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MOVE OVER EVE DALLAS...
After making headlines in mainstream fiction with Feeding Christine and Something Unpredictable, BARBARA CHEPAITIS reintroduces readers to wild-eyed futuristic tough girl Jaguar Addams.
Fans of J.D. Robb's futuristic heroine Lt. Eve Dallas will find a sleeker, sexier futuristic cop in Barbara Chepaitis' Jaguar Addams, a highly skilled empath of Mayan descent, who, instead of hunting the future's deadliest criminals (like Eve), sets out to rehabilitate them.
The series explores the concept that fear is the force of evil. To conquer it, Jaguar must enter the minds of imprisoned criminals and telepathically identify their fears, then force her subjects to confront their demons. The fourth book in the series, A Lunatic Fear, will be released from Wildside Press this month. The SF small press will also be republishing the previous series titles. (Book one, The Fear Principle, is also out in June).
Despite gritty scenes about rehabilitating deadly prisoners and the breath-stopping risks Chepaitis assigns her characters, the author's idea for the series is rooted in enlightenment, inspired by a Zen philosophy that teaches the opposite of love is not hate but fear. "When I thought about my experience with bad people, that notion made sense to me," Chepaitis says.
Perhaps more intriguing is the scientific merit Chepaitis, a former psychology major, uses to substantiate Jaguar's empathic, inner psyche journeys. "Humans don't integrate something they're afraid of," the author pronounces. "Fear is stored someplace else in the brain, so that other information can't affect or change it." It's Jaguar's job to locate this place and integrate the fears.
As the series opens 100 years in the future, technological advancements have made it possible to build cities on other planets. Jaguar, along with her supervisor, Alex, works on Planetoid 3, a replica of the major Earth cities, where the deadliest prisoners have been sent. Alex is also an empath, but he reads the energy emanating from objects and receives visions as an adept.
"Jaguar colors way outside the lines and runs with scissors," Chepaitis is fond of saying, and proving. In book four, A Lunatic Fear, she mortally wounds one one of the Three Death Sisters assigned to her care, all of whom were arrested for bizarre murders. Alex, meanwhile, "who also runs with scissors, but keeps them pointed down," disappears with a strange man connected to Jaguar's case, leaving Jaguar in fear for his life. With raised emotions, the characters find a way to briefly come together, after three books filled with taut sexual tension and one passionate kiss. "It's not when I had planned, but it's what they wanted," Chepaitis says. "I thought, okay guys, if you're determined to do it now, fine, but later, you'll be sorry."
While the future looks bright for tough-chick protagonists, Jaguar eludes being typed. Underneath her entertaining and naughty veneer ("At least," she said as she let her hand drop into [her prisoner's] lap, "I like to play with my food."), there's the softer, deeper facet she exudes as an empath. "Jaguar walks between worlds, crossing a lot of boundaries of consciousness. The language of those moments will be very different, like those moments of mystery, of life."
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