School For Psychics
by K. C. Archer
Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Another free e-book from Net Galley, but not one I searched for, but rather offered in an email. Hey, it was free, and like other things free in life, it can sometimes only be worth what you paid for it. The only thing I can find out about the author is that K. C. Archer is a pseudonym. They are either an established writer working in a different genre than usual, or possibly a new author who doesn't want to own up to their weak first effort. Depending on the reception they will either continue in this vein, or else switch to another style/genre, or if we're lucky give up the notion they'll be a writer forever. Then again, they may find a job as a TV show writer, since they have all the tropes and cliches down pat.
Does that sound harsh? It was meant to. So many problems with the story. A down-on-her-luck gambler who seems to think she's done well at the poker table because she can read other players' tells, when in fact she's a psychic, one who has been on the radar of a super-secret government/private scientific research facility. While trying to dodge a bookie to whom she owes a large sum of money, she is rescued by one of the teachers at a psychic training school on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. First clue things are a little off, if she's so good at poker why is she in debt to a Russian mobster? Things don't get any better from there.
This school is supposed to be super-secret, yet it's on an island which also boasts a state park, a tourist attraction only a ferry ride from San Francisco. Then again, in the real world, that island is also home to a Nike missle base, adjacent to Fort McDowell, so maybe the government isn't as smart as we'd hope. Orientation at the school includes a long list of restrictions, and yet either those are just window-dressing to get the recruits to take things seriously, since surveillance there is lacking, or non-existant. Right away, Theodora 'Teddy' Cannon learns that many upper classmen have been skirting those restrictions for a long time. Plus, all the teachers are supposed to be accomplished psychics themselves, but they either are not, or they don't employ the techniques when you'd expect them to.
Another of the first year students is apparently rich and connected, and has a speed boat handy for off island trips. If Teddy can spot it easily, why can't any school official? Why no bugs or surveillance cameras in the dorms? Or if there are, why let the students get away with so much surreptitious activity? [Spoiler!] How can several misfit twenty-somethings, no matter how psychically talented, infiltrate a FBI field office to obtain a secret video file, but when caught are not arrested, instead just get academic probation? [/Spoiler] ????? How stupid does the author think people are, either their readers or the government officials in their story?
Not wasting any more time on this review. I'm also not putting this in the banner image on the home page, since it's not worth the exposure. Another beginning to a multi-book story, but I'll endeavor to forget about it and not succumb to temptation if and when another 'K. C. Archer' book is offered for review.
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