AQUARIUS DESCENDING by Martha C. Lawrence

AQUARIUS DESCENDING

KIRKUS REVIEW

Who’s the logical person to look into the ten-year-old disappearance of crime-victim activist Jen Shaffer after three other investigators fail (one did nothing, the second vanished himself, the third was scared off the case)? It’s Elizabeth Chase, of course, the San Diego p.i. who’s also a P.I. (Psychic Investigator). Jen’s father Vince and her brother Jeremy remain staunchly convinced that she’d never leave them behind willingly to join a cult that changed its name from The Church of the Risen Lord to The Bliss Project to avoid association with right-wing fundamentalists (a nice touch). Jen must be held captive, they tell Elizabeth, or dead, as the package containing her Medic Alert bracelet darkly suggests. So after making the obligatory review of the case, Elizabeth, urged on by her main squeeze, FBI agent Tom McGowan, goes undercover as one Whitney Brown, a slightly psychic, slightly skeptical candidate for The Bliss Project’s high-priced rocket to nirvana. The basic plot is as old as E. Phillips Oppenheim, but Lawrence handles its formula—the perilous masquerade that will lead to revelations most readers suspect early on—with quiet confidence, rising tension, the occasional surprise, and a welcome air of realism that doesn’t flag until the final melodramatic flourishes. Though Elizabeth’s third case (The Cold Heart of Capricorn, 1997, etc.) makes more use of traditional detective work than of psychic powers, readers will likely find it her most polished appearance yet.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-19829-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1998




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