In a thriller with supernatural elements, Davis (Tunnel Vision, 2014, etc.) introduces a world of extravagant violence and an ensemble of desperate characters.
Cynthia Robinson, a young girl living in Michigan, discovers that she has strange psychic powers when she has a premonition about her parents’ divorce and starts seeing emotions as colorful threads emanating from people’s heads. Jessica Hockstetter, an agent of the covert Telekinetic Research Center, finds herself thrown into a hunt for “telekinetics” who can prove the usefulness of her agency to the government. Darryl and Terry, two men with an oddly symbiotic friendship, launch themselves on a spree of murder and theft, aided by Darryl’s ability to control other people’s minds and Terry’s appetite for unhinged violence. The characters emerge in quick, quirky succession, and the novel seems to hope to mimic the hyperactive scene shifting of an ensemble action movie, jumping from character to character and from the main, increasingly bloody action in 1999 to scenes in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945. Unfortunately, a tendency toward clunky, blow-by-blow description that feels more like stage directions for a visual medium than the creation of a satisfactory fictional world drags the momentum of the plot to a crawl. Rape and murder get splashed throughout the narrative with abandon, but so little weight is given to their effects on either the characters or the reader that the violence dims to tawdry attempts at emotional manipulation. While the characters and underlying concepts, particularly the visual description of how telekinetics see and influence thoughts and emotions, have promise to inspire some satisfying entertainment, the plodding writing and emotional coldness make it a challenge to continue turning the pages.
There are some intriguing elements here, but they never quite develop into an absorbing diversion.