Monday, November 12, 2012

Placebo by Steven James

This marks the second consecutive Steven James novel that I very nearly quit reading after the first chapter.

Placebo is quite different from his Bower's Files series. We're talking deep scientific mumbo-jumbo in this series. The big question revolves around the idea that we can affect others simply by thinking about them.

Jevin Banks was a magician who turned his knowledge into an expose reality tv show. He reveals scammers and phonies with ease. When he turns his sights on mind-to-mind communication program, he uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy that bring an end to any sense of safety.

This book begins with horrific family tragedy for Banks. His wife drives their family van into a lake thus drowning herself and their two boys. It was at this point that I became angry at the author, threw the book down and almost didn't pick it up again. I was unhappy with James using children coming to harm to evoke emotion from me. He has done this with his last two books.

But of course, this plot point is integral to the story and character of Jevin Banks. So it is what it is.

This book pushes you head first into the world of science, consciousness and the power of prayer. It might be considered too highbrow for some looking for a quick thriller. But fans should expect the gripping thrill ride as well as the profound, intelligent writing from James.

At points, once Banks and his partner, Charlene, enter the mind-to-mind program things travel a little slow and we're just waiting for the explosion of action and the thrill of the chase. James does deliver on all accounts - it just takes us a while to get there.

This seems to be the first novel of a new series for James as the ending leads directly into the title of the forthcoming Book 2 of the Jevin Banks Novels.

You'll find yourself contemplating the power of prayer and what makes a blessing a blessing and a curse a curse. Heck, you may even crack open your Bible to research some of the theories these characters propose.

James is able to blend faith topics with engaging storylines that don't feel forced or overtly Christianized.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Revell Publishing.

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