Blum’s supernatural thriller features a bogus psychic who may hold the key to rescuing captive children and thwarting an imminent terrorist attack.
Ryan Gordon is making a decent living as the self-described “Psychic to the Stars.” It’s all for show, though; he’s just using intuition and info fed through an earpiece. So when CIA agents secure Ryan to a chair and demand he use his ability to stop a terrorist strike called the Flower Garden, he chalks it up to a hallucination; he is off his meds. Other issues surface, however, like former CIA assassin Seth Roemer, who knew Ryan as a boy, and Sen. Zachary Karbin, who’s sure Ryan can find his kidnapped daughter, Jackie. Ryan may actually be “super psychic” Kenny Vickers, whom the CIA had worked with years ago. He also could help save the Crystal Children, psychics the agency has imprisoned to use as weapons and impede the terrorists’ plan. Much of the author’s plot consists of past events, and Ryan spends a good deal of time denying his power or trying to recall apparently repressed memories. But Blum retains interest by gradually revealing vital details, like the initial mystery surrounding Ryan’s parents; his half brother, Arthur, who might not be as dead as he thought; and men who tried to take young Ryan and ended up in pieces. The supernatural elements are notable: most of the Crystal Children have telepathy, but Ryan has a few more things in his arsenal, including telekinesis and astral projection. Yet the plot outside the paranormal is equally worthy. The terrorist cell, for example, led by the Undertaker, is an undeniable threat, while a powerful someone orders the liquidation of the program, Starburst, which contains the Crystal Children and basically anyone who knows about them. There’s also a never-ending and immensely enjoyable shifting of alliances, as when a good guy or two, out of self-preservation, lend a hand to the baddies. The ending ties everything up in a nice, tight bow; it’s convincing but unfortunately marks the end for several curious characters, like Ryan’s stepmom/manager, Maria, who didn’t get enough of the spotlight.
A beefy, diverting plot with a compelling protagonist to match.