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Beyond Belief

1 rating: 5.0
A book

Incredible events that beg a supernatural explanation challenge the deeply ingrained skepticism of Atlanta police detective Joe Bailey in this crafty paranormal crime thriller. A former stage magician who debunks swindling spirit mediums, psychic surgeons … see full wiki

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Publisher: Bantam
1 review about Beyond Belief

Better Than Answer Man: Beyond Belief by Roy Johansen

  • Jan 30, 2004
Sometimes when a first time author wins awards, the second book is not as good. It seems like the confirmation and praise goes to the head and the author never lives up to the true potential that was shown in the first work. Roy Johansen won an Edgar a few years back for The Answer Man. In that novel, Ken Parker runs a one man polygraph firm and is solicited to help a suspected embezzler to beat the polygraph. He accepts the job, with some misgivings and then his entire life begins to fall apart. While it is a pretty good read, this novel is so much better.

Beyond Belief opens with Joe Bailey. He works for the Atlanta Police Department and has been tagged with the nickname "Spirit Basher." Joe works the magician cons where he goes after the phony psychics and spiritualists that prey on people. Since Joe used to be a professional magician, he is pretty good at scouting out the fakers. But, usually he does not have to deal with murder.

One night, he is called out to investigate the murder of Dr. Robert Nelson. Dr. Nelson ran the parapsychology program at Landwyn University. Dr. Nelson searched for the paranormal and Joe was involved in the program as well, in the job of exposing the fakers. The two did not get along, but that isn't the issue at this point.

What is the issue is that Dr. Nelson has been found dead in his home. Not just dead, but impaled at the top of one wall by a sculpture of chrome spikes that no one could have lifted. But he is hanging there, clearly dead, and Dr. Nelson's girlfriend is convinced she knows exactly who did it. Jesse Randall, Dr. Nelson's latest and very spectacular find.

Jesse seems to have the ability to move objects with his mind. Nelson was studying Jesse and Jesse was fed up with being the object of curiosity. Jesse's anger seemed to have erupted in his sleep in "shadow storms" --violent telekinetic activity-directed at the professor. The culmination of these increasingly violent episodes was the murder of Dr. Nelson.

Joe is convinced that the boy is a fake and there is a rational explanation. As he investigates, Jesse seems to turn his anger towards Joe stepping up the pressure. Is he real and is he the Child Of Light as one of the millennial cults claims? As more and more unexplained happenings occur, and strangers seek to exploit Jesse for a cause, Joe must find out once and for all if his powers are real or not.

This is a very good book and very well written. Strong in action, the characters are multi dimensional and interesting. Mr. Johansen's writing style in this novel is completely different than his earlier work and the resulting storyline is much more complex. This thoroughly enjoyable book is one to make sure you read.

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February 21, 2012
Interesting storyline !
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