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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
The brain is a very complex part of the human body, and in Tuning In by Richard H Roberts, the brain of Jon Gunnarson plays a very important role. Jon is an empath with a twist; in his therapy sessions, he not only feels what his clients are feeling, but he can take on their emotions and make them feel better, e.g. by taking on all their anger or sadness. When a client makes him take on something quite different, Jon decides he needs to find a way to disconnect from his special talent. He knows that his friend Neema in Bhutan would be able to help him, but visa restrictions for that country and his lack of funds mean that he can't afford to just go there. As luck would have it, he finds an ad in which a company asks for psychics willing to travel to Bhutan to work on a telepathy app. He gets the job, travels to Bhutan and meets the team. A special connection ignites between him and Ella; a connection that will lead to the development of an app that can really let people read other people's minds. Venn, the man behind the app project, is in a rush to put it on the market, to make as much money as possible before the FBI, which wants him for another issue, gets to him. And then he learns that Jon also has a way to plant thoughts into other people's heads. He wants that secret, and he will not stop until he gets his way.
Tuning In by Richard H Roberts is a book that draws you in very quickly. The characters all make sense, apart from Lex, whom I found very weird and not at all like Lara Croft (whom she tries to emulate), but I guess that's the point. I found it interesting to see how little respect people had for others' privacy once they learned how to tune into others' minds. Jon eventually even ended up having to see his own thoughts being shared by a Twitter account that had been created just to let the whole world know what went through his head! In a way, the book is about how precious privacy and your own mind truly are. It does make you think. After all, on one hand, we have all sometimes wished we could read other people's minds. But would we in turn want to give up our own privacy and have our minds invaded by total strangers?
Richard H Roberts managed to find the perfect balance for his book when it comes to the pacing of the plot; it's neither too slow nor too fast. So you don't get overwhelmed by too many things happening at once, but you also don't end up being bored by endless descriptions or endless events that go on and on and on. The author knows when to leave things up to the reader's imagination, and when to add a few more details. For me, it was a very enjoyable, thought-provoking read with a sprinkle of action, a little helping of romance, and a good chunk of suspense. The book has an ending that does not leave you hanging, but also promises that there is more to come.