Available November 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Steven James' fans will have to adjust to this new series featuring magician/escape artist Jevin Banks and his lovely assistant Charlene. More like a suspense than a thriller, the pacing a bit slower with the impact that builds from the storyline, Placebo takes a grieving entertainer and thrusts him into a situation filled with psychopaths, sadists, and a Voodoo priestess. Steven's voice and style haven't changed, but the storyline is decidedly different. Reminding me in substance of Frank Peretti's latest Illusion, Placebo runs a different direction from Illusion and from the Patrick Bowers Series.
Opening the story with a disturbing first chapter, the plot then jumps thirteen months ahead to who Jevin Banks has now become, abandoning his entertainment act to pursue documentary TV where he and his associates intend to expose a mind-to-mind experimental program tied to a huge pharmaceutical company. Undercover as a romantic couple for the testing of their psychic "non-local" communications, Jevin and his assistant Charlene get caught in what seems like an inescapable situation involving the elderly doctor who's responsible for conducting the studies and recording the data.
Introducing Jevin's other friends and associates, we meet the intelligent, weird, conspiracy theorist, and strangely philosophical good friend Xavier, the affectionate, sincere, and clever Charlene, and the somewhat wacky computer genius Fionna and her four kids. When danger forces the group to explore other avenues related to these studies, we get looks at various psychopaths and sadists who hold important positions in terrifying experimental endeavors. Exposing the real results of these testings might be the death of them all - if the Voodoo priestess doesn't catch on to them first. The story is told primarily from Jevin Banks' POV but gives glimpses of other characters' thoughts and inner dialogue.
It's impossible not to give away spoilers if I reveal anymore, so suffice it to say Placebo is another Steven James' novel filled with his typical plot complexities. It's entertaining in its explorations, suppositions, expositions, and contains more real evaluations of faith issues but is not yet as compelling as the Patrick Bowers Series. It's finite as far as resolving this story but leaves a few loose ends and one villain as possibilties for the next book without hanging the reader on a cliff. I appreciate that. As a reader of the entire Patrick Bowers Series, I can see Steven developing his new effort to capture the same enticing draw of his original series.
Steven James is a master at portraying villains, particularly psychopaths. In Placebo he delves a bit further into the operational faculties of the mind of one female psychopath and presents a unique but troubling character who manages to snare just a bit of our compassion. Huge accomplishment considering the interests and capabilities of this character.
Placebo by Steven James will possibly gain new fans who are less likely to attempt the chilling thrillers of the Patrick Bowers Series while sustaining his regulars. Placebo is easily recommended for readers of both suspense and thrillers.
*Placebo was made available to me by Revell for an honest review.*
Father, I continue to ask your blessings upon Steven, that you would continue to meet his supply of stories, and that he would continue to honor you with the gifts and talents you've given him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.