Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
(The Disillusionists, #1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Read: 7/26/2012 — 7/30/2012
In Six Words: Midcity is worth a return trip.
1. Mind Games
2. Double Cross
3. Head Rush
JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
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.
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
Tara recommended this book to me a very long time ago, and when I was searching for books to read for our Profiling Mysteries event, I figured there was no time like the present. Though a little unsure of the romance aspect of Mind Games, I thoroughly enjoyed the world and characters. I will definitely be picking up Double Cross, the next book in the series, as soon as time allows.
Oh, this book! The only reason I pulled the rating for this book from an 8 to a 7 was the romance. Not because I hated it, though. More so because I’m not really sure WHAT to think about it, since it is more on the unconventional side when it comes to romance. Each man represents something different in Justine’s life. I get that. But I don’t know what to think about it. So I’m not going to think. Instead, I want to talk about the rest of the book!
Considering this review is part of a mystery event, I do want to touch briefly on the mystery aspect here. It is far from the main focus of the book, but there is mystery here. Specifically, who is Packard’s nemesis? And, what is the cause of the Midcity crime wave? Both answers twisted and tied me up. There are no real big shockers in Mind Games, but there is a lot of deception, with lies and omissions that build up continually throughout the book, forcing Justine to pull and tug at them all until she finds the truth. And the truth is far, far more complicated than perhaps Justine bargained for.
The characters in Mind Games are simply amazing. Carolyn Crane makes a hypochondriac main character work. In many ways, Justine learns to use her fear “for the better” and so being hypochondriac doesn’t take over or overshadow Justine’s entire character. I also adored Shelby. As a language nerd, I appreciated how dropping articles (a, an, the) and occasionally sentence subjects highlighted Shelby’s accented English. Without changing the pronunciation of words, Shelby’s accent could be “heard” loud and clear. It was a very simple tactic, but it made a huge difference in Shelby’s characterization. The men in Justine’s life are an entirely different matter. We don’t actually know much about them, other than their role in Justine’s life. But in many ways, this makes them even more intriguing to us.
With just a hint of mystery, this book has psychological undertones and a large dose of suspense. Justine is both con artist and victim, allowing us to experience and perhaps even appreciate how lines are crossed and blurred on a routine basis in real life. If you like a little emotional turmoil in your urban fantasy, Mind Games is one you will want to check out.