Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane


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 hand-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.

I probably should have written this last night right after I finished Mind Games but I thought I might stew about it for a little while and see what happens. I knew when I bought this book that Carolyn Crane would have an interesting writing style. I usually get a chuckle or two when I read her blog, The Thrillionth Page (see blog roll at sidebar). I didn't find Mind Games to be all that funny (but there is humor) and instead an absolutely fascinating and clever book. Very freaking cool.

What an interesting concept: using your own neuroses as a weapon. Everybody has them. Everybody would be vulnerable to an attack like this. I loved how Justine struggled with the ethics of what Packard's crime-fighting team. It's certainly not a black and white issue for Justine, this tactic of ruining someone emotionally and mentally and she discovers that there is a lot of gray in between what could be considered right and wrong. 

Justine's also struggling with having two lives: one with her normal boyfriend, Cubby, and the other more exciting one that keeps her sane. Hypochondriacs aren't taken seriously and Justine's tired of having people quit her because of her obsession with the blood vessels in her brain. She's in debt from all the ER visits she makes thinking that her head is about to pop. So when Packard offers something she can't get anywhere else - peace - she swallows her pride and misgivings and joins his group but the more she discovers about Packard, the less sure she is about him. Is he good or evil? Why won't he talk about his past, even to her? Is their shared attraction and early beginnings of a relationship real or is he just using her for other reasons? Hmm.

I can't wait to see what's coming in Double Cross, book two in this trilogy. There's no description out yet but its release date is September 28, 2010.

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