Go to Homepage   Billy Dee Williams, Rob MacGregor: PSI/Net

 

Tor Books (Hardback), ISBN 0-312-86766-2
A lean, fast-paced thriller, PSI/Net picks up where military and C.I.A. psychic experiments left off, exploring the national and personal costs of peering too deeply into the unknown. 

The media calls renegade general George Wiley the most dangerous man alive, but they don't know the half of it. After the Army cashiered Wiley for multiple cases of sexual harassment, he built a personal army out of a loosely organized chain of white separatist militias. Wiley equipped this army with the very best guns, explosives, rocket launchers, personnel carriers… and a backpack nuclear bomb now on its way to Washington, D.C. 

Trent Calloway, former Air Force major and emotionally scarred veteran of military psychic spying programs, sees a vision of Washington, D.C., leveled by Wiley's bomb. The vision gives Trent five days to stop the terrorists and prevent Wiley from setting himself up as the dictator of several western states. 

Theoretically, Trent has an "in" at the White House. Camilla Hidalgo, Trent's ex-wife, works as the president's speechwriter. But Camilla divorced Trent because of the personality changes caused by previous remote viewing assignments, and right now, Camilla faces problems of her own.  

Camilla barely prevented the president's top national security advisor from appearing at dinner in his wife's clothes. And now the president just announced to a conference of governors that aliens visited his bedroom to discuss repopulating their home planets. Trent senses the fine minds of his former colleagues. But who directs the psychics and what are their goals?  

The book moves smoothly from whitewater rafting on Utah's San Juan River to Denver's Brown Palace Hotel to the Shoshone Ice Caves in Idaho and points beyond. The writers do a fine job of explaining the government's remote viewing research and manage to tease an exciting scenario out the generally sedentary process of thought.  

Readers familiar with federal psychic research will applaud the way MacGregor and Williams capture the alienation of research veterans and the self-defeating conceit of some program administrators. The book's portrait of top government officials and their aides rings with emotional truth, even when the needs of the story required the writers to exaggerate or over-simplify.  

In contrast, Trent Calloway's character often seemed elusive. In part this can be ascribed to the nature of Trent's personal journey over the course of the book. But sometimes this reader felt she could lose him in a crowded room -- or would have if she hadn't known the writers saw him as a stand-in for Billy Dee Williams. 

Jean Marie Ward 

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