Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.
Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.
My thoughts...This first book in the Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane. The book started off by setting the stage with Justine's phobias. It kept a steady pace for about the first 75 pages, then it took off full speed and did not stop until the end. The plot is full of nail-biting, edge of your seat suspense. I did not know who to trust, who was crazy or sane, or what was going to happen next. The Disillusionist team takes criminals and transfers their weaknesses to them. For example, Justine the hypochondriac builds up all her fear of an aneurysm and transfers it to the criminal. This causes the criminal to break down mentally and reboot. This definitely leads to some moral dilemmas for the heroine. The plot of Mind Games is very original. It is sure to please fans of Urban Fantasy.
One of the best aspects of this book are the characters. Justine, despite her malady is very strong, kick-butt heroine. I found her very easy to relate to because she seemed like a normal person with extreme fears. She made me think there is a bit of hypochondriac in all of us when I considered how easy it would be to obsess over health issues. Each of the disillusionists have a different fear or compulsion that they are unable to control. We also meet several characters called Highcaps. These are people who have extra use of their brain functions. Overall, I found all the characters interesting and memorable, even the villains.
This is a wonderful start to a new series which I am going to continue to read. Crane's writing style leaves a strong impression and stays with you long after you finish the book. This is a very fresh spin on Urban Fantasy and I would definitely recommend this book to adult readers. There is adult language and situations (including some steamy ones) throughout the book. Book two, Double Cross will be out in September, 2010.
For more information about Carolyn Crane, visit her website or her blog The Thrillianth Page.
Mind Games will be available March 23, 2010. Follow this link to preorder from your favorite bookseller.