The Sensitives

Herbert Burkholz, Author
Herbert Burkholz, Author Atheneum Books $18.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-689-11842-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Burkholz (The Death Freak has an idea or two on uniting spying with parapsychology, and when he keeps his story noirish and lean, he makes a potentially sappy theme fascinating. The ""sensitives'' are bright adolescents and young adults with a useful but limited ability to read people's thoughts and communicate wordlessly with each other. As soon as they are found, they're brought to a special center in Washington, run by kindly Pop Mickelson, and trained for intelligence work. But the condition that blesses them is also their curse: Rauschner's Syndrome results in death by the age of 32. One of the sensitives, ace agent Ben Slade, has a pivotal role, in a race between the superpowers for a new computer component. Interpolated in the account of his disillusionment with the dirty tricks of the intelligence business are the international adventures of his chums, who stick together like a cliquey group of honors students. The mixture makes the narrative somewhat erratic in pace and provides some too-easy thrills, but when Burkholz avoids the temptation to write a superman story and communicates Slade's ruefulness and emotional pain, his novel is absorbing. (July 8)
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