Mind Games (Justine Jones: Disillusionist #1) by Carolyn Crane

Released: March 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 384
Publisher: Spectra
ISBN-13: 978-0-553-59261-0

I was surfing the ‘Net trying to find some new authors and I came across Carolyn Crane on SciFiGuy.ca. The premise was different from any other urban fantasy I’ve come across, described as follows on the author’s website:

Mind Games heroine Justine Jones isn’t your typical kick-ass type – she’s a hopeless hypochondriac whose life is run by fear.

She’s lured into a restaurant, Mongolian Delites, by tortured mastermind Sterling Packard, who promises he can teach her to channel her fears. In exchange, she must join his team of disillusionists – vigilantes hired by crime victims to zing their anxieties into criminals, resulting in collapse and transformation.

Justine isn’t interested in Packard’s troupe until she gets a taste of the peace he can promise. Soon she enters the thrilling world of neurotic crime fighters who battle Midcity’s depraved and paranormal criminals.

Eventually, though, she starts wondering why Packard hasn’t set foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant for eight years. And about the true nature of the disillusionists.

Despite excellent blurbing, the book gets off to a slow start. Justine was kind of annoying but the concept was fresh enough to keep me hanging in there. As the novel progresses, it slowly becomes more engaging but it never blew my mind. The world building is really nice, though, and the idea of highcaps (I suppose she uses the term instead of “mutant”) and being able to disillusion people by transferring your negativity into them is interesting, plus a heroine who’s really not that heroic, caught my attention. I wasn’t terribly engaged by the twists and turns that the author inserted, especially in the last third of the book, but I like the basic ideas behind everything. Perhaps things will improve in the second book in the trilogy, due out next month.

This is book #4 in my Debut Urban Fantasy Authors challenge.

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