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Shadow Game    by Christine Feehan order for
Shadow Game
by Christine Feehan
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2003 (2003)

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*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

There's been plenty of speculation and even a good number of books and case studies written about certain superpowers, both past and present, that may or may not have developed 'psychic soldiers'. Christine Feehan, who's built a strong following with her immensely popular Carpathian vampire series, now steps out of that world and presents Shadow Game, her new romantic suspense that centers on just such a group of futuristic warriors.

Captain Ryland Miller and a handful of other elite soldiers, all of whom have psychic ability, have volunteered for a secret government experiment in which their unique talents are to be further enhanced and used as a military weapon. After months in isolation, the soldiers are dying one by one. Ryland has every intention of getting himself and the other survivors out of the secret underground facility before any more of them are carried out in black body bags. The only one who can help is brilliant scientist, Lily Whitney, whose father is the head of the 'classified' experiment. When Peter Whitney is murdered, it's up to Lily (who is also psychic) to discover who's trying to bury her father's work -- at any cost.

Feehan has come up with a nifty premise in Shadow Game -- indeed it was the concept of psychic soldiers that had me picking up the book in the first place. But rather than treating the story like the romantic thriller that the publisher has labeled it, her book reads more like an overblown gothic romance. Lily seems to land herself in peril at every turn as she tries to single-handedly follow the trail of her father's killers, and then barely manages to escape. This is not the mark of a smart modern heroine. Various cuts, bruises and concussions later, Ryland appears at her side to soothe and worry over her, and then take her to bed.

After one too many gratuitous sex scenes I found myself flipping pages and then entire chapters wondering if anything thrilling was going to happen before the end of the book. There were some bright spots in Shadow Game -- Ryland's dynamic with his fellow captives is well done and I found myself wanting to learn more about their back stories. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of the secondaries re-appear in future books. Let's just hope the author uses leaner prose and more of a plot if they do. Feehan's die-hard fans will love Shadow Game, but those of you picking up her work for the first time will be disappointed.

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