PSI/NET by Billy Dee Williams


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First-novelist Williams (better known as a film actor) and coauthor MacGregor (Edgar Award—winner for Prophecy Rock, a YA paperback) come up with a modest thriller based on the more restrained forms of parapsychology, a.k.a. PSI. A former member of a team of “remote viewers” (psychics hired to spy for the CIA), retired Major Trent Calloway now lives alone in an Airstream trailer and acts as a whitewater rafting guide in the Southwest. Trent finds himself being invaded by strange images, then is approached by his onetime sidekick in spying for the military, “Doc” Miriam Boyle, who tells him that they were secretly given a booster shot that increased their psychic abilities and tied the whole team into a “PSI net.” Now several other members of the old net have been herded together by their former CIA boss, Gordon Maxwell, who has himself been hired by renegade George Wiley, a right-wing nut hiding out from the police who wants several western states to secede from the Union. What’s more, Wiley has sent his daughter Jill and teenager Matt Hennig off to Washington with a nuclear bomb in a backpack: they—re meant to blow up the White House, the president, and much of the capital. Meanwhile, President David Dustin has made a strange allusion in a recent speech to being visited by aliens. Has the president gone tabloidal and joined the alien abductee folks? His spokesperson, Calloway’s ex-wife Camila Hidalgo, tells reporters that Dustin spoke in metaphor. But then the president tells her to leak word to CNN that he really means it. How do space aliens tie in with nuking D.C., not to mention Wiley’s plan to build Freedom Nation out of the seceding states? Stay tuned. The authors avoid over-the-top Men in Black special effects and try hard to keep their tale within the bounds of reason—the premise is based on an actual government program, after all—though the developments are still pretty lurid.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86766-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999


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