In this debut thriller from Evans, Bousquet and Biltz, a psychic’s powers bring the Mafia to her door.
Good-hearted 62-year-old Helen Wilson can see into the future. She discovered her power after her husband died of a brain aneurysm, which may have been triggered by a head injury he received while moving a mysterious table. Now she gives readings at that same table in her home in Naugatuck, Conn., charging her clients a meager $25. As her fame spreads, she finds she must limit her daily number of customers, which leads her to give a town hall–style address in which she discusses the afterlife and Jesus. Her abilities attract the attention of New York’s prominent Nicolo crime family, whose ruthless boss, AC, threatens to kill her neighbors unless she advises him. He finds that her services prove beneficial, as when she tells him that a bank will be “ripe” for the family to rob at a certain time. However, AC’s brother, Mauro, doesn’t trust psychics and wants to have her watched. Meanwhile, local police detective Merton Howard has also been coming to Helen for advice. This unusual crime story has some comic potential. However, the criminals may not strike readers as very original, as they act like characters from Hollywood movies; at one point, the authors even describe one as looking “like he just walked out of a scene of Goodfellas.” Also, the American names for Polish-born thugs don’t lend much authenticity to the novel’s fictional world. There are some superfluous elements, such as a history of Helen’s table, a Belgian gem dealer and a side plot about the Nicolo family’s attempt to enter the Asian jewel market. The prose is also often formulaic; for example, whenever a character is introduced, readers can expect to learn his or her height, weight and hair color.
An offbeat but clumsy story about gangsters and the supernatural.