Monday, July 31, 2017

Series Review: Extrasensory Agents

Extrasensory Agents
by Leslie Parrish (Leslie A. Kelly)
Book #1: Cold Sight | Goodreads | Rating:  3.0 Stars -- Previously Reviewed
Book #2: Cold Touch | Goodreads | Rating:  3.0 Stars
Book #3: Cold Memory | Goodreads | Rating:  3.0 stars

Average Series Rating:  3.0 stars

First of all, this only bugs me a little after staring at the covers and realizing that they're not of the same set.  Cold Sight and Cold Touch were written a few years prior to Cold Memory (six or seven years, I think), and if you go to the Amazon pages, the first two books have new book cover illustrations that are a bit more cohesive with the newest book.  The covers I have chosen to display for the first two books are from the original paperbacks.

HOWEVER, unless you really care to look, you don't really notice the differences, aside from where the series' title is situated, the font type, and the author's name (Leslie Kelly used to write under the pseudonym 'Leslie Parrish' for her romantic suspense novels, but has recently chosen to simply add an 'A.' to her name for this genre instead.).

Otherwise, it's a cover illustration of a person standing in front of a dark background.  So... no biggie... if I don't stare at it for too long, because it will probably, eventually bug me into just changing out the cover illustrations so they all look like they're from the same set...

In fact, here you go:

I can't really say which covers I like better, or if there really is much of a difference aside from the cover models.  But I'm anal retentive enough to care about aesthetics on my blog.

Anyway....  Onto the actual review...

To be fair, I don't know if this series is finished yet or not (Leslie Kelly's author's note at the end of Cold Memory promises more books, but we'll see), so the average series rating is only for these first three books.  Almost two years ago, I stumbled upon Leslie Parrish's Extrasensory Agents and found the concept very intriguing.  But there hadn't been word on the continuing of this series, so I thought it was finished as a duology, even though there's room enough for even more expansion into this world--there are still other characters who have great potential for story.

About two or three months before the publication of the third book, Cold Memory, I stumbled across its existence and was quite pleased.

This series is getting a series review because I just never got around to reviewing Cold Touch.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize I'd reviewed the first book, Cold Sight, until I randomly fell onto its Goodreads book page and found that I'd written a few sentences about it.  You can click on the above link to see the original review, transferred to this blog.

Then the publication of Cold Memory was announced, and suddenly the idea of an individual review of Cold Sight, a review of Cold Touch as part of a bundle of other book highlights, and a subsequent, possible individual review of Cold Memory sort of felt unbalanced.  (Don't ask, my mind works in ways that I will NEVER understand myself, so everyone else need not try.)

Long story short, I really still don't have much to say about these books individually.  Once again, the concept of a group of psychic investigators holds much potential, and as many will know, is one type of plot device that I absolutely love!

Cold Sight was already reviewed, and had been really good if I could remember anything about it without consulting my previously written thoughts--again, see the link above.  If I get a chance, or even if, maybe this book is released as an audio, I might reread it.  According to Kelly's author note at the end of Cold Memory, both Cold Sight and Cold Touch were edited and re-released with some new short story content at the end of each book.  Even though these books only netted a mediocre 3-Star rating from me, I'm curious enough to go back and see what might have changed... if I even remember what was in the original to begin with.

Aiden McConnell is a straight-up psychic, is how his teammates describe him; and he was burned by the media and law enforcement on his last case, prior to the beginning of this book.  He's on sabbatical to recover his own peace of mind until investigative reporter Lexie Nolan stumbles into his life with a plea to help her uncover what she believes to be a serial killer targeting teenage girls.  No one in town believes her, so she turns to Aiden as a last resort.

As I recall, the pairing was a great working team, and I also loved that, while an investigative reporter, Lexie truly feels that something sinister is going on.  She's more interested in trying to save the teenagers than getting her next big story, because if what she suspects is true, then another girl will disappear soon.  Although since I really don't remember a whole lot about this book other than that I enjoyed, it, I'll leave my thoughts here for now.

Cold Touch was an enjoyable, dark and gritty read with a character who has an interesting, if depressing psychic ability--Olivia can touch a dead body and experience the last few moments of that victim's life before death.  So if said victim had been murdered, then Olivia will experience that exact murder.  Needless to say, it's obviously a trying skill to have--to die multiple times, in multiple ways, for the sake of investigating the truth of someone's death.

While I feel like Olivia could live without this kind of skill, and feel bad for her, I didn't like the way Detective Gabe Cooper goes about trying to tell her what she needs to do with her life.  I get that he's concerned about her mental health, but it's none of his business how she lives her life.  I found him a bit of a hypocrite and a jackass, even if I DID like Olivia, as well as the rest of her psychic team.

This particular story got very personal, as it also delves into some of Olivia's childhood, specifically a time when she'd been kidnapped, and would have died if not for a young boy whom she believes risked his life to save her.  And, once again, this book, much like the first, wasn't all that memorable, even if it was quite enjoyable when I read it.

Cold Memory is a study in conflicted feelings for me.  As enjoyable as the book was, and as much as I liked our main characters, the few things that stood out about this book included how bloody and gory the murders were, and how many grammatical errors and typos I found scattered throughout the book.  I'm not intentionally picky about typos--they happen and I usually ignore them... until they become abundant enough for me to notice and start caring.  Because this is a finished product, and I expect a more complete finished product.

But this is Leslie Kelly, and I'm willing to overlook some of these errors in publishing.  Because at least the book was still quite enjoyable, even if a little bloody and gory--goodness the murders in this book were bloody and gory.

Secondly, I found the mystery pretty predictable once the ball got rolling.  Members of a carnival community start dying--very gruesome deaths--and the killer decided to leave behind a vague clue at the first crime scene: a black feather.  Somehow, it gets missed, so the killer takes pains to point out that this piece of evidence got missed.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Gypsy Bell and eXtreme Investigations agent Mick Tanner have teamed up to find out who would want to kill an old man who was dying of cancer.  And as they continue their investigation, a few dark underbelly secrets of the carnival start to surface.

I hate to say that this book was predictable because of how obvious our author makes the clues; but it's true.  Specifically, a lot of the clues come from our killer, himself, via his POV of the book narration.  Because as soon as the killer gets his first scene, I had pretty much figured out who he was and why he was killing, even if there was a slight twist that, while I didn't really guess, I wasn't surprised about.

The romantic relationship between Gypsy and Mick was sweet and nice, if a little too quickly progressed.  The "I love yous" seemed a bit premature, yes, even after all they went through.  Though it helps that they were attracted to each other first, and completely honest with each other throughout their interactions about their feelings, and also that they knew each other as kids.  So I have little complaints about the romance, but it DID feel kind of bland.

Finally, the conclusion felt a little loose.  The murder mystery was solved, but felt a little forced.  Other loose ends weren't really tied together.  I'm not sure how I feel about the open-ended-ness of tangential story lines, such as the ordeal between Mick and his grandfather--maybe it was never meant to be resolved, despite the fact that there might have been a hint that something could potentially happen.

Nonetheless, this series has a great concept, and Kelly's writing can be enjoyable.  The truth is, I really DO look forward to the next book, and will hope that we get Derek's story first.  Because, the truth of the matter is, Julia's story is going to be a hard one for Kelly to create.

What I DID find a little disappointing, however, was the outcome of a certain character in Cold Memory that I hadn't been expecting, if mainly because of the build up Kelly gave to said character, that gave great potential for a future book.  A pity, that one.


Roll #34:  Last roll!
Cold Memory was read for this game space
--the book involves a carnival.

Page Count:  260
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $274.00

No comments:

Post a Comment