Chris is the son of well-known psychic, Madam Melina. After his mother’s stroke, Chris is left unemployed, caring for her and unable to keep the shop from which she ran her unconventional business. Chris has always been more than happy to ignore his genetic links to his mother’s psychic abilities until the day that she sends him to deliver a cryptic warning to Angelica Whitman, Chris’ friend and a regular customer of Madam Melina. Angie accepts the message more calmly than Chris anticipated and at the same time offers Chris a job at her funfair-themed club, Carnival W, as a psychic. Chris accepts the position for financial reasons, but is hesitant to be regularly associating with Angie’s brother, Jack, with whom Chris had a brief but passionate dalliance years previously.
Jack’s skepticism about Chris’ talent lessens as the relationship between them intensifies and the lives of Jack, Chris, and Angie become further entwined by the threat of what first appears to be a stalker, but who is actually someone far more dangerous and intent on not only destroying the lives of the Whitmans, but Chris as well.
Extrasensual Perception was like a bowl of soup on a cold day — comforting and extremely satisfying. Rayna Vause’s talent for writing is obvious as I found myself totally engrossed in the story. Not only does Vause increase the level of danger that the characters are in, but also the amount of sexual tension between Chris and Jack goes from cool to sizzling!
Vause has cleverly combined the setting of her story with the use of Chris’ psychic abilities. Extrasensual Perception takes place in an “ordinary” contemporary world, but the patrons of Carnival W are given the opportunity to leave their “normal” at the door of the club and enjoy a unique and magical experience. This is also what Vause asks her reader to do: suspend their disbelief and mistrust and just savor her story. I certainly did this, not even questioning the fact that I do not usually acknowledge the existence of psychics and would never visit one, but I liked Chris and had faith in him.
Vause is very clever in the way that she develops the suspense in Extrasensual Perception and even when the identity of the perpetrator is revealed, the events that follow are gripping enough to encourage the reader to the end. It is important that though both Jack and Angie are the targets, Chris becomes involved because of his premonitions and psychic sense. I think he is the character I became most attached to and I was then concerned for his safety.
I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters in Extrasensual Perception. There is Chris’ relationship with his mother, which is close and though he feels protective of her because of her stroke, she naturally gives in to her abilities to watch out for him and it is her initial warning that is the starting point for the events in the story. Obviously, there is also both Jack and Chris’ relationships with Angie. She is a strong and exuberant personality and does not like to accept help. However, she does from Chris because she trusts his abilities and also grudgingly from Jack because of their dependency on each other, which we understand more as the story progresses.
Chris and Jack’s romance feels inevitable, but this is because of their previous association that has left an imprint upon them both. Vause allows both Jack and Chris to evolve as they become closer, with Chris’ confidence and Jack’s softness as a contrast to his hard businessman persona. There is an intimacy and passion between Jack and Chris that goes beyond physicality, but the only reservation I had about the story was that both sex scenes took place after Chris and Jack were released from the hospital. I appreciated their need for comfort, but I was doubtful whether they would feel up to this intimacy, never mind the actual logistics of the act! However, it does seem that Vause also recognizes this as Chris comments, “You know, we really should try this one day when we are both healthy.”
Extrasensual Perception is an exciting and original novel and I was surprised to discover that it was 208 pages as I easily read it in one sitting. I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy hot m/m romances with substance.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.