Sunday, November 4, 2012


Author: Steven James
Publisher: Revell Books
November 2012
ISBN 978-0-8007-3425-1
Genre: Fiction \ Suspense

Jevin Banks makes a living exposing people.  Bad people.  The hucksters, the charlatan’s, the grafters who make a living separating the fool from his money.  Along with a slightly seductive assistant, a typically paranoid pyrotechnics geek, and a stay-at-home mom who routinely assigns computer hacking projects as extra credit to her four children, Jevin’s latest assignment is to debunk a pharmaceutical firm’s contentions that mind-reading and extra-sensory perception are for real.  And maybe, Jevin will find the answers to the tragedy in his own life along the way.

This isn’t your typical Steven James novel.  You need to know that from the very beginning, because the very beginning is extremely disturbing.  It took me a couple of days to process the prologue to PLACEBO, before I could continue on with the book.

Once into the book, other differences showed themselves early on.  I was introduced to Steven James through the Patrick Bowers series, and avoiding the urge to make a comparison is difficult to do.  The “supporting cast” in the Bower’s series were more connected, more believable to the story line.  Patrick Bowers was more acceptable in his actions, due to his training and experience.  The plot lines in the Bower’s series were more authentic and true-to-life.  And the pace in the Bower’s series was much more pleasing.

To be honest, this latest Steven James novel was more along the lines of Clive Cussler.  The hero is slightly larger than life, and while allowances can be made for some of the action sequences, some situations are difficult to swallow at best.  There are some humorous moments, but it takes time to get to them, which in and of itself is a disappointment, as well.

2 stars. 409 pages. $14.99.

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