Monday, March 11, 2013

Review of Placebo by Steven James

I finished work this weekend on Placebo by Steven James. This title is labeled as thriller/suspense as well as Christian fiction. What I like most about these titles are that they aren't overtly Christian in the sense that someone is trying to peddle out their beliefs. It's usually an internal struggle between the protagonist and their beliefs in a higher power. Somewhere down the line they may have lost their faith and are at a crossroads in life where they need to move forward or stay complacent in their sorrow. This is at least true for Jevin Banks.

The novel begins with the narrator telling us to put ourselves in his shoes as he recounts the moment his wife decides to take her life along with their twin sons in a van plowing off a bridge into water. This jarring moment puts Jevin's world  upside down and  he abandons his profession as an illusionist to become an expose filmmaker. His latest assignment of exposing fraud in the mind-to-mind communication program, he becomes entangled with a dangerous hitman as well as his assistant Charlene. Entangled is a word used often in this book.

What I liked most about this book is how well written it is. There were a lot of technical physics terms that my limited knowledge of physics could not understand without the aide of James and his research. I too found the placebo-effect to be an interesting topic and the power of the mind to manipulate a body's well-being and of course attempting the body harm. Jevin Banks is thrown into this huge conspiracy that takes a little unraveling to make sense of.

Ultimately, I found the character of Jevin Banks to be likeable enough and this novel is a good jumping off point for this recurring character. There are relationships that form in this novel that may need exploring but I assume James will leave this to future novels. The secondary characters seem fun and are able to balance out the seriousness that often follows the troubled Jevin Banks but ultimately they will need to be fleshed out a little more. In conclusion, I enjoyed Placebo as my introduction to an accomplished author that I have not had the privelege of reading before. His work is comparable to Ted Dekker who just happens to be one of my favorite authors. I'm sure he's carved out his own niche in the Christian fiction, thriller/suspense world and his fans will not be disappointed with this latest work.***

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