Saturday, November 17, 2012

Placebo by Steven James (Review)

While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, expose filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons' tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did. 

Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, "Placebo" explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. Readers will love this taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James.


I kept hearing so many great things about Steven James's Patrick Bower series, and his books in general, so when I was given the opportunity to read Placebo, his latest book and the first book in a new series, I jumped at the chance. When I read the synopsis for the book I thought it sounded SO good, but unfortunately I didn't care for this book all that much and was a bit let down.

The story begins with Jevin, an escape artist and illusionist, watching divers search a lake for his wife's minivan, where two hours previous she'd been seen driving it into the lake - supposedly on purpose. The next chapter then jumps to thirteen months later, and Jevin now hosts a show where we see him with his pals Xavier and Charlene getting ready to go undercover to investigate a research center's mind-to-mind communication program and debunk it if it's not true.

The beginning of the story was perhaps my favorite, later on the story just seemed too hectic and, at times, a bit unbelievable. There also didn't seem to be a clear ending, but since this is a series maybe the next book will take care of that. There were a lot of disturbing things in the book, which if they were important to the story would have been one thing, but they didn't seem necessary at all. To me certain characters could have been eliminated totally from the story and it wouldn't have affected it at all.

Now I don't know if this was just me, but every time I read the name "Riah" I thought hair, since Riah is hair backwards. I don't know if this was intentional, but it was funny to me.

Overall, the story wasn't for me, but it was still somewhat enjoyable. If you are a fan of Steven James's work, I am sure you will want to read this regardless of what I think. However, if you are new to this author, like I was, maybe this shouldn't be the first one of his books that you read.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

Available November 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800734254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734251
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book

Steven James has penned 25+ books spanning the genres of psychological suspense, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine book series on creative storytelling for children’s ministry, YA fantasy, and inspirational. James has received wide critical acclaim for his work including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, 2009, 2011 and 2012 Christy Award for best suspense, an ECPA Book Award for Best Christian Novel,and The Christian Manifesto #1 Book of the Year. He earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, and International Association of Crime Writers. He is also a contributing editor for Writer's Digest.

Steven lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.


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