Steven James, Christy nominated author of the Patrick Bowers series changes gears in this new series with a sinister focus on psychic phenomena, mind-to-mind communication, experimental drugs and the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a tale of loss, neurological research and ground-breaking science wrapped in magic, illusion and conspiracy titled—“Placebo.”
The story opens with magician Jevin Banks on the shores of Heron Bay, unable to convince himself his family minivan has become a “…safe haven filled with air…proof that a loving God exists and cares…” That a diver would find his wife Rachael and their five-year-old twin son’s alive, even though it’s been two hours since their vehicle slipped beneath the icy waters.
Then he sees “diver’s surface” with Andrew’s limp body, his first born by three minutes. Although bystanders blame his wife, he blames himself—and still does thirteen months later. Thus ends Placebo’s disturbing first chapter.
The story, set in Oregon State, really begins in chapter two thirteen months later in the wake of his family’s tragic deaths. Jevin, former master magician now uses his talents to expose the schemes of charlatans and others who separate fools from their money.
He and friend Zavier are driving to Oregon’s Lawson Research Center to film Dr. Tanbyrn’s claims of psychic activity, where Jevin plans to expose the doctor as a fake for one of three shows still under contract with Entertainment Film Network. Still, he’s puzzled why a theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate of Dr. Tanbyrn’s stature would be part of such fraud.
Add Fionna, computer genius and homeschooling mom of four kids, Jevin’s friend Zavier, philosopher, conspiracy theorist and lover of all things cheese. Then the delightful Charlene, his undercover partner co-registered with Jevin for the mind-to-mind experimental program. Plus a sadistic assassin who doesn’t know when to quit, as well as complex intrigue over an anti-aging drug, illegal government sponsored research and mind control. The plot is complex, the characterization of even secondary characters well done, yet Placebo is not the same caliber as the Patrick Bowers series.
That doesn’t mean Placebo isn’t as good, only that it’s different, more similar to Frank Perriti’s recent release, Illusion. James use of first person point-of-view with Jevin adds intimacy for the reader. Parts of the story are intense, laced with adrenaline, others not so much, gauged by I could put the book down for a day or two at a time.
Even though I favor law enforcement over magicians, I look forward to reading Singularity; book two of the Jevin Banks series this fall. However, I anticipate The King, latest in The Bowers Files scheduled for release in July, 2013 even more.
‘Placebo: A Jevin Banks Novel’ by Steven James, Revell Publishing, 2012, 416 Pages, 978-0800734251, $14.99
Back Cover Copy:
~~One man must uncover the truth—even when others will stop at nothing to keep it buried~~
While investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. He seeks answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program—and answers to his own family tragedy.
Rooted in ground-breaking science, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. This taunt, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James will keep you flipping pages late into the night.
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