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Singularity by Steven James
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When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret--one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet.

A good book by an excellent author. I prefer his Patrick Bowers series, and even Placebo the predecessor to this book. Although not an unreasonable series, this book went a bit beyond believability as to the "aliens" and the premise that "regular folks" could quite easily obtain access to top secret black ops sites and information. So...3 stars. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
All in all, not as enjoyable as the first book in the series. Noticably Christian.

I am an atheist, a skeptic, and a former amateur magician. I requested to receive a free review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review, after greatly enjoying the first book in the series, PLACEBO, and wanting to find out what happened next. I was also sent a New Releases catalog wherein I found, to my surprise, that the series is published by Revell "Practical books that would help bring the Christian faith to everyday life", a division of the [Evangelical Christian] Baker Publishing Group. I didn't suspect that when I read the first volume, and it didn't bother me. In this second volume, it does, a bit. Your milage may differ. My guess is that the story arc of the series will bring the main character from atheist to saved. His now-girlfriend (who doesn't believe in sex before marriage, but slums with prostitutes just like Jesus did…) is Christian, a colleague home-schools her genius kids, and there is a slightly more than 2pp. church sermon (yes, literally) almost 2/3rds of the way through, and the copyright page notes that scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible. It is curious that in Part VII: section "Outside the Box" p.329 the home-schooling mother notes of today's writers "You just can't…be heavy-handed and didactic". Hmm. There's a soupçon of not particularly deep metaphysics in this book, about "strong AI, machines making decisions like humans do, all of that. What makes humans different from machines: Consciousness? Self-awareness? Emotional intelligence? Can machines ever be taught to love? How to program them to be moral—it's a lot to, well…consider.…[T]o create truly 'human machines,' they'd need to be able to worship or rebel against their creators."…"But what kind of a creator would ever be bold enough to give his creation free will and the opportunity to kill him off if they chose to?" "The real one[.]" The main thrust of this technothriller is about the possibility of creating unmanned aerial drones that could make their own decisions about targeting and destroying people, and also about fighting senescence, to create immortality, possibly by downloading personalities into computers. And if you can buy that one, I have a bridge I'd like you to buy. I should also mention that some parts are quite gruesome, but if you've already read the first book, you might have guessed that. ( )
  Wordwizardw | Dec 9, 2013 |
This is definitely not a book I would read just before going to bed, as my adrenaline would keep me awake, even if my mind would not. What is fiction and what is reality in this highly suspenseful story? Even when my mind would tell me this is not reality, this is not possible, it is only imagination, not actually happening in our world today, another part of me would wonder, if not, then how was Steven able to describe it so vividly that it seems real? Add magic and a talented magician to the mix, and you need to follow carefully to understand what is going on and what is truth. An artificial arm that moves seemingly on its own? And what great good that could mean for quadrapelgics? But, the evil and wickedness that could accompany greed is protrayed just as vividly, and though we know that ultimately good will prevail, how much evil will we see before that comes?
Singularity is not for the casual reader, even though friendships are a big part of the theme.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". ( )
  mbarkman | Nov 11, 2013 |
Jevin Banks is a famous illusionist and makes his home in Las Vegas. He is on location with his friend, fellow illusionist, Emilio Beningo when the unthinkable happens. Emilio is in the middle of performing an illusion when he is murdered. Jevin knows who the killer is and pursues him. Jevin doesn’t give up and even when he gets back to the United States, he continues to pursue his own investigation in the murder as law enforcement seems unwilling to do anything. With his girlfriend, Charlene, and best friend, Xavier Wray along with colleague Fionna McClury and her four children, Jevin uncovers much more than murder. He performs his top-rated show at a first class hotel and narrowly escapes serious injury. The owner of the hotel, billionaire Clive Fridell, is aware of the almost injury and wants Jevin to cancel a show to give him time to focus.
Someone has hired Emilio’s killer. Is it Akinsanya, Jevin’s nemesis from Placebo? What is actually going on at the Air Force Base at Groom Lake? Does Area 51 actually exist? Xavier, Jevin’s special effects man and best friend is a fount of knowledge on government conspiracy plots and has a truckload of information. Soon they discover a link between Emilio and the Groom Lake facility. What does young Tim at Fuller Medical Center have to do with Emilio? While trying to discover the answers, Jevin meets Solomon, a very bad guy involved in prostitution as well as other unsavory business dealings. He respects Jevin’s search for justice and helps him out with some information.
While there is nonstop action and thrills as with any Steven James book, I didn’t care for a few of the sexual references or situations (no specific details are given); thus the 4-star rating instead of 5-star rating. Otherwise, the story raises some very interesting questions about life and how it is changing with the addition of artificial intelligence, and if anyone has the right to put himself in the position of God. The amount of research the author did into this topic as well as illusions and magic is phenomenal. This story is not for the weak of heart as the tension is ratcheted up with every chapter. There is a bit of gruesomeness as well, so be prepared. I enjoyed the timeline employed as it keeps readers on the edge of their seat to see if the protagonist can come to the rescue in time. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Nov 8, 2013 |
Bestselling author Steven James is a name you can rely on when it comes to edge of the seat, fast-paced thriller. His books have always been exciting, fresh, innovative, smart and well-researched. Book after book, thriller after thriller, he has set a lofty standard in a genre of his choice only he can live up to. He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, three Christy Awards, and as a finalist for an International Thriller Award.

Following the success of the Special Agent Patrick Bowers Files series over a number of years, he launched the Jevin Banks series with the release of Placebo exactly a year ago, November 1, 2012. The second installment in the series, Singularity, is about illusionist Jevin Banks heading to the Philippines to help a friend perform a difficult stunt. But things went wrong, and his friend is killed. Certain that his death was not an accident, Jevin Banks took it upon himself to unravel the whole mystery of his death.

As Jevin pursues his leads, he is drawn into a web of conspiracy that could change the face of humanity. He uncovers a top-secret program that includes drone bombers controlled by human mind, and the involvement of Rixo Tray Pharmaceuticals. The deeper he digs, more terrifying secrets tumbled out. It seems so surreal, like the tricks he performed, but they are real, scary and frightening, not the work of a harmless illusionist. He uncovers the diabolical scheme of a few mad people who are willing to sacrifice lives as long as it is not theirs.

Like the illusionist in the story Steven James weaves a fascinating and thrilling spell of a plot, raising the tempo with the turn of each page. A techno-thriller with a Christian twist, Singularity is riveting story which will leave fans of Steven James clamoring for more. ( )
  khamneithang | Nov 6, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800734262, Paperback)

When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret--one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet.

Bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the second riveting book in The Jevin Banks Experience. Readers will devour this scientific thriller, flipping pages late into the night until the final shocking page.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret-- one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet....… (more)

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