Sunday, March 08, 2009
Peeper by Paul Chandler
(iUniverse / 0-595-32932-2 / 978-0-595-32932-8 / August 2004 / 252 pages / $16.95)
Reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell for PODBRAM
Andrew Ash and Ray Duncan are corporate merger and acquisitions specialists. They're very good at what they do and they make plenty of money because they have a secret. Andrew's a mind reader. He knows what the man sitting across the negotiating table is going to say before he says it.
In a field where precise and timely information is essential, Andrew's skills go far beyond occult psychics who speak in symbols and riddles and police-show psychics whose quasi-random impressions provide facts that, while interesting, always seem to fall short of the one or two details the criminal investigators most need to discover. Andrew knows everything. He can peep inside your head and read you like a book.
Every reader who has wondered what it would be like to read minds will get a lot of vicarious pleasure peeping on Andrew as he wields his information like a sword to back down greedy corporate executives, aggressive lawyers, and the hired guns who are attracted to large quantities of easy money. Paul Chandler is very good at what he does and his exciting novel shows what it's like.
Andrew's secret creates challenges. First, if the secret gets out, Andrew and Ray are out of business. Yet, in the regulated world of mergers and acquisitions, they're providing information that appears to have been illegally obtained. How does Andrew viably explain how he knows what he knows?
Men like Paul Trask, the powerful CEO of Micro-Delta Corporation, don't care where the information comes from as long as they get what they want and don't get caught. After a lucrative Micro-Delta business deal, Trask wants more, and he has a Rolodex full of unsavory characters who will ensure Andrew and Ray keep doing their magic.
But Andrew has other things on his mind. The popular talk-show host David Martin has been accused of murdering his wife and daughters. The prosecution has a good case, but in the media frenzy surrounding the trial, one thing is clear. The jury likes David Martin and will probably vote for acquittal.
Angered that such a monster might go free, Andrew steps into the court room and learns the truth. But once again, how he knows what he knows creates challenges. Can he help put a murderer behind bars without giving away his secret? More importantly, if he accurately describes the graphic details of a murder nobody could have seen, won't he be accused of committing the crime?
Paul Chandler's well-written Peeper delivers savvy good guys and savvy bad guys fighting for survival in a high-stakes battle with no brakes on it. Even Andrew doesn't know in advance how it's going to end up. So, chances are you won't have a clue, either. If you like action and suspense, it's better that way.
See Also: The Powell's Review