina back then.


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