by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Divine Intervention by Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a cracking good read that kept me engrossed until the end. It is a paranormal crime novel with a special set of investigators gifted with psychic abilities, known as Psychic Skills Investigators or PSI’s. The title, “Divine Intervention”, despite the expectations it might raise in the reader’s mind, does not refer to some mystical dimension to the story or to the investigators’ special gifts. There is no particular spiritual subtext to this story, unlike First Grave on the Right, which I reviewed some time ago. In fact, “Divine” refers to Matthew Divine, the director of a Canadian complex known as the Enviro-Safe Research Facility that both trains and employs psychics in police detection. This is what made the novel really interesting and original to me, it’s no-nonsense approach to psychic abilities, treating them as something ‘natural’ and unsurprising, no matter how much they might disconcert the uninitiated. In this subtle way, Tardif has made her own small contribution to breaking through the outmoded scientific paradigm that has been with us since Newton. When ‘minds’ are connected beyond the body and the five senses, then ‘clearly’ the brain is not the origin of consciousness. The situation is really the reverse, the brain acts as a transmitter or conduit for an energy field that both transcends and unites individuals. This is unquestionably a pointer to a spiritual dimension, but Tardif wisely does not make too much of this or she would spoil the fun of this very entertaining crime mystery. Psychic abilities are simply ‘there’ as a natural part of life, there is nothing particularly ‘supernatural’ about them. As the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung remarked in the 1930’s, Western culture is undergoing a shift away from the rational mode and into what he termed the “psychic phase’ of it’s evolution, and one sign of this would be an increasing openness to the reality of psychic gifts – accompanied by a ferocious backlash as skeptics resisted this shift.