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Beyond Belief Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801156
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,165,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Incredible events that beg a supernatural explanation challenge the deeply ingrained skepticism of Atlanta police detective Joe Bailey in this crafty paranormal crime thriller. A former stage magician who debunks swindling spirit mediums, psychic surgeons and similar charlatans, Bailey nicknamed the "Spirit Basher" has his work cut out for him in trying to solve the grisly death of a parapsychology professor impaled midway up the wall of his apartment by a sculpture too heavy for any person to lift. He refuses to believe that moody eight-year-old Jesse Randall, a supposed psychic prodigy, may have unintentionally murdered the man by unleashing an unconscious "shadow storm" during sleep. But while Joe is determined to prove the boy a con artist, others are not so dismissive, among them a psychopathic killer convinced that Jesse is the "Child of Light" prophesied by his millennialist cult. Though Johansen (The Answer Man) offers half-hearted psychological rationales for some characters' motives, he mostly keeps the story to its surface, which he polishes brilliantly to allow for the collision of nonstop, tricky plot complications, including a mysterious money laundering scheme by the dead prof, Joe's romance with a medium he's investigating and Jesse's helicopter abduction from a church service by armed assailants. Many, but not all, of the supernatural scams are explained by the novel's end, and readers will have fun trying to keep up with the tale's rapid pace and Johansen's nimble sleight-of-hand. (Apr. 10)101.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A professor of parapsychology is found murdered, the body displayed halfway up the wall in his study, impaled by a sculpture. Detective Joe Bailey, a former magician and now a member of the Atlanta Police Department's bunco squad, who scouts out scams by phony psychics, is called in to ferret out the real m.o. behind what seems to be an otherworldly murder. The chief suspect, according to the dead prof's girlfriend, is an eight-year-old boy with telekinetic powers. The ever-skeptical Bailey (magic taught him there's an explanation for everything) finds his worldview shaken and his life endangered as unaccountable things start happening around him. The moves of a serial killer in Atlanta who has appointed himself the eight-year-old boy's guardian heighten the suspense. Johansen, who won an Edgar for The Answer Man (1999), introduces another tough-guy hero and a cast of off-kilter characters in an absolute stunner of a thriller. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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I will read the other books he has written.
DJG
Characters in this book are very interesting and you want to keep reading to see how their life is evolving.
LOVES COFFEE
Strong in action, the characters are multi dimensional and interesting.
Kevin Tipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a young man, Joe Bailey was a professional magician who opened many Las Vegas shows with his performance. Now he works as a detective on the "Bunko" squad with his moniker being the "Spirit Basher" because he is known for debunking phony mediums and psychics who prey on society. Joe firmly believes that there are no paranormal powers and his record of unveiling frauds is near 100 per cent.
Joe is assigned to homicide when a huge sculpture with spikes fell and killed Dr. Robert Nelson, chair of the Landwyn University parapsychology department. His girlfriend claims that one of Joe's subjects, eight-year old Jessie Randall killed him by using telekinesis powers. He rejects the notion of his mental prowess, but admits that every time he angers him strange things occur. Other people also show interest in Jessie, who becomes a target for kidnappers. To divert Joe from the case, attempts to hurt his daughter are made. Before using all his energies to find Jessie, Joe sends his child to a place of safety.
Edgar award winning Roy Johansen (see THE ANSWER MAN) has written an exhilarating police procedural that has more action per page than most novels have in several chapters. The heroine is a genuinely nice person who readers will like and admire. The cleverly designed plot hits its climax just at the point when all the subplots brilliantly converge. BEYOND BELIEF is one terrific ride into a shadowy realm where things never are quite what they seem.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By pbdiv on June 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A baffling conundrum for the lead character, who's life's work is based on logic and the appearance of logic, keeps the reader turning pages and putting off responsibilities in order to read the next page... and the next.
A great plot with interesting, true-to-life characters make the plot twists convincing and intriguing. Reading accurate portrayals of familiar places in my hometown makes it even more fun. The fantastic finish will make your jaw drop!
This novel is a great follow up to "The Answer Man", and I eagerly await more from Mr. Johansen and the characters in "Beyond Belief".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on January 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes when a first time author wins awards, the second book is not as good. It seems like the confirmation and praise goes to the head and the author never lives up to the true potential that was shown in the first work. Roy Johansen won an Edgar a few years back for The Answer Man. In that novel, Ken Parker runs a one man polygraph firm and is solicited to help a suspected embezzler to beat the polygraph. He accepts the job, with some misgivings and then his entire life begins to fall apart. While it is a pretty good read, this novel is so much better.
Beyond Belief opens with Joe Bailey. He works for the Atlanta Police Department and has been tagged with the nickname "Spirit Basher." Joe works the magician cons where he goes after the phony psychics and spiritualists that prey on people. Since Joe used to be a professional magician, he is pretty good at scouting out the fakers. But, usually he does not have to deal with murder.
One night, he is called out to investigate the murder of Dr. Robert Nelson. Dr. Nelson ran the parapsychology program at Landwyn University. Dr. Nelson searched for the paranormal and Joe was involved in the program as well, in the job of exposing the fakers. The two did not get along, but that isn't the issue at this point.
What is the issue is that Dr. Nelson has been found dead in his home. Not just dead, but impaled at the top of one wall by a sculpture of chrome spikes that no one could have lifted. But he is hanging there, clearly dead, and Dr. Nelson's girlfriend is convinced she knows exactly who did it. Jesse Randall, Dr. Nelson's latest and very spectacular find.
Jesse seems to have the ability to move objects with his mind. Nelson was studying Jesse and Jesse was fed up with being the object of curiosity.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading this book and it is great.
I had never heard of the author before and I only bought the book because it looked interesting.
I'm really glad I did. I would sit and read it for a half hour every day. Today I just kept reading because I really wanted to see how it ended. Very enjoyable. It keeps you interested all through the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Ringland on April 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Beyond Belief" involves a murder investigation by a spiritualist debunker. Like Johansen's "Answer Man," this book has a clever entrance to the world of the gumshoe. Former magician and current Atlanta police detective Joe Bailey takes cases where he can expose the tricksters and con artists behind black magic and sleight of hand.
His latest case involves a crime apparently the work of an innocent child with other worldly powers. And, believe me, you will not see the resolution coming. Throw in a healthy dose of an ambulance chasing attorney, skeptical police officers, the FBI, psychic frauds, cult fanatics, drug traffickers, hit men, and a mysterious billionaire and you have the makings for the perfect summer read. There's also a very subtly Hitchcock reference for readers familiar with a particular Atlanta monument. Here's to hoping we haven't seen the last of detective Joe Bailey!
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