Mind Games

Mind Games

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Carolyn Crane

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 371 pages
  • Dimensions: 106mm x 176mm x 30mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 23 March 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0553592610
  • ISBN 13: 9780553592610
  • Sales rank: 50,862

Product description

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.

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Author information

CAROLYN CRANE lives in Minneapolis with her handsome husband and two daring cats. She enjoys reading and running and loves animals of all kinds. For more than a decade she’s made her living as a freelance writer. This is her first novel, and the first book in The Disillusionists Trilogy.

Customer reviews

By Reena Jacobs 01 Sep 2010 5

The entire book was one big surprise for me. It was like getting on a roller coast without the preview of the previous riders. Each turn was a thrill, and I never knew what to expect. Ms. Crane threw things at me that made me want to read more just to figure out the big picture. It was excellent! And the plot-what can I say about the plot. It was like an onion with each layer being peeled away piece by piece.

Justine was odd to say the least. :) She definitely wasn't the typical heroine with external issues ruining her life. No, Justine's biggest problem was herself. Her obsession with vein star syndrome made her dysfunctional in so many ways, it amazed me she was able to live life at all. I absolutely loved this atypical heroine. She was refreshing and even a little bit wicked. In this novel, Justine has to dig deep to answer Jordan the Therapist's question, "When is good not good?" It's certainly a thin line.

By Smash Attack 31 Jul 2010 5

The book opens with Justine at dinner with Cubby, her boyfriend. She is obsessing over a man named Ben Foley, whom she's had a dire run in with in the past and who is currently sitting with a couple across the restaurant. She wants to warn this couple how shady and disastrous this man can be to their life, and she works up the nerve to do so. But not before she has a full-blown anxiety attack. Yes, Justine has a flaw: she is a severe, anxiety-ridden hypochondriac! She's a mental mess! In fact, Crane writes her hypochondriasis so well that you start to wonder whether Crane is a hypochondriac herself. Great writing!

After Justine confronts the scumbag and warns the couple, the restaurant's owner walks up up to her and apologizes for the scumbag's retorts. He also offers Justine an odd proposition: "I want to talk about what I can do for you, and what you can do for me. I'm the one who can cure you..." Justine can't easily walk away from this one, so after an odd run in with "the couple," she ends up back at the restaurant for some serious discussion about this so-called cure with the owner, Packard.

Packard offers her a grand solution to her hypochondriasis: push that horrific, debilitating anxiety off on someone else! Yes, Packard can teach her how to invade another's energy dimension and feed her fears into their emotional space. Obviously, Packard isn't talking about dousing anybody off the streets with intense, erratic emotions that aren't theirs. No, Packard has a list of criminals who need to be disillusioned from their world of crime in order to become wholesome once more. Packard has created a gang of people, like Justine, who can make that happen.


Justine is thrown into this crazy world of evil humans and more evil highcaps, or high-capacity humans. These individual's power grow out their personality as a baby and it's a mutation that heightens brain power. Think telekinesis, telepathy, dream invader, memory revisionist, etc. Justine finds herself on a roller coaster ride of events after she agrees to join Packard's gang, and you never really can tell what's going to happen next.

Conclusion: 5/5 Stars! Woohoo! This book is one wild ride and a wildly refreshing concept for the Urban Fantasy genre! Kudos to Crane for creating a heroine who uses her mind instead of her martial arts skills (although I do love that type of heroine too!) The world that Crane has created is quite different from your typical urban fantasy novel. There are no creatures of the night, just high-capacity humans with a little extra pep in their step. And I find it difficult to read the characters in this book - you don't know who the hell to trust! It's a psychological thriller/mystery!

By Beth 30 Jul 2010 4

Mind Games was the second pick for Book Bloggers Anonymous, and I must admit it wasn't love at first sight for me, but it was BBA pick and was willing to give it a chance despite my indifferences. Though we started out on rocky grounds, by the end I was unable to put the book down and was horrified once I'd realised I'd completed the whole thing and would have to wait for the sequel!

At first, the whole idea of a main character that's a hypochondriac didn't sit comfortably with me. As the book progresses you begin to understand her neurosis and her need to be free from it. She knows on some level that there is quite possibly nothing wrong with her, she tries to quell the panic but it manages to seep out before long she's unable to control it.

It's this that attracts her to Packard. He recruits her for his merry band of vigilantes, set on righting wrongs that have gone unpunished. He teaches her how to channel her fear into others, alleviating her of her hypochondria for temporary lapses in time.

Packard is a bit of a character and I'm looking forward to learning more about him. I think our opinion of both him and Henji, has been tarnished by the other in their retelling of their history to Justine. I did feel for Packard though, being trapped inside a building and never being able to make any changes to the space, not even the menu, it would drive me crazy within the space of half an hour. How he's last so long is beyond my means to comprehend.

Silver Widow? I still get the creeps when I think of her; I start brushing off imaginary ants!

Final Thoughts...

Despite calling the â?~twist' in the begging I did enjoy seeing how Carolyn played it out and I thought it was very well done.

The delusionist angle is such a unique slant on the paranormal genre. I especially enjoyed it after reading so many books that seemed to be the same thing over and over again.

I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the series. Carolyn has created a nice little niche in her supernaturals here. I'm fascinated by them and cannot wait to learn more about their skills and further talents.

I also couldn't complete this review without mentioning Team Cucumber and Team Kebab, a far cry from Team Jacob and Edward. The former is for Otto while the latter is for Packard. Now me, I'm kinda in the middle of them both.

Review quote

"Wow! Crane's writing style brings to mind old-school noir, with the compelling attitude of superheroes from a graphic novel. A masterful blend of dark and light, good and bad and all the grays in between, it will draw readers thoroughly into her tale, as they root for the good guys--while trying to figure out just who the good guys are. The ending promises more adventures, and that is a very good thing." 4.5 stars--"Romantic Times" "With a twisty, edgy storyline, a unique premise and a fascinating heroine, "Mind Games" jumpstarts a smart and original urban fantasy series. A fabulous debut!"--Meljean Brook, The Guardians series "Carolyn Crane writes with deft and evocative flair, creating a fantasy-noir world touched with comic book cool. With a twisty plot, a unique heroine, memorable supporting characters, and an amazingly fresh premise, debut novel "Mind Games" is a delicious, unforgettable delight. I cant wait for the next book!"--Ann Aguirre, author of "Blue Diablo " "Carolyn Crane's debut novel is a brilliant original in every way. Just when I think that urban fantasy heroines are becoming too cliched and predictable, "Mind Games" blows me out of the water with its unique premise. Justine does not wield a katana, or ride a Harley, or kick like a ninja. Instead she fights with her mind, and speaking as a nerd myself, I find that concept oh so sexy."--dirtysexybooks.com ""Mind Games" is a violent U-Turn in a fresh direction, signaling the dynamic and welcome arrival of both Carolyn Crane and the most unique urban fantasy heroine I've seen on page in a long while, Justine Jones. And like Justine, Midcity is brightly imagined, beautifully dangerous, and perfectly flawed. Flashy and stylish, this is urban fantasy's new shot-in-the-arm." -- Vicki Pettersson," New York Times Bestselling" author of "Cheat the Grave" "Masterful worldbuilding, sly humor, and fantastically quirky characters. I can't say enough good things about this b