Crimson Moon

Edge of the Moon

 
Beyond Fearless
by Rebecca York
(Berkley, $6.99, R) ISBN 978-0-425-21866-2
****
Not having read Ruth Glick or her other self, Rebecca York, for several years (after feeling a little burned by the lack of quality to the first few Moon books), I want to say up front that Beyond Fearless surprised me. Pleasantly. Pleasantly enough, in fact, to check out the first book of the series, Beyond Control.

Although they don't know it yet, psychic entertainer Anna and treasurer hunter/diver Zach are part of an elite bunch of people made psychic by an experiment. What they quickly discover is that their "kind" are drawn to one another not only in a psychic sense but in a physical one. An extremely physical one that the author felt needed to by made necessary for strengthening the telepathic link between them.

Anna's instinct that someone is trailing her started before she left the States and has not diminished despite a trip to the Caribbean. Readers are quickly introduced to local businessman and creepy high priest Roald San Donato, who's a little bit of an islander godfather. San Donato is the force behind Anna's trip to Grand Fernandino; using his influence, he got her hired on so he could marry her. Unfortunately for his scheme, Anna and Zach hook up early on and do their level best (in every position) to keep him out of their bond - San Donato is a very strong psychic as well, and a little crazy about his cockeyed religion.

But Anna and Zach have more problems than that. The creepy feeling that's been dodging Anna has nothing to do with San Donato - and everything to do with a former U.S. government installment bent on destroying members of their kind. A mercenary nicknamed Wild Bill is also on their tales, trying to kill them even as San Donato does his work to lure or force Anna to his side.

Okay, so this sounds a little hokey. Hell, it is a little hokey. And, frankly, the "we-have-to-have-sex-to-have-a-psychic-bond" thing gets old pretty quickly; you'll read that even in the brief scenes that take us to another psychic couple who are trying to help Anna and Zach. Through sex, of course. However, the plot moves right along, the characters are strong if a little shallow, and the setting is fabulous. Anyone actually from a nation in the Caribbean might find the stereotyping frustrating, but I thought it was great. The dialect is well done; not so much that you can't stand to read it or understand what's being said, and the author does a remarkable job of giving readers a feel for the place without boring anyone with too many details. It's not too often in a romance novel that you can taste the air and visualize the street urchins so well.

Magic itself makes no appearance in this novel, unless the reader believes what San Donato is calling a religion is magic. There are a great number of psychic threads. I do not feel readers with strong feelings about magic, psychics, or religion will be comfortable with this book. I do think that probably the reader will be better off if they have read the first book, to get a full feel for the background of the physiology of people like Zach and Anna, as well as a better idea of who the recurring characters helping them out long-distance are. By and large, Beyond Fearless, with its action sequences, psychic melodrama, and colorful characters is a fun read that will keep people entertained even though they know immediately that it's bogus.

--Sarrah Knight


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