The tragic deaths of Jevin Banks wife and twin boys jolt you at the outset of the book. It's senseless. He tries to find someone to blame. Maybe that someone is himself. Though the story starts out as an emotional downer, the author jacks up the pace as Jevin changes occupations.
Once an illusionist and escape-artist, he has turned his talents to finding truth in expose film-making projects, debunking test results, exposing them as fakes and tricks to scam people of their money. He works his new job with his former partners Charlene and Xavier. This particular project brings him into the manipulative world of a particular pharmaceutical firm who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Steven James brings in the thriller aspects he is so well-known for, making for a gritty, suspenseful read. One you can't put down until you're finished with the book. The scientific aspects of mind-to-mind communicating, the use of tolerase, and quantum physics kind of left me scraping through the story for a while, leaving me a bit confused, but the author brings it to a point of understanding that makes all the medical and scientific terms necessary and more understandable to bring the story to its conclusion. You get that â€˜Aha' moment and it falls into place. True Steven James writing!
Steven wove many different plot angles that kept me thinking on my feet. I enjoyed his thriller cat and mouse story on all the different levels of action. The characters definitely fit the scenarios and situations. There are those you'd rather not meet.
The story of Riah Colette was most intriguing to me, as she lived her life without feelings or sensing consequences to her choices. Having seen this type of behavior in person, I felt the author brought out a poignant look of dysfunctional family life and its effects on those involved, following them into their adult life.
I did have a problem with some of the language the author used that I don't feel belongs in Christian writing. Though it fits the scenarios of a non-Christian book, I think he could have woven it around differently to make his point.
Though I enjoyed the Patrick Bowers Files more, I think this series will be a hit as well for Steven James enthusiasts! I'm ready for the next book.
This book was provided by Donna Hausler, Blog Tour Coordinator for Revell, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books for everyday life. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.
I am a HUGE fan of the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James - HUGE! So when I knew Steven James was writing a new series I was excited but tentative. Change can be hard for readers sometimes, but it isn't always a bad thing. In this case I found Placebo to be very interesting and cerebral, with a new cast of characters that were fun to get to know. I had trouble letting go of Patrick Bowers at the beginning and embracing Jevin Banks - though I really liked his sidekicks Charlene and Xavier immediately. The plots that interwove in the book were a little hard to track for awhile, but was very intriguing. Once my head was able to wrap around what was going on I really liked what I was reading. This is going to be an interesting series and I think each book will get stronger as Jevin Banks starts stepping into his own.
Placebo by Steven James is the first book in his new Jevin Banks' Experience series. Jevin was a successful escape artist until his wife inexplicably drove her van into a lake, drowning herself and their twin sons. Haunted by their deaths and blaming himself for not being able to rescue them, Jevin has started a new career using his magician's skills to expose psychics and paranormal experts using the tricks he knows all too well. His latest job is to expose the fakery of a quantum physicist, Dr. Tambryn, who is claiming to be able to prove a form of telepathy between people who have a close relationship. His trusted team of Charlene, his "lovely assistant" and Xavier, his tech guy with a taste for conspiracy theories, travel with him to Tambryn's clinic, but their plans are suddenly changed when an assassin tries to murder the doctor, which exposes a link between the clinic and a pharmaceutical firm. Jevin's determination to find the truth could lead him all the way to the White House and question all that he knows to be true. James has become one of my favorite authors with his Patrick Bowers series, and while I was initially disappointed that this book wasn't in that series, Jevin quickly won me over with his broken heart and desire to save everyone around him and make up for those he couldn't save. James grounds the story in scientific fact, making the wild theories inside seem all too possible, and while Jevin's skill set wouldn't seem that powerful, his clever mind makes him a smart action hero. His team, Charlene, Xavier, and Fionna (the technical queen who with her homeschooled children can break into any computer) add both humor and heart to the story and keep Jevin grounded. Placebo will have you wondering just how much James has made up and what is true, and the political machinations will have ramifications far into the series. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
Jevin Banks is a successful magician who blames himself for the death of his wife and twin sons. After quitting the stage, he starts a new career as an expose filmmaker who uses his expertise to expose charlatans for what they really are. He and his stage assistant, Charlene, are working on a new story investigating a clinic doing studies on mind-to-mind communication. As they dig deeper, they uncover a conspiracy involving the clinic, a pharmaceutical company, and the military.
This is the first book I have read by Steven James, and I have been told by those who have read his other books that this is very different from his previous series. I enjoyed the fast paced thriller aspect of this story. There wasn't much mystery involved, but perhaps that is because I have read too many novels like this and was just able to see where it was going. I still enjoyed watching how our characters figured out what was going on and seeing how it all fit together.
I also really enjoyed the two main characters in this book. Jevin (Jev) and Charlene started the book as close friends with a long history. But, with Jev's wife and sons being dead only 13 months, it was a strained relationship. It was great watching them grow closer together as the book progressed. It felt like a very natural progression, too.
But, one of the biggest problems I had with this novel was how dark it was. The book starts out telling the story of the death of Jev's wife and twin sons, and it is told in very graphic detail. And then of course Jev kept reliving it throughout the book. In addition to that story, there were several characters in the book who would best be described as psychopaths. They have no conscience or feelings at all. Reading the descriptions of the child abuse and torture that took place in their lives was just too much for me. I found it way too disturbing at times, especially for a Christian novel, and if the remainder of the series is to be as dark, I might not continue with it.
I will also say that the main concept behind this book was a bit farfetched. I personally do not buy into the concept of affecting other people with our thoughts. And, trying to explain away prayer or miracles by saying that we are influencing others with the connections of quantum particles that we all share was just too much. However, it was cool how it made the skeptic main character evaluate the things in which he believes. The process of his path toward God was very realistic. He didn't get all the way there, but hopefully he will in the next few books.
So, I am torn. I enjoyed most of the story and the two main characters. I would really enjoy reading another story based on these two characters. However, if the next book in the series is anywhere near as dark and disturbing as this one, I probably will not be reading it.