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Reflex    by Steven Gould order for
by Steven Gould
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This SF thriller is a sequel to Jumper, which I somehow missed and must now locate. Steven Gould also wrote Helm (one of my all-time SF favorites), and Blind Waves.

As this story opens, Davy Rice ('the world's only teleport') is based in Oklahoma with his psychologist wife, Millie Harrison-Rice. Davy takes on teleportation assignments for the National Security Agency, in between flitting around the world with Millie for pastries in New York City, springtime in Paris, and solitude at their Texas cliff cave (which can only be easily reached by teleporting). Life is good except that Millie is beginning to feel like 'an appendage'. Also, she wants kids and Davy, product of an abusive childhood, doesn't feel ready.

Then Davy is kidnapped, operated on, and steadily, and viciously conditioned to do his captors' will. He's punished for the smallest disobedience and will die messily if he jumps away from his captors' machines. He fights back in small ways. In the meantime, in the process of getting out of their cliff refuge, Millie has discovered that Davy's not the only 'jumper' in the family. With the assistance of street people (whom Davy had encountered), and with both help and hindrance from the NSA, Millie gradually picks up her husband's trail.

As Davy tries to extract himself from constraints that would have overwhelmed Houdini (not to mention the challenge of fending off a very nasty femme fatale) and painfully develops his 'twinning' talent, Millie plays Jane Bond to get him back. Toss in precognitive dreams and Mexican (Lacandon) mythology, and you have an action-packed SF thriller with an engaging depth of characterization, and a fascinating premise. Don't miss this series.

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