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Jumper by Steven Gould
Review by Andrea Johnson
Tor Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765357694
Date: 05 February 2008 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Davey can teleport. During times in his youth when he was afraid, he would suddenly wake up in the place where he felt safest: the library. After experimenting a few times, he learns he can teleport somewhere simply by concentrating on a location that he's been to before. A high school student with an abusive father, Davey knows he wants to get out, he just doesn't know where to go, or what to do. A few bus tickets later, Davey is in New York City, but without a driver's license or any other identification, how is he going to get a job or an apartment? Fulfilling the dreams of anyone who's seen a bank-job movie, Davey robs a bank, teleporting in and out. Not meaning to take more than he needs to survive, he accidentally takes just shy of a million dollars.

If you could teleport, and had a million dollars, what would you do?

Barely 18 and thus far having little happiness in his life, Davey takes full advantage of the situation -- a great place to live in New York City, jet setting all over the world and then memorizing the locations for future teleporting, great clothes, and finding the limits of his talents. With fun distractions like these, he can even occasionally forget about wondering if anyone else on earth can teleport, and his search for his estranged mother.

After meeting Millie and starting a relationship with her, Davey is torn -- does he tell his new love about his power? How much will he let her into his life?

Davey does finally find his mother, who is overjoyed to see him. It's only a few days later that Davey's mother is killed during a terrorist hijacking of an airplane. Now the action really begins. Remember, this book was originally written in 1992, before the World Trade Center, before Homeland Security, before much of the needed security we currently have in place existed.

Out for revenge, Davey searches for the terrorists responsible for his mother's death. His worldly travels are paying off -- now he can teleport to any airport in the world that he's been to, to confront any terrorists who may be waiting on the tarmac for their demands to be met. A single glance into the window of the jet, and Davey is able to teleport onto the plane, to take care of the bad guys. For an angry young man out for revenge, an obvious solution would be violence. But Davey has something more unique up his sleeve, and it involves teleporting, of course!

After sightings are reported at multiple airports of someone disappearing into thin air, the U.S. Government is on Davey's trail, with questions of their own.

On the run from the government, Davey tries to keep his relationship with Millie together, but she knows he's keeping something from her. Davey occasionally heads home to Ohio to get what comfort he can out of visiting his home town. One time, when he teleports directly into his old bedroom, a government spook is waiting for him.

Davey starts out an angry, scared, na´ve young man who knows little of the world around him and how he fits into it. As the novel progresses, he is faced not only with some difficult emotional decisions, but that phrase we all know from Spiderman, "With great powers comes great responsibility". Davey has the power to bring injury and death to anyone he chooses. When his temper gets the best of him, what will he do?

Although it had a slow start, Jumper satisfies with an action-packed climax involving beating terrorists at their own game and leaving the G-men behind to watch in wonder. I recommend Steven Gould's Jumper to fans of James Rollins or John Case, or any reader who enjoys a coming-of-age story mixed with a good ol' globe-trotting adventure.

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