In “Mindbenders” I found some echoes of Jonathan Lethem’s book”Motherless Brooklyn”, which also features a man with a hazy and unusual past (and unusual “powers”) on a quest to unravel and stymie a mysterious plot that unfolds through his eyes. I read Lethem’s book in one weekend; Krever’s book held me to my chair for one marathon reading that rang my bells on every level and satisfied my voracious appetite for engaging, believable characterization and fast-moving story.
There really were American programs to explore the possible uses of “psychic” abilities in covert and illegal tests on humans, using substances and drugs, often without the informed consent of the subjects themselves. Among the subjects were author Ken Kesey and Unabomber Theodore Kaczinski. Kever extrapolates from these programs (most records of which were destroyed by order of then-CIA Director Richard Helms, in the face of a pending investigation) and spins an intriguing tale that explores the question of “what if…the experiments led to real and powerful abilities to monitor, predict and alter the minds of human beings? …what if there were several similar programs incubating around the globe? …what if someone turned these abilities to their own uses without scruple? In these days of global political turmoil these “what-ifs” are all too plausible, something Krever brilliantly explores here.
I understand there is a sequel in the works to be published later this year. Add my name to that waiting list.