Extraordinary Powers
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Extraordinary Powers

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  435 ratings  ·  34 reviews
For Ben Ellison, his job with a prestigious law firm is a safe haven from the espionage world that almost killed him. But when the director of the CIA is killed, Ben's old employers want him back...

Not only must Ben track down the killers, but also a multi-million dollar fortune in gold, spirited out of Russia in the last days of the Soviet Union.
Published (first published 1993)
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L.A. Starks
This book was published in 1993; both technology and world events have changed mightily since then. However, Finder pours it on in an action-filled plot with plenty of insight into both the world of spies and the world of the heart.

Ironically, in a time of concern over NSA and Google Glass privacy, the motivating theme of this 20-year-old book--what if you could read the thoughts of others?--is hands-down relevant in ways the author might not have expected.

Without giving any spoilers, Finder has...more
Jane Stewart
I couldn’t take it. Plodding. Boring. I read half and stopped.

It’s hard to explain what was wrong. Part of the problem was too much internal pondering. Ben is thinking what’s going on? Is it this? Is it that? I did enjoy a few scenes where Ben used his mind-reading power. But the rest was too dull to keep me interested.

The author wrote some excellent books later like “Paranoia.” This was his third novel.

The audiobook narrator Christopher Burns was ok, but I didn’t have a good feeling about him....more
Nick Brett
Interesting one this, a spy thriller with a difference but also slightly dated.

Ex- CIA spook is trying his hand at being a lawyer when his father in law (head of the CIA) is murdered and he is dragged back into the CIA to root out the truth. By way of a complication he is given a treatment that allows him to read people’s minds…
The theme here is the fall of Russia at the end of the cold war and the growth of Germany as a key power in Europe. A group within the CIA have been manipulating the stoc...more
Scott Parsons
A slighted dated spy novel from the the early 1990s. Ben Ellison quit the CIA when his first wife was killed by the CIA.Years later his second wife Molly is the daughter of the Director of the CIA who has just been assassinated. Ben is approached by a high ranking CIA operative who wants Ben to investigate what happened to his father-in-law Sinclair. Ben, a patent lawyer, is reluctant to get involved. Molly is scared about him rejoining the CIA but after some discussion they agree he will take o...more
Feb 21, 2014 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Political thriller junkies

I've read a few of Joseph Finder's novels before, but like a lot of authors, the early stuff seems to be the best. It's certainly true of Stuart Woods and even Nelson DeMille's early books were over the top. I will say that the storyline of Extraordinary Powers is incredible and will keep your interest tuned throughout the read. As with a few others, I find Finder's willingness to incorporate sex into his story very refreshing, as it gives the book a feel of real...more
Larry Page
One of Finder's early books. It may be not as polished as his later works, as others have said, but for me it was a throughly enjoyable read. It deals with a breakdown in the undercover agents of the US and Russia following the collapse the Soviet Union. Although the premise is quite implausible, it still grabs your attention and makes it difficult to put down. Nice unexpected twist at the end.
Karen Wenz
Loved this book. Read it for the first time in 1994 and still remember how great it was. The entire time I was reading it, I envisioned it as a film, starring Michael Douglas as Ben Ellison, and Max von Sydow as Harrison Sinclair. Still think it would make a great film. They've made films of other Joseph Finder books, but this book remains my favorite of all his books I've read so far. Film....soon...please....and hope it's cast well.
Great story and keeps the reader on the edge of their seats as they try to identify whose side the characters are on and deciphering the good guys from the bad guys. Ben's father-in-law is killed in a traffic accident. However Harrison was the director of the CIA so was it really an accident? Ben's life is suddenly turned upside down by seemingly bizarre events that lead Ben to think about taking a job that will open up the doors to his old life. Once Ben is on the trail of finding out what real...more
May 27, 2010 Mary rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: Tim
This book contained a significant amount of information that I skimmed through, but I can see how others might have found it interesting and useful to the story. I liked the twist of having the CIA agent who can read minds (at least to some extent) and was pleasantly surprised to have an ending I hadn't expected. Although with all the twists and turns I did give up trying to guess the ending. I can see it being a good movie featuring the Bourne hero Matt Damon. I would only recommend this to die...more
This book concerns a man, Ben Ellison, who has worked in espionage and gets sucked back into it. His first wife was killed when newly pregnant, and his second wife is a pediatrician, whose father was CIA director but killed in an auto accident. A lot other people get killed, and men who seem to be friends of Ben turn out not to be. The story takes Ben and Molly to Rome, Zurich, Germany, and Paris following clues left behind by Harrison Sinclair, Molly's father. There are twists and turns in the...more
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
This is a thriller about Ben Ellison, a former CIA agent who left after his wife and a friend were shot in Paris. He always blamed himself. Now he is a lawyer in Boston, and his second wife is the daughter of the recently deceased head of the CIA. There's corruption in the Agency, and an MRI has given Ben the ability to hear the thoughts of people who are near him. It's somewhat complicated, and parts are pretty implausible, but it's quite readable anyway, for 400+ pages. I'd like to read more b...more
This book was thorougly enjoyable for me. However, it certainly was convoluted. Perhaps because of it's sheer length, toward the end it became difficult to totally remember things that happened in the beginning. One also should have a dictionary handy unless you are in possession of a large vocabulary. It seemed at times a contest to find the longest or strangest word. But it was fun overall and definitely will keep the reader sitting up and paying attention many times throughout.
Joseph Finder writes almost implausible stories about spies and the CIA. In this one Ben Ellison, a former agent, is dragged back into this world and ends up having the ability to "hear" the thoughts of other people, which was what made the story interesting. I liked his character and the back story of his life was interesting. His ability to hear results from a MRI at extremely high power. The villians of this piece are everywhere.
Dennis Osborne
Good page turning thriller
Can I give it 3.5 stars? Extraordinary Powers was not quite as good as the other two Joseph Finder books I read. Story line was just a little bit out there, though entertaining for sure. Didn't get quite as weird as i thought it might when I realized what the premise was, but it kinda worked out in the end.

I'd still recommend it.
An early Finder book that takes a little time to gain traction and isn't the bang-bang moving book he later writes. I enjoyed it in the end but it took me a little time to take interest in the characters and I didn't get as interested in these as I did in some others in his later books. Still fun reading.
Jenifer Mohammed
Not his best work. It got better as I kept reading but everything I have read of his before is more exciting and more tightly written.
It's called editing, Mr. Finder.

It could be that I listened to this book instead of reading it, but this book could have used some serious red ink. I didn't need to hear the same descriptions, of the same experiences or emotions, a thousand times!


I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to read books that use foreign landmarks, food, language, settings. Trying to figure out how to pronounce them in my head or just skipping over those words ruins the story for me.
Joe O'c
Excellent; rogue members of CIA and Germans intent on taking over Europe attempt to enlist a former CIA man who is a test subject in an experiment to allow him to hear people's thoughts. Various twists and turns.
Imaginative idea ruined by a dull and needlessly detailed exploration of everything a character might do in the circumstances. It became intolerably unexciting for a thriller and wore out its welcome.
Lawyer and ex CIA operative Ben Ellison is lured back in to ferret
out a self serving, traitorous faction within The Company. Complex
story. The author has an awkward, choppy style.
Eric Mann
I am glad I read other Finder books before going back to this early work. A book that reads long and often gets off-plot. He is a really good other this is not his best work
Another fast moving well plotted story. Heroes get slightly unbelievable at points but then they wouldn't be heroes if they didn't.
Very suspenseful and a good plot....just not my kinda book. Too much Russian espionage. If that's your thing, you'll love it.
Jay Davis
This is not up to Finder's other offerings. Some of the scenarios are difficult to see how they could be plausible!
Jay Clement
Fun read. Always good to have secret Swiss banking, assassins, spies, and plucky heroes and heroines.
As suspenseful and on the edge of your seat as a Ludlum novel. Very good.
Fast-paced espionage thriller; Bad people in the CIA.
Weak attempt at a thriller; not believable or interesting.
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Joseph Finder’s plan was to become a spy. Or maybe a professor of Russian history. Instead he became a bestselling thriller writer, and winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for BURIED SECRETS (2011), winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for KILLER INSTINCT (2006) and winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller for COMPANY MAN (2005).

Born in C...more
More about Joseph Finder...
Paranoia Vanished (Nick Heller, #1) Buried Secrets (Nick Heller, #2) Company Man Power Play

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