cover image To the Seventh Power

To the Seventh Power

Felice Picano. William Morrow & Company, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06332-0

Picano's psychic spy thriller has its strengths but plausibility is not among them. In 1969, Columbia University student Barry Brescia avoids the draft by taking a summer job with the CIA in Paris. He falls in love with 18-year-old Russian violinist Anna Kuragin, who, he's told later on, is the most important KGB agent in Europe. When she is reported to have died in an escape attempt, Barry tries to kill Alex Land, the CIA agent responsible for the bungled job. Seventeen years later, in California, Kyra, the daughter he didn't know existed, leads him to search out a still-living Anna and involves him in EDGE, a group of children with psychic powers. The very things that give these misfits confidence and identitythe exercise of their unique abilitiesplay into the hands of Barry's old nemesis Land. The story of the psychic children with their diverse talents and handicaps has potential, but various farfetched elements of the plot vitiate the narrative's credibility, and Picano's pedestrian prose is downright dull to read. (Feb.)