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Full Name: John Smith
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Other - Consultant

Creator: Christopher Farnsworth
Time Span: 2016 - 2017


John Smith is a private consultant.

He once worked for the CIA and it was that organization that, recognizing his incredible ability, "honed his skills until he was one of their most powerful operatives". But then he chose to leave the Agency and go off on his own. As we are told in a blurb for his first recorded adventure, he is "trying to keep the dark potentials of his gift in check-and himself out of trouble". He will have difficulties doing either.

"John Smith has a special gift that seems more like a curse: he can access other peoples thoughts. He hears the the songs stuck in their heads, their most private traumas and fears, the painful memories they can't let go." He has honed this ability to a deadly sharpness, well, once he able to drown out the avalanche of mundane thoughts we each are constantly popping inside our heads as we move through the day. If he needs to know something, he asks you - and even when you are so careful to not tell him, you invariably think it and then he has it as if it had come off your lips.

To make that very frightening fact even more terrifying, should you be having a conversation with him and there comes something he really wants you to pay attention to, he can "boost" the words - pushing them into your skull so you can see them for yourself. He cannot force you to do what he wants but he can sure make it apparent and forefront in your thoughts. And then there are a couple of other very, very nasty tricks he can do with your whole perception. Make trouble for him and it will not likely go your way.

When we meet him in his first recorded adventure, his opening statement to us tells so much about him and his ability as well as truths that are .. interesting. "I know what you're thinking. Most of the time, it's not impressive. Trust me." He goes on to give a good number of examples from the myriad of people he is passing on the street en route to just get a coffee and he is right. Most of our thoughts are of no consequence. But when they do matter and he wants to know them, as long as he is in the vicinity of you, he receives them.

Those skills are why the CIA wanted him and for a few years he was a very welcome part of their efforts; said efforts never getting any attention or notice since Langley was determined that be the case. It did not mind so much if some of its ESP and other paranormal experiments were massive failures and the brunt of a lot of jokes and ribbing as long as the real thing, the stuff that actually was successful, remained locked away in secret so they could continue to produce the desired results. Unfortunately, some of those results were not to Smith's liking and he said goodbye.

Now he is on his own but the type of work that he once did still comes around. At least he is getting paid a whole lot more for it now.

While Smith is in pretty good shape, his talents are mental and not physical. As he admits as a couple of very big, very strong men are about to cause him considerable pain, "I'm not a great fighter. This isn't false modesty. My instructors in hand-to-hand combat would have given me a B-minus on my best day." That lack of superbness is often not a factor, though, when you can read the mind and thus the intentions of your opponent. "Fortunately for me, it's almost impossible to hit a guy who can see a punch when it's still just a bad idea. I know every move an opponent is going to make before the nerve impulse reaches his muscles."

Handy - and scary - ability.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2016
Last Appearance:2017

1 Killfile Killfile
Written by Christopher Farnsworth
Copyright: 2016

"John Smith's latest client, billionaire software genius Everett Sloan, hires him to investigate a former employee - a tech whiz kid named Eli Preston - and search his thoughts for some very valuable intellectual property he’s stolen. Before John can probe Preston’s mind, his identity is compromised and he’s on a run for his life with Sloan’s young associate, Kelsey.
Hunted by shadowy enemies with deep resources and unknown motives, John and Kelsey must go off the grid. John knows their only hope for survival is using his powers to their fullest—even if means putting his own sanity at risk."
buy from Amazon

2 Flashmob Flashmob
Written by Christopher Farnsworth
Copyright: 2017

"Gifted troubleshooter John Smith must take down a shadowy figure who has weaponized the internet, using social media to put a price on the heads of his target." " 'Downvote' is an encrypted site on the 'dark net' that lists the names of celebrities and offers a hefty bounty for anyone who can kill them—unleashing an anonymous and deadly flashmob with a keystroke."
buy from Amazon


Many years ago I savored the deliciously spooky spy-vampire series by this author, Christopher Farnsworth, dealing with the ultra-dangerous Nathaniel Cade. I was hoping for some time that Mr. Farnsworth would resurrect (okay, admittedly bad choice there) Cade but except for a couple of short stories, no new Cade adventures.

However, I have been able to console my lack with this two-book series about a fellow with an amazing talent especially useful for a spy - reading minds. 

John Smith (yeah, I don't buy the name either) is a very interesting character and his adventures are a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there are just the two of them and it has been over a half decade since the last so... sigh!


My Grade: A-


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