THE VOICE OUTSIDE by Ken Grimwood

THE VOICE OUTSIDE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Two journalist/lovers uncover a KGB plot to rule the world via telepathy-drugs--in a comic-book thriller that's too slow-moving and stretched-out for its one-dimensional plot. Sharon Martell is in New Orleans to research a big secret story on sports-gambling for Newsworld magazine. Her old flame Graham Reynolds, hurting from a bad love affair, happens to be in New Orleans too--on a tacky assignment from a National Enquirer-style rag. So Sharon and Graham reunite--and they're together in a bar when a Cajun fisherman wanders in . . . and displays uncanny telepathic abilities while murmuring about ""the Voice."" Smelling a story, then, Sharon, Graham, and photographer Lowenthal head down into Cajun country--where, soon after they ask questions about the fisherman, Lowenthal turns up murdered. Is this a Mob killing connected to Sharon's sports-gambling story? So think Graham and Sharon at first. But, as more corpses surface, they begin to suspect that they've stumbled onto something even bigger--especially when they discover some bizarre drugs in a local doctor's house and a list of other small communities around the US. Yes indeed, the KGB is testing ""a rare drug that's supposed to cause . . . well, telepathy""--with victims then blindly following orders from ""the Voice."" And so Graham and Sharon (who herself is drugged and nearly kills Graham on telepathic command) start traveling around the country in a Hitchcock-style chase-a-thon--spotting the KGB doctor in each town, finding more bodies, unsuccessfully trying to tell the FBI their story, being pursued by Russian agents, and winding up in a Mojave showdown with rockets and cliffside scuffles. Unfortunately, this extended on-the-run action is neither fast-paced nor plausible; despite some clinical basis, the telepathy premise here is far less convincing than the ones in the better esp-ionage novels (e.g., Campbell Black's Brain-fire); and Grimwood pads out the proceedings with such irrelevancies as the S/M sex life of the Newsworld publisher. So-so entertainment for the telepathically inclined, then, but too sluggish to snare a wide suspense audience.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday